When learning to scuba dive, one of the first lessons any instructor will tell you is that you are entering another world. Staying underwater for any length of extended time is unnatural for humans. This new reality will cause a blend of emotions which will level off into pure bliss.
For both the athletic and academic young students, diving is a buddy sport that removes the competitiveness and speed from the game, to focus your attention on going slow and relaxed. Diving blends both worlds of physical activity with mental problem solving to enhance the education of any student who enjoys teamwork, the environment and being in the water.
If you have a child or children who dreams of learning how to dive, here's nine answers to the most frequently asked questions.
I took my first dive in 2015, but my interest began 15 years prior. I was sitting in a Career Exploration class in Portage, Indiana. Like most classrooms, the space was uninspiring. Myself, along with thirty other freshman, spent our mornings learning about various career paths, and that's when I first discovered diving. The concept behind this class was to introduce to us teenage Hoosiers that there was opportunities we could consider besides the local steel mills. The syllabus mostly required us to read books about typical jobs, but every Friday our eyeballs earned a break, and we were visited by a guest speaker. Our mayor spoke, cops, fireman, nurses and other professionals came in and talked for 90 minutes, educating us on what they did, how much they earned, and what they had to accomplish to reach their current level in their profession.
During a typical day, do you ever feel mentally fried from the thousands of tiny decisions you made in the matter of a few hours? If you're planning a vacation to Maui, you're likely eager for an escape from your daily routine. When visiting the Hawaiian islands, you get to experience the relaxed pace of life, the aloha spirit, and enjoy the scenic landscape. It's highly likely you're coming to the island for R&R and hitting the pause or reset button on your brain. You might be planning on alleviating your stress with sunny days at the beach, drinks by the pool, snorkeling Molokini, or taking a day trip out to Hana.
Taking your first breaths underwater is nerve-racking.The thought of being under 30 feet of water is a concept that might make you nervous and agitated as you read this. If you're uneasy about your first time diving, no worries! 99.9% of all rookie divers feel some element of stress before their dive.
As a PADI dive instructor, it's my job to make sure every diver I work with is comfortable in the water. My teaching methods are focused around slowly introducing diving safety, practicing skills and spending ample time swimming with turtles and fish. If you have jitters or anxiety about your upcoming dive, here's 5 wisdom tidbits to help you manage your nerves and prepare yourself for your intro dive.
Maui is home to many scenic dive spots for your first time diving, or for your PADI Open Water Certification. But if you're staying in or near Wailea, there's 2 beaches you must dive.
Ulua Beach is just south of the Andaz Resort. It's a top spot to learn diving, with parking, facilities and lawn areas to practice dry-land skills before getting in the water. During your dive, you will swim over the sandy bottom, along 3 coral reefs which extend out into the ocean. The dive is slow and gradually dips down to 35' of depth, with most of the dive under 20'.
Entering and exiting the water is simple, and during you dive you will see eels, fish, turtles and hopefully a spotted eagle ray or manta ray. Below is a video of a portion of the reef, with a map below.
So, you might be thinking – why does pressure change underwater? It’s simple. The deeper you dive, the higher atmosphere you’re in. When diving into a higher atmosphere, the volume of air spaces will get smaller, and the molecules in those spaces will become more compact.
The term atmosphere is simply a unit to measure ambient pressure. Since water is denser than air, greater changes in ambient pressure occur underwater. Every 33 feet of depth adds another atmosphere to the ambient pressure.
Like anything you enjoy in life, there’s no finish line. That’s what drives you forward on spending more time doing the activities you truly enjoy and value. If ever hit a point where you can’t go further in your interest, then boredom and mental atrophy on the topic sets in. The world of scuba diving is no different. Once you start diving, it’s hard to stop – and thankfully there is no finish line. Even master instructors with thousands of logged dives and hundreds of certifications know, there’s no end to learning about scuba diving and about the environments we explore. Other than space travel, the ocean is the final frontier you can experience with the people closest to you.
Are you nervous about scuba diving? Are you worried about getting sea sick? Worried about sharks? No problem! Learning to scuba dive in Maui will eliminate your worries. Here’s why.
Being Nervous Is 100% Expected
If you’re nervous about your first time scuba diving then congratulations, you’re a human! It’s very rare to not be nervous about your first time diving, and your instructor knows this. There’s a reason why many instructors (including Chris) keep dive groups very small. Small groups allow for plenty of time to get comfortable in the water, ask questions, practice skills, swim with turtles and have the instructor's undivided attention.
I live an awesome life. I was fortunate to spend 3 weeks in Thailand in May of 2017. I spent time diving in Koh Samui where I had the experience to dive and swim with 2 whale sharks. Unfortunately that magical moment was during the 3rd dive of the day, and I was sick of hauling my GoPro around. Go figure, the one dive I leave my camera behind, I swim with 36' long whale.
Your first time scuba diving is about one thing. You becoming comfortable underwater. If you're not comfortable underwater, then you're not having fun. If you're not having fun, you probably won't fully enjoy your 35 minutes swimming around coral with sea turtles. So, since scuba diving is fun, your first dive is going to help you learn a couple basic safety fundamentals, and then spend time at the surface getting familiar with your scuba diving gear before descending below to the sandy bottom.
You’re flying a long way to come to Maui – a paradise with tropical beach conditions year round and home to phenomenal shore diving. Why not go home being a PADI certified Scuba Diver? If you have any interest in scuba diving, Maui’s calm, turquoise and 80 degree water is the place to learn and get certified!
Learning the PADI Dive Tables is fairly simple. The most important aspect of using the tables, is being able to keep track of your Residual Nitrogen when diving multiple times a day. Below is a clear and helpful YouTube video from Scuba Nashville, which explains how to use Depth + Time to find your Pressure Group and how to find what your Residual Nitrogen Time is after each dive.
A pair of turtles kissing or fighting? After a great dive today exploring the caverns and lava tubes of Makena, I was heading back to shore and stop to watch these 2 turtles. I couldn't tell if they were fighting, kissing or some other form of communication. It's always nice to wrap up a dive, and get a surprise before you head back to the surface.
Maui is home to over 30 miles of beaches. A few feet from shore, you will find reefs to dive swimming with wildlife.
Since coral thrives at shallower depths, shore diving in Maui allows for the opportunity to extend dives to 45 to 60+ minutes, diving under 33 feet / 10 meters for the majority of reef and cavern dives.
Diving from shore, allows for private groups and a serene experience to make your diving in Maui memorable. If you're looking for an exclusive diving experience and want to avoid large tour groups, book a private guide and explore the shore dives of Kaanapali, Kihei, Waliea and Makena.
It's all about the small things. When diving in Makena, we are always looking for turtles, eels and reef sharks. But there's plenty of tiny wildlife to view as well. Nudibranchs are small sea slugs with abstract color schemes, patterns and designs. Each nudibranch has its own unique artistic appearance, and they range in size from your fingernail to bigger than your thumb.
The bubble cave is the primary focal point of diving in 5 Caves / 5 Graves / Makena Landing. When diving in Makena, the first stop is the sand cavern where you will likely see a group of small reef sharks taking a rest. A few minutes past the cavern, you will find the bubble cave, which is a cool spot where you can swim in and actually surface in an air-pocket in the lava tube. If you're lucky, you'll find a monk seal hanging out and will likely find turtles lining the edges of the cavern. It's a tad dark inside the lava tube, so always bring a light, or if your diving with me I'll be sure to have one charged up for you.
South of Wailea in Makena is a shore dive site known for its reef, arches, caverns, sea turtles, white tip sharks and dozens of fish species. Called 5 Caves and Turtle Town in the dive community, on the map you will find it called Makena Landing.
A beautiful setting with a north and south entry point. The southern entry is sanding, with a nice reef dive out to the caverns. The northern requires a short walk on lava rock, and an entry where you have to watch for spiky urchins sticking in your foot.
When diving in Turtle Town, you have a pretty good idea of what you're going to see. Below is 3 videos of what to expect to see on a daily basis when diving in Maui.
When scuba diving in Maui, you have dozens and dozens of shore dive sites where all you have to do is put on your gear, walk across a sandy beach and start diving along a reef swimming with wildlife. The video above is the reef in Makena Landing, which is a relaxing dive to the caverns and arches, and becomes an entirely different landscape during a night dive.
My interest in scuba diving started in my freshman year of high school. I listened to a speech from an underwater welder and was hooked on the idea of working below sea level. Well, the underwater welder school didn't cross my path, and years later I found myself traveling through Egypt making changes to my travel plans due to a terrorist attack.