How to prepare for your first dive

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After earning your Scuba certification, you must be feeling so excited to take your first plunge into the abyss and be surrounded by amazing ocean wildlife from schooling fishes to majestic sharks and leatherbacks. There is a smorgasbord of fascinating underwater creatures out there waiting for you to experience but first things first, prepare for your first Scuba dive.

As you itch for your very first dive, you must have a technical know how of the diver’s basic checklist. Of course, it’s understood that you already have your certification and brand new diving gear, but you must also have the instinct of a diver, which practically involves knowing many things from figuring out the characteristics of the dive and knowing what to expect underwater. You might be so confident with what you learned from your diving class, but once you’re underwater, things could pretty much go south.

Your excitement could suddenly turn to gruelling moments if you put on a wet-suit that is not suitable for a colder water temperature for instance. While this may not be much of a concern while diving around India where the underwater temperatures are comfortable throughout the year, in locations beyond tropics its a very critical factor that needs some research in advance.

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Credit: matthew lee, Flickr

Nonetheless, the precautions that divers observe are pretty much common such as wearing the right gear and determining the best possible way to maximize the diving experience. However, for your perusal, know the following checklist and utilize them to your advantage.

Think about your objectives

Just like going on a road trip, you can’t see everything all at once on a single dive. No matter how skilled you are, the vast size of the oceans requires so much time to be explored, your full tank won’t cut it. As such, determine what you like to experience beforehand such as going for dive sites that are rich in coral reefs, shipwrecks, caves or a fascinating mix of plant and animal life.

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Credit: Naeem Ebrahimjee, Flickr

Research on visibility conditions

Once you know what you want to see, try to find out the water’s visibility by correlating it to the site’s existing weather. A plankton rich waters may also look murky at certain depths but you’ll definitely love the majestic whales feasting on the nutrients rich waters. Likewise, should you opt for tropical destinations, you can pretty much see up to 100 feet underwater on your shortie wetsuit.

Ask about underwater currents

Another important element is knowing the conditions of the water on every dive. Strong currents can carry you away and swimming against them could be disastrous. However, experienced divers love strong currents since it allows them to do drift diving. There are caves and canyons that sport drift diving and don’t be surprised if divers claim of surfacing on a different island after drift diving.

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Credit: Franklin Samir Dattein, Flickr

Get background on the wildlife

Finally, learn more about the wildlife. Just like camping, knowing the most about the marine life at the destination you are diving makes the experience so much more rich and safe. Some of the sharks are harmless but there are circumstances that they become dangerous especially if you happen to be on the center of shark feeding frenzy. Nonetheless, it’s an exhilarating event to witness but for now it’s only suitable for the experienced divers. You should also respect the wildlife and try as much as possible to not step or break coral reefs.

Read-up on the Dive Centre

It’s always best to do some research beforehand on the dive centre or guide you are going to be diving with. If you haven’t decided on whom you are going to dive with, now might be a good time to read reviews, and get other diver’s experiences before you land up for your dive. A good guide can be the difference between a bad diving experience and a memorable one.

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