The “giant stride” is the easiest, fastest and usually safest way to begin a scuba dive. (The other way is a “backroll entry”, which divers use when the dive boat has no platform.)
The Florida Keys are home to the United States’ only living coral barrier reef, making it a popular snorkeling and scuba diving destination. Marathon (on Vaca Key) and its neighbor Big Pine Key have easy access to these beautiful coral reefs.
While we were temporary Keys residents I decided to train and become scuba certified. So I “dove in” with Captain Hook’s Dive Center for Open Water Diver certification.
Our friend Mark got out of diving and gave me his scuba gear. I’ve already used the mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. Thanks, Mark!
In mid-February I finished the PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) online classroom training and passed the exam with a 96% score. Then, in a Marathon swimming pool, I completed five Confined Water Dives and learned required skills (like buddy breathing: “I just turned off your air supply, now grab/purge/breathe from your dive buddy’s secondary regulator.”)
Later in the month I went out on a Captain Hook’s dive boat to complete Open Water Dives 1 and 2, and the day before we left Marathon I finished PADI-required Open Water Dives 3 and 4 in the Big Pine Key Canal, including required underwater compass navigation and other skills. I learned a lot during this training and am excited to have earned my PADI certification as an Open Water Diver!
Looking forward to more opportunities to “fly” underwater!