Are you looking for someplace to get your SCUBA certification? I got certified in the Bahamas back in 1992, the week before Hurricane Andrew. The reefs are gorgeous and the conditions are excellent for learning to dive in the Bahamas. There are dive sites for every level, from beginner to advanced, the shallow reefs with little to no current and exceptional visibility make for a stress-free environment.
My daughter has been asking to get her SCUBA certification. She’s been swimming underwater with a mermaid tail since she was 4, and is a terrific snorkeler. She’s about to turn 10 which is the minimum age for getting a certification, so I’ve been looking at places to take her and I can’t stop thinking about my own experiences in the Bahamas. I did most of my open water course at a dive shop near my home and completed the open water dives in the Bahamas. I was able to do two dives a day all week long and really get comfortable with the skills. During my first week in the Bahamas, I was able to dive in a blue hole, on a wreck, participate in a shark feeding dive, and see more underwater life than I ever thought possible. When you book your trip to the Bahamas, make sure the resort offers one of the following options.
You don’t have to waste part of your vacation sitting in a classroom if you plan ahead and do all the classroom and pool sessions at home. That way, when you get to the Bahamas you can get in the water right away and get certified quickly so you can enjoy the diving. Students who learn at home over the course of a couple of weeks usually have a much better grasp of the complexities of dive theory than those who try to cram it all into a few days at a resort where they are also trying to enjoy themselves. You will still have to prove to your instructor in the Bahamas that you know the material since some people take the course at home and then wait months before they complete it. Contact your resort ahead of time or one of the island dive shops to be certain about what paperwork you need to bring.
If you’re hesitant to sign up for a course, but think you want to give it a try, there is a Discover Scuba Resort Course where you can spend time one on one with an instructor to get briefed on the basics, then try it with all the gear in a pool or shallow water you can stand up in. Once you and the instructor feel confident, you will do an open water dive. It’s the perfect way to find out if diving is for you with very little time and money commitment. Many resorts will credit this course toward the open water certification if the student decides to take the full course. Students usually need to be at least 10 years old to try it.
Most island resorts offer Snuba excursions. A mashup of snorkel and SCUBA, Snuba is an underwater breathing system developed and patented by a company in Florida. Very similar to SCUBA diving in that the swimmer uses fins, a diving mask, weights and breathes through a regulator, but instead of wearing a BCD and compressed air tank, the air is delivered by a long hose from tanks or a compressor on the surface. No SCUBA certification is required because the swimmer is always accompanied by a professional guide. There is, however, a brief lesson on using the equipment safely.
Snuba is perfect for people who don’t want to learn to SCUBA dive but still want to enjoy close-up views of the beautiful reefs.