Well, it’s all wrapping up. I checked out of the hotel (which finally felt like home), drove out of the Keys, returned my tiny rental car and now I’m chilling at an airport bar because I’m really early.
On Saturday I passed my written tests, and Sunday I did my last two checkout dives so now I’m an official PADI diver. I took plenty of motion-sickness meds and the seas were much calmer, so the last dives were really a nice time.
I’m thinking ahead to the other specialties I’d eventually like to pick up: definitely Advanced, maybe cold water or rescue diver or confined space. Rebreathers sound really cool too– it would be so quiet without the bubbles. I need to do some research!
If anyone out there is interested, I’ll definitely send along the info for the dive shop I used– they were a really professional and nice group of people.
So, thoughts about diving from a fitness perspective… One thing that I thought was awesome was that PADI really focused on accessibility to diving, and all over their materials they talked about alternate methods for folks with mobility issues (like a back roll entry for folks who can’t do a giant stride, or propulsion devices for people who can’t get themselves around by fins). Part of the initial evaluation were swims, treading water, and doing a survival float. But I would bet that these are more aids to the instructor– being a strong swimmer is useful but not required. They’re not going to say “nope you can’t dive” if it takes a while to do the swim.
And the thing is, under the water you only get so much air per minute, so if you’re fighting a current and over-exerting and feeling winded, you must stop and rest. No shame in it– better to be safe! Signal your buddy and find a place to hold on and chill.
But after a few days of diving I was sore in very strange places! It’s definitely a workout. Hauling gear is probably the hardest part, that shiz is heavy.
I’m hoping that there are opportunities around home to dive while doing environmental volunteer work, whether that’s sea grass surveys in the bay or underwater cleanup. That’d be really good– log some hours and do some good. I really want to get involved!
Anyway, that’s my pile of thoughts as I’m waiting for my plane home. Soon I’ll be back to my old routine, and I’m looking forward to it.