Here, here! I’ve been a busy one lately–to the other side of the world and back, even. I’ve been toying with where to start when I begin writing again, and then finally, I decided: I’m just going to dive right in.
Yea, that was a dad joke. No shame.
When Mark and I honeymooned in the Philippines, we had our first diving experiences in Boracay and Palawan and were hooked. Though we had planned on getting our PADI certification when we returned home to Houston (there was a dive shop down the street from that house!) but we had a sell our house/move cross-country catastrophe on our hands, and little time for much else.
A bit more settled into our new lives, Mark and I headed back to the Philippines this year. This time, with our boy in tow.
Yet we still had no diving certifications!
Everyone I had met that was had done some diving had gone through the processes and classes before any trip that they were taking. When I looked into it in Houston, we had to buy all of our equipment before taking the class. It was a big financial commitment at a stressful time with no scuba trip in sight, so we put it off until another time.
By the time we were heading back to a tropical destination, we still didn’t have it. We did have Mark’s dad to watch Tobias while we went through the three day process of getting our certifications, though. The first day was fully informational: watching a lot of videos, the instructor teaching us some processes, and a pre-test. Not exactly how you want to spend a day of vacation, no doubt.
But the two following days, where we were drilled on emergency exercises, got first-hand experience with the necessary equipment, and our swimming competency was tested, we were surrounded by corals, wildlife, and the beauty that is Coron, Philippines.
Our learning dives weren’t the deepest, but we also definitely weren’t hanging out at the bottom of a swimming pool. The reefs are gorgeous and full of life: among the many creatures we saw were jellyfish, many moorish idols, Lionfish, False Clowns (aka Nemo 😉 ) and parrotfish (my favorites), a turtle, purple spotted stingray, and an electric clam (!!!).
I’m still pretty unfamiliar with technical names of fish and other undersea creatures, but thankfully, back at the dive shop, they had a full-color book of reef fish that are specific to the region. I was then able to spot some and learn their names.
Also, among our learning dives, we suited up and climbed up the stairs (with our oxygen tanks and all!) to dive Barracuda Lake.
The stairs are behind that hut you see in the distance of the photo. The climb was also higher than the hut. What’s special about Barracuda Lake is that it’s above a geothermal feature, so the water at the deepest parts of it make you feel like you’re in a hot tub. Also, the water at the bottom is salt water, while the water about 10 meters deep to the surface is all fresh and very cool.
Mark liked this dive a lot, but I found the very hot water uncomfortable and ended up using nearly half the oxygen that he and the instructor used because I kept staying as close as I could to the colder waters, hah!
After we spent finished our four dives over the second and third days of the certification, we took our tests and became official divers. If you’re worried it’s too late to get dive certified after your vacation has begun, it’s not! I’m so glad that we were able to take the course in a beautiful place at a time that was relaxed and convenient for us.
That left us one more day of diving before more family joined us in Coron. We ended up diving a few shipwrecks, and it was amazing. I’ll talk more about that on my next post, so hit subscribe on the right hand side of the screen if you’d like to follow along!