As a diving instructor with over 10 years of experience, I can tell you that I've encountered all sorts of people during my training sessions. Some seem to be natural born divers, while others may take a while before they get accustomed to all the intricacies of the sport.
To the uninitiated, scuba diving can often appear to be a piece of cake, something that can be mastered in half an hour. But there's a reason why even the most basic PADI courses (that's Professional Association of Diving Instructors for all you newbies) can require days or even weeks to complete. But all that hard work and financial investment pays off massively because, once you're certified, you can go anywhere in the world and practice scuba diving at a level appropriate for your certification.
That being said, there are a few key pointers that all beginners should be aware of before their first diving session:
First off, and this may sound obvious, but I've seen plenty of newbies try to hold their breath underwater, probably by force of habit after being accustomed to doing so in the water while swimming. This, however, is strictly forbidden in scuba diving due to the dangers of over-pressurization, so make sure you breathe normally through your mouthpiece, just like you would on the surface.
Food, Alcohol and Tobacco
Secondly, stay away alcohol and tobacco on the day of your session, and wait for at least two hours after eating before you commence diving.
Finally, be sure that you're physically fit enough to go scuba diving, as the sport can be surprisingly demanding on your body. You don't have to be Superman to do it, but you should definitely consider taking a medical test beforehand to ensure that you're health is good enough for diving purposes.
Another thing to keep in mind is that all dive spots are not created equally. Obviously, you can't expect to find the same kind of underwater life in the Black Sea that you would in the Great Barrier Reef, but there's more to it than that. Every spot has its own particular level of visibility, and diving locations can range from easy to difficult depending on a whole host of factors. Moreover, these characteristics are all subject to change according to things like weather patterns and tidal fluctuations.
I'm currently based in Bali, so most of my knowledge is applicable to this part of the globe. Nevertheless, there are some wondrous dive spots to be found here. Not all are suitable for beginners, but if you've got a few diving hours under your belt, you can really have a blast here. My favorite diving spot is Tulamben, blessed with rich corals and a diverse aquamarine life, among other notable sites. Quite literally, you can send postcards to the folks back home while diving!
Truth be told, in a place like Bali it's almost impossible not to have the time of your life while scuba diving as long as you stay safe. Keep in mind that visibility levels can vary throughout the year, so make sure you do some research beforehand in order to pick the perfect time to start your scuba diving adventures. Chances are you'll love it so much you'll be back for more in no time.
**This is a guest post.