Congratulations on taking the first steps to begin exploring the underwater world! Just think, over 70% of the earth is covered with water and prior to you taking your first few breaths under water, you had been missing out! Now you are ready to get started with the next stage of your adventure and you might be wondering “where do I go from here?”
To begin with, you have joined a new family of like-minded adventurers who share the same passion for underwater adventure that you do. Members of the Eight Diving community regularly get together on weeknights and weekends to just go diving. We travel and explore new dive sites and we get together to keep our diving skills polished. Some of our members are constantly working to develop new skills and capacity for more advanced training so you are welcome to follow this group, or you may just want to go out and see if you can take a photo of a six gill shark in August.
There are group barbecues, seasonal pumpkin carving contests and many other events happening throughout the year and you’re welcome to join them all to the limit that your training allows.
You will learn a lot just by diving with your mentors and fellow divers. This will help prepare you for more advanced training if and when you feel you are ready. When you are ready, you will have several different options to consider, but that is a different article…
The best advice anyone can give a new diver is to just go diving. Seriously! Dive, dive, and then dive some more. You have new skills that you need to cement further with practice. Before someone talks to you about “more advanced training right away”, get some experience. At this point in your diving career, you don’t know what you don’t know and the only way you will gain this knowledge is by gaining experience doing actual dives in multiple different locations and environments. Dive in the ocean. Dive in the lake. Dive at night. Every one of these opportunities will help put the flesh on the bones of your original training.
Be wary of someone that tells you that you need more training right away after you just finished your open water class. With only a couple of exceptions nearly every further advanced class will be easier, and you will get more out of it, if you are comfortable in the water. Take advantage of your membership in your new diving community and get out there and DIVE!
Of course, you are excited about diving and you want to get more of this excitement so you likely are wondering what the “couple of exceptions” are that I mentioned in the previous column. If you didn’t do your training in a drysuit, then it is a good idea to take a drysuit class and start diving in a drysuit. You will stay warmer and enjoy your diving a lot more if you don’t have to worry about being cold.
If you did your open water training with Eight Diving, then you already learned how to dive a drysuit and you are good to start with experience building.
The other course that is worthwhile from the very beginning is a Nitrox diving course. This is primarily a non-diving course that gives you access to diving oxygen enriched gas which will give you longer bottom times and shorter surface intervals between dives. There are several important considerations to using oxygen enriched gases, but it is far from rocket science. It will give you more “bang for your buck” and increase your diving fun.
The other thing you may want to consider now is purchasing your own diving gear. It’s a documented fact that people who own their own gear tend to dive more often. This is a function of convenience and being more comfortable with equipment that is sized to you and ready to go every time you put it on. If you did your training at Eight, you were trained in top-notch equipment so you will likely want to look for the same thing. It is life-saving equipment after all, so how much is your life worth to you?
Your instructor will help to guide you in what to buy and when, or you can ask any Eight Diving staff member. You will have noticed right away that we are a different dive shop and high-pressure sales is not our thing. We are a community focused business that is first and foremost, a group of people who just love to dive. The store front actually came second. We will be happy to help you with your purchases of course but never feel pressured. We just want you to dive and enjoy the world underwater that the rest of us are continually amazed with.