Are you an aspiring SCUBA diver who’s been sitting on the fence about taking the plunge? Do you find yourself daydreaming about diving, exploring reefs, wrecks, and the world beneath the water? If so, we’ve got good news for you—you don’t have to spend months in a diving class just to see what diving is like. In fact, you can begin learning to dive in just one day thanks to one of PADI’s Discover SCUBA programs.
Discover SCUBA is like a crash course in diving. These courses are offering by dive shops, outfitters, and diving resorts around the globe. If you’re comfortable in a swimming pool, you’ve got what it takes to start learning how to dive. With a little determination, you can start exploring the ocean the very same day.
Common misconceptions about diving
I’ll never forget my first dive. It was wholly unintentional. On a couples trip to Fiji, I stumbled across an old man at a bar who told me about Discover SCUBA. When we booked the trip, I’d known that Fiji was a world-class area for diving, but I also knew friends who’d spent months earning their open water certifications in order to become divers. I had no idea that you could get an entry course into diving in under a day.
So it was that the morning after the bar, I met the old man—who happened to be a dive instructor—in a swimming pool and began the Discover SCUBA process.
Deep breathes. One. Two. Three. I was nervous.
On the surface, everything about diving felt unnatural. Wearing a weight belt, donning a tank, securing my mask to my face and slipping on a wet suit and a pair of fins felt like slipping into a new skin that I was not even close to comfortable in.
I’d seen pictures and videos of divers my entire life, but when I finally suited up, it occurred to me that I never imagined what it would be like to wear SCUBA gear.
Before I went underwater, I was terrified.
In minutes, that all changed.
In the pool, my instructor calmly walked me through the art of diving. There, in a controlled environment just a few feet underwater, I learned to slow my breathing, control my buoyancy with a BCD, clear my mask underwater, and enjoy the freedom that semi-weightlessness gives you. To me, diving felt less like swimming and more like steering yourself around a three dimensional, blue world. I was agile, I was nimble, I was quick.
Almost immediately, my eyes were open to an entirely new universe of adventure.
Your first open water dive
A few hours after the old man and I had worked through the Discover SCUBA program, I was ready for an open water dive. Some rules applied, of course. With just a few minutes of diving under my belt, I would need to be accompanied by a PADI-certified instructor. And that was fine—we were headed out to sea, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
In short order, I was in the midst of a small group of divers making our way towards a coral reef in the South Pacific. It was like every daydream I’d ever had about diving come to life.
Stunning bursts of coral reached out in purple, red, and orange shafts towards the sky’s beaming light. Boundless schools of tropical fish swirled like a tornado around my bulging eyes. Eagerly, I followed the old man from the surface down towards the bottom of a great coral column, around the reef, and back up.
By the time we surfaced, I realized that a new addiction was forming in my brain. For most of my life, I’d avoided diving. I wasn’t a strong swimmer, and I didn’t want to take time to get certified. But a single day at a Discover SCUBA program in Fiji changed my mind. Not only that, but it also changed my life