scuba diving inspiration

Inspiration Between Scuba Diving Trips

 

Since this¬†video was posted 6 months ago, I have loaded it up every few days to receive a constant stream of motivation to further my scuba skill set into a full time passion. PADI is always putting out great content and this particular clip really speaks to me on a personal level. Leaving daily life behind to slip into another world beneath the waves gets my heart pounding. Not to mention the local beer ūüėČ It’s stuff like this I send to my friends to motivate¬†them to get their PADI certification.¬†Check’er out:

I love the idea of travelling¬†around the globe exploring anywhere and everywhere with great scuba diving. The current goal is to head to Cozumel, Mexico in August 2015 to go scuba diving¬†with whale sharks. My dive buddy and I have been chasing them around central america with no luck on our last 2 trips and I’m eager to be dwarfed by the biggest fish in the sea. That’s an experience that should leave the ol’¬†jaw hanging no doubt. When it comes to travelling, it’s important to remind myself that the benefits far outweigh the ¬†financial costs if you do it smartly. For example, staying in hostels while backpacking ¬†around¬†Costa Rica to get¬†my PADI open water certification saved me a boatload of cash and also helped me meet some amazing people. A far richer experience than being locked in an all inclusive resort compound.

Surrounding yourself with inspiration¬†to travel is a great way to avoid getting caught up in the daily grind if you work any type of office job, and with so much great media out there it’s really not hard to do. Speaking of which, above¬†is another fantastic video I load up whenever I am in the mood to go travelling. So pretty much at least once a week ūüôā Probably the most effective advertisement for a travel company ever, and I stumbled across it completely by accident. Great words to take to heart from Alan Watts.

Scuba diving is a passion of mine and I am glad to share my sources of inspiration with all of you ūüôā

 

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scuba diving in costa rica beach

Costa Rica: Open Water Diver Certification Part I

The plane’s wheels bounced off the cracked tarmac of the runway as we touched down with a jolt on the¬†San Jose landing strip. I looked out the window and off into the thick jungle surrounding the airport. Everywhere you looked it was green and lush. “Welcome to Jurassic Park…” I thought to myself as I soaked in my surroundings. Costa Rica would be my home for the next 2 weeks as me and my best friend Lincoln backpacked around the country. We had a rough outline in place of where we wanted to stay, with the last half of the trip scheduled to do our open water PADI certification. Finally I was going to get the chance to go scuba diving! After years of dreaming about it, it was time to actually explore under the waves.

We bounced out of San Jose almost immediately, everyone we met warned us it was pretty sketchy and I was eager to get out of the big cities and on the road. We spent a few nights in Jaco, a smaller, albeit extremely touristy  surfer town and I immediately fell in love with the local food, pretty cheap and the fish tacos were amazing. Given the spirit of the town, I decided to give surfing a try having never done it, and spent an evening falling off my board and splashing about under one of the most gorgeous sunsets I have ever seen. The sun was back lighting the water as the waves crashed around me, pummelling me into the shallows. An cool place but it was time to move on.

 

Our Hostel in Jaco Beach

Next up was Montezuma, a sleepy little town with dirt roads full of potholes and on the verge of being engulfed by the dense jungle surrounding it on all sides. We met some awesome fellow travellers from the US, and a couple Brits who were making their way across Central and South America over 6 months. It was in this place, a musty old $10 a night hostel I was overcome with a sense of wanderlust that sticks with me to this day. The feeling of being on the road with your backpack, meeting like minded people and experiencing sights you have never seen before was wonderful. I vowed to never again go to a all inclusive resort, this experience was so much richer.

The whole trip diving was still in the back of my mind and as we made our way towards Playa Del Coco the excitement was steadily mounting. After a few hours on an extremely rickety old schoolbus that was used as local transit, we arrived at our destination. I could almost feel my fillings still rattling about in my teeth for the next hour or so but quickly surmised that for about $6 to travel halfway across the country it was well worth it. We made our way down the long main street and stopped by the dive shop to confirm for the next day. After searching around on Trip Advisor for a while, we had settled on Rich Coast Diving. Everything was set and after bite to eat at one of the local bars, I headed to bed imagining what the lessons would have in store for me.

The blinding sun came streaming through the windows, covered only by a few wooden slats. It was 7AM and already sweltering hot. Since about 5 in the morning a rooster had been shrieking at the top of its lungs and I was ready to get out of there and into the water.

Upon arriving at the dive shop the  we were informed we would be being trained by a PADI course director, which was a pretty cool opportunity. Everyone was super friendly and the only students that day were Lincoln and myself. After filling out the required forms and a little basic review, we grabbed our gear and loaded it into the back of pickup and set off to the local pool to learn some skills. Sitting on the side of the trucks bed while it bounced over the shattered asphalt and not being thrown overboard or taking a low hanging branch to the face was a skill on its own. Ahhh adventure!

Heading out to the pool for our first lesson

A quick rundown on the gear and how to properly set up our kit followed and after squeezing into a wetsuit for the first time in my life (Protip: get into your wetsuit in the water, it’s 10x easier) and strapping on my BCD it was time to get wet. I plunged into the water via giant stride entry and watched the bubbles explode around me as I took my first breaths underwater. Even in a pool this was a cool experience. After learning some basic skills such as mask clearing, regulator recovery and buoyancy control we had time to practice what we learned and become more comfortable in the gear. Martin (our instructor) was extremely patient with us and answered every little question and expanded on the answer. By the time we left the pool for the day I was already¬†hungry to get in the ocean, but we had another pool day ahead of us. As the sun went down and I sat munching away on a delicious plate of diced chicken and rice I knew I had made the right choice in learning how to scuba dive. This would be something that would stick with my for the rest of my life.

Confined water lessons make learning easy

Day 2 involved more pool training and the last little bit of theory. Having done our e-learning online was great for saving a ton of classroom time. The 400m surface swim was a little taxing at first and I began to worry as my muscles started to feel starved of oxygen, that is until I saw Lincoln breeze past me in a lazy back crawl, flipping onto my back made it much easier. After some safety training and practising the CESA we were wrapped in the pool. The next time I descended it would be in the open ocean.

Part II 

 

 

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padi certified scuba divers

Why I Became a PADI Certified Scuba Diver

Ever since I was young I have always been fascinated by anything to do with exploring the ocean. Most of my Lego sets were some form of underwater base, I was in love with the Lotus that transformed into a sub from the old Bond films, and most of all I was in love with sharks. For years I firmly believed I was destined to become a marine biologist and spend my days adventuring under the waves.

My favourite Lego set ever…

Reality turned out to be quite the opposite and I ended up fulfilling my other dream job of become a 3D artist in the video game industry. A far cry from being out on the open seas on ¬†a daily basis, but pretty cool none the less. My interest in anything to do with sharks and underwater documentaries remained strong however, and learning to scuba dive was constantly at the top of my to do list. The unfortunate thing about to do lists is….90% of the time, they never get done. Those dreams often slip into the realms of “Oh, I’ll do it next year.” or “That’s going to be so cool someday!”

Cut to 2014 and I was growing restless with my sedentary lifestyle, spending 8+ hours a day staring at a screen. Around the start of the new year I began playing with an idea in my mind I coined “Project Lifestyle”. Basically, any opportunity that arose to do something amazing, exhilarating, out of the ordinary or¬†interesting, I would force myself to do it.¬†I felt the need to flesh myself out as a human being and make the most of my late 20’s. I was lacking life experiences and needed to break out of my shell. I learned to snowboard and pushed myself to go every weekend, quickly falling in love with it and using it as a way to get through the seemingly never ending Montreal winters. I taught myself how¬†to DJ and spent the summer cranking out tunes on one of the best terraces in Montreal as the sun went down, another cool experience I only dreamed about before. I was becoming more outgoing.

But still in the back of my mind was scuba diving. My curiosity about what lay in the deep waiting for me was fired up every time I would see an episode of Planet Earth or chat with my friends about their experiences travelling about the globe, something else I had not done much of. Their stories of diving on a reef in Thailand or off the coast of BC always captured my attention. I had a severe case of wanderlust brewing within me and felt the need to get out there and explore for myself. I had done the typical all-inclusive experience in Cuba and the Dominican Republic, but that was it. I was hungry to get into the backpacker experience and travelling around diving in various parts of the globe seemed to fit the bill. I viewed it as an opportunity to join a cool community of like minded travelers and a fun way to quickly make some friends wherever I went.  And most of all, I wanted to feel that rush of being a kid dreaming of underwater bases and deep sea expeditions to find whatever beasts were lurking down below.

Sharks were at the top my list to encounter…

About halfway through the year I was determined to get out into the world and managed to rope my best friend into the plans. He had gotten certified 10 years back but wanted to re-do it and when I brought up the idea of going to an exotic locale to do some diving he was in as soon as the words left my lips. After a bit of deliberation, we settled on Costa Rica. It seemed like a cool place, not too common of a travel destination, and somewhere that could offer adventure on land and sea. I was eager to avoid another tourist resort. We powered through the e-learning part of the course in a couple evenings before we left, looking to save time and not be stuck in a muggy classroom for an extra day.

A week later we were touching down in Costa Rica and¬†I was stoked to get in the water and start diving to say the least. I didn’t know it at the time, but that trip would be the catalyst for a new major component of my life and end up leaving me to re-evaluate my current lifestyle. I was about to become a scuba diver after 27 years of dreaming about it.

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