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Start Diving

Scuba diving is one of the most exciting leisure activities that anyone can enjoy, albeit you like the water. It’s not hard and as expensive as one may think. When you start diving a new world opens up to you, and you start to realise that there is so much to see within the ocean. Most divers including myself, once they start diving, become acutely aware of the underwater environment and begin to become more aware of issues such as ocean conservation.

This website has been built to share my passion and to provide a resource that provides all the necessary information in one place to get started. It main focus will be on recreational diving and not technical diving. Many people after a few years progress to technical diving, but for me I never felt the urge to dive past 40 meters and have to deal with issues such as decompression. I much rather prefer, cruising along a beautiful tropical reef or plunging off an amazing wall system.

I hope to be able to make some decisions easier and save you some money along the way. I dive mostly in Victoria, Australia, where the waters are temperate and sometimes in ominous conditions.

Technically you do not need a scuba certification to dive in most countries, although to not get certified is ill advised. Additionally you will find it very hard to book yourself on a charter service or rent gear without the proper certification.

The most basic level of certification the various agencies offer is a variation of an Open water certification, they may differ from one another although after completion you will be able to dive to 18 meters unsupervised with a buddy.

The two largest and most popular agencies are PADI and SSI. The open water certification is a very basic course, so much as to say that I would recommend not to dive your first few dives unsupervised after completion, rather with another experienced diver or a paid dive guide.

As soon as possible I would recommend completing your advanced open water. The crux of this course is that it will certify you to 30 meters as well as give you additional time with an instructor to hone your skills. This is important for two reasons, most of the great dive sites around the world extend below 18 meters and at this stage of your diving adventure you really need some practice with professionals.

To get started you will need to invest in your own gear, although if you are on a budget scuba equipment can be readily hired from your local dive store. Additionally, you will want to start to familiarise yourself with some of the hazards of diving and how you can ensure you stay safe in the water.

About the author

It all started around 15 years ago when I was around 23 and I went on a trip to Thailand. I was looking at the maps deciding which Island I should visit next. A little Island called Koh Tao just north of Ko Pang Ngan grabbed my attention. So I set out to have a look. I was amazed, such a beautiful place, crystal waters and back then a littler quieter.

I noticed that during the day the island was quite and it didn’t take me long to figure out everyone was out diving. I didn’t make it into the water on that trip although that was when the seed was planted.

15 years on I came to a junction in my life and decided to travel back and get my open water certification with Crystal Dive Resort. I loved it so much I did my advanced back to back.

After my two week vacation I returned back home to Melbourne Australia. I had the bug and couldn’t wait to get into the water again. Like an eager beaver, I called a local LDS (Academy of scuba) and organised my first cold water dive. I was amazed that when I tried to book, they asked me if I had ever dived in Victoria before when I said no they insisted I do a cold water orientation. Good thing that they did, as it was completely different conditions compared to the clear, 30-degree water in the Gulf of Thailand.

I continued to dive regularly for the next year, and during this time diving had grown on me so much that I wanted to perfect my diving and get more out of it. So I decided I would become a dive instructor. This came at a great time as I sold my business and had some spare time up my sleeve. I wanted to make it a memorable experience so I decided to go pro back on Koh Tao where I gained my initial certifications.

The time came for my experience, and with my 30kg backpack full of diving gear I set back for Koh Tao. As I was only an Advanced open water, I was required to complete my Rescue course, followed by my Dive Master and finally the Instructor Development Course (IDC). It was everything I hoped for, made amazing friends and lived on a beautiful tropical island.

After my trip, I returned once again home, and got a regular office job, although with my new qualification I was able to work on the weekends for another LDS (Bayplay) in Portsea, whom I still teach with.

I hope that this website provides useful information that will help you along your diving journey, please realise that although I try to be objective, by offering my opinion by its very nature the information offered is subjective.

Matthew Varone

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