"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever"
Jacques Yves Cousteau
Although we have a lifetime to get to know something of the 194 countries in the world, I have to remind you that 71% of planet Earth is covered in water, which means that there are many more destinations to travel than just the ones you see sea level and above.
To dive, in theory, you do not need to be on your best physical condition and it is not necessary to be an expert swimming, so if you like adventures and want to do something different on your itinerary, doing this activity should be a must. Now, in many places they allow you to do “mini-courses” of diving that last only one day, giving you a quick experience and in which you do not need to do theoretical classes or get certified to take it. However, if you consider yourself an adventurous traveler, in this post I will give you 3 reasons why you should become an "Advanced Open Water" diver for your next trip:
Why not take advantage of each destination to visit the seabed too?
Before entering the subject, it is important to talk about the types of certifications that exist and why you should do the "Advanced Open Water" certification.
There are several Diving Agencies that carry out international certifications such as PADI, one of the best known. However, there are also NAUI, ACUC, BSAC, CMAS, IDEA, etc., where certifications, besides of having slightly different names, all have almost the same levels and are accepted in every dive center around the world. In my case, I chose NAUI because is the agency that focuses the most on the preservation of the environment and marine ecosystems, but you can choose the one that you like the most, since the important thing is that you certify yourself and enjoy the dives complying with all the security conditions and respecting ecosystems.
Image from: naui.org
Just like any sport or any activity, diving has levels. The most popular courses are "Open Water" which is the first of all levels, where they teach you the basics of diving, how to operate the equipment and perform movements to compensate the pressure (unclog your ears) when diving; You also receive the basic theoretical classes on buoyancy, the effects of light in water, the effects of nitrogen on our bodies, etc.
The next course is the “Advanced Open Water”, where they teach you how to navigate with a compass, make deep dives (approximately 50 meters), night dives, dive with current and other cool things.
The following levels are for people who want to be a diving instructor or develop a professional career in this sport. From this level, the differences between each certifying agency are noticed, as some handle specialties, as shown in the following image:
Finally what you were waiting for, my Stamp Dreamer, these are the 3 reasons why you should certify yourself as “Advanced Open Water” diver if you are an adventurous traveler:
1. Best experiences
By obtaining this certification you will be able to enjoy better experiences than if you are not certified and even if you are “Open Water”, because being “Advanced” gives you the possibility of doing night dives (which although they are not my favorites because I don't like not knowing what’s around me), they are quite an experience because marine life is more active, so you will be able to see more species than in a day dive and most incredible of all, you can play with plankton (this depends on the dive site, OB-VIOUSLY) that illuminates your movements, you will feel in another universe ... I felt like in the movie "Life of Pi".
Also deep dives are a unique experience, although in most of these types of dives there is not much to see, the feeling of knowing that you are 50 meters under the sea BREATHING (OMG, I think about it and it gives me adrenaline) , it's a crazy thing. Another reason to be "Advanced Open Water" and to be able to dive at maximum "recreational" depth is to be able to visit diving destinations where you will find shipwrecks, caves, unusual animals to find at less depth, etc.
Some of the destinations that are in my diving bucket list and that show what I am talking about are:
Orkney Islands, Scotland
I already convinced you, didn’t I?
The second reason why you must be certified "Advanced Open Water" if you are an adventurous traveler, is because you will have more independence in the dives because the instructors will trust you and as a result, you will be able to dive more freely.
When you are not certified "Advanced Open Water" you can only dive in the company of an instructor, who surely must be aware not only of you, but of the other people who are doing the dive, which will not allow you to swim calmly and enjoy what surrounds you at the bottom of the sea due to the fact that you will have to be are aware of where your instructor is. On the other hand, if you are an "Advanced Open Water" diver, they may assign you a diving partner someone who does not necessarily is an instructor, but someone who will have the same or more experience as you, giving you both greater comfort and surely more time diving (normally ... there is always the black sheep who even being certified will consume more air than someone who has never dived before).
Anecdote: On one of the immersion days when I was getting my “Advanced Open Water” certification in Tayrona (Click here to know why you should add it to your bucket list) a man and his son paid to do fun dives. The man was certified "Advanced" and the son had not dived before. It is assumed that the more experience you have diving, the better you manage your breathing and will be able to do longer dives. However, this gentleman lasted half the time his son! All because he spent half of his tank inflating and deflating the vest to manage his buoyancy rather than trying to do it with his breath. This caused his dive buddy to not enjoy the experience and they had to swim to the surface long before the rest of the group.
3. Save money
Lastly, by being “Advanced Open Water” diver, you may be able to save money on fun dives you do after getting certified, making your travel budget go down or use that money for other things. Although this does not happen with every agency, the fact that you are certified as "Advanced Opened Water" and that you do not require an instructor as a partner to do your dives, may be reflected in the value you pay for the experience, since they may assign you another client as your dive buddy and they will not have to pay anyone extra to do it.
I hope I have convinced you to become certified as "Advanced Open Water" or at least to dive in your next adventure! Until next time my dear Stamp Dreamers <3