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JoJaffa goes Scuba Diving

Fly underwater. No need to hold your breath.

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Why....scuba diving?
Getting started
How do I get started?
Kit and caboodle
Recommended reading
Spoil yourself
Holidays and Vacations
Getting more out of....Scuba Diving
I've got the basics, what next?

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Why....scuba diving?

There is nothing like the feeling of freedom of your first dive in warm, clear, tropical water. You swoop effortlessly through the water, not held back by the need to return to the surface. Even your scuba equipment, so heavy and cumbersome on land, loses its weight and doesn't impede your movement.

Thousands of irridescent fish fin past and as you look down to the rocks below you see a moray eel, gaping at you from its den. Clown fish nestle in their soft coral homes, parrot fish nip at the harder coral fronds. Bizarrely-shaped box fish seem to peer at you as they float by.

As you go lower the sound of the waves breaking on the reef die down and all you can hear is the rumble of air passing your ears as you exhale, otherwise nothing. With a slow barrel-roll you look up through the clear blue water to see the silvery surface far above you.

Everywhere you look there is another wonder, another beautiful thing to explore, another weird and wonderful creature to follow. Perhaps in the distance you see a turtle gliding down to the colder depths. A flash of silver bubbles stream in front of you as a bird dives into the water in search of fish. An alien in this environment it must swiftly return to the surface, while you carry on pottering, wandering through your coral garden.

Beyond the reef lies an old wrecked boat, its wooden beams sticking up from the sand, its cargo long plundered by divers not observing the unwritten rule (take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but bubbles).

You look at your pressure gauge and see it is time to return to the surface. You signal your dive buddy, pointing to your watch and motioning upwards. You both return unwillingly to the surface, a steady stream of bubbles racing up as you breathe out.

You break the surface once more and you are enveloped in sound, the gulls screeching overhead, the water slapping against the sides of the boat. The sun, blisteringly hot overhead, as you spit out your regulator and climb the side of the boat, with your heavy and ungainly equipment, like a fish out of water.

Even if this isn't always the reality of scuba diving, it's still pretty special. There are lots of great diving destinations within the reach and budget of the amateur diver. If you are based in Europe it doesn't take long to get to the Red Sea, one of the best diving locations in the world. It can get a bit crowded above and below the water, though...
The water's warm, and the fish are plentiful, but I don't have any underwater photos yet - they're still getting developed (I'll put them up here when I get a chance).
And if you are feeling lazy you can always miss the third dive of the day and lie in the sun on the boat and just look out at the scenery (including the odd wreck)...

Or perhaps you want to dive because you've been watching more of those shark documentaries.....

Tell us what got you interested in Scuba Diving.

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Getting started

If you are less able and normally use a wheel chair - you can still go Scuba Diving. The water is a great leveller and you can join innovative groups such as HSAH who run trips and assess resorts for disabled divers.

So what's the first step?

Book a course, or join a club

  1. Clubs like the BSAC (British SubAqua Club) in the UK charge a membership fee and periodically organise training for new and more experienced divers. Advantages of a club are that you can get access to shared club resources like boats and some equipment and the club will have events and dive trips throughout the year. In a club environment you can also get more ongoing support and learn to dive without having to take time off work.

    The BSAC will also let you come along and try out scuba equipment in a swimming pool near you to see if you like it, if you're not sure.

  2. Short courses are the other main option. PADI (the Professional Association of Dive Instructors), NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) and other organisations offer residential courses. You can get qualified in a week, and if you like you can roll it into a holiday somewhere sunny. Advantages of just doing a short course are that you just get it done and can justify a quick holiday while you're about it.

On a residential course you can qualify in under a week, with classes in the morning (where you learn about planning dives, safety and communication underwater), then diving in the afternoon. So it really is quick and easy to do.

PADI has a search page to help you locate the training centre nearest you. Try it now.

What do I need to buy?

There can be quite a bit of equipment needed, but to start off you can make do with a facemask, snorkel and fins. The rest of the equipment can easily be hired. You can even hire the other things, but it's worth getting your own. You can also use them for skindiving.

(Sports Disclaimer)

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Getting more out of....Scuba Diving

Once you have your basic diving qualification there are lots of different things you can do.

If you are really lucky you might find a Giant Squid, the nearest thing to Tennyson's Kraken.

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Kit and caboodle

Need a good book, video or more advice? JoJaffa has picked out the best for you. For each book/ video just click on the amazon link find out the price and get more information.

If you can suggest any good books about Scuba Diving, let us know.

Recommended Reading

Book : Diving on the Edge: a guide for new divers
by Michael Bane
The highest rated starters book in north america. Deals with minimising risk and maximising the enjoyment. Great book.

Amazon UKin association with...Amazon US

Book : Sport Diving
by British Sub-Aqua Club
The British bible of Scuba Diving and the place to start for anyone starting out. Highlights all the dangers and pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Amazon UKin association with...

There is plenty of equipment you can buy for diving, but you are best starting off with facemask and snorkel and hiring other equipment as necessary.

For starters you need a decent swim suit. For these essential basics start out at Fogdog:

Fogdog offer lots of great product with reviews, excellent prices and worldwide delivery. Do allow extra time if you are based outside the USA.
As you dive more often you will want to have your own equipment such as regulators, fins. weight belt and BC. For the full range of scuba equipment you could try:Or, if you are US-based

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Spoil yourself

There are fantastic diving holidays available. Check out some or all of the following locations:

  • The Bahamas
  • The Maldives
  • The Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  • The Red Sea
  • The Arabian Gulf

If you are in the UK, get hold of the latest Hayes and Jarvis brochure for diving holidays all over the world.

They have a good range of holidays at all sorts of prices, plus some specials, like joining researchers to follow the sardine run in South Africa......, or perhaps you want more adrenaline...

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Open Outcry

Got a question? Get an answer!

Post a message to the scuba discussion board.

You might just

  • have a general question about Scuba Diving?
  • want to make a comment
  • want to share tips and advice with fellow JoJaffa-ers?

... Then why not use our Scuba Diving chat board

Maybe someone has already asked that burning question you're longing to find the answer to ...

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