Diving was not something I thought I would do. Not on this trip, maybe not ever. Previously, I found the idea of going deep underwater somewhat scary, was under the impression it was an expensive hobby, and just didn’t feel the urge. Snorkeling was something I discovered a love of two years ago and I was satisfied with that being my window into the water. That is, until I saw those divers in Dos Ojos. Add in my increasing attraction to adventure and a longstanding interest in marine biology, and me diving now actually makes perfect sense.
Since Tulum, my curiosity and interest has grown steadily as I met divers and saw diving in action. Each time, I became more inspired and warmed to the idea, to the point of boiling over in fact. The mix of excitement, challenge, and tranquility are intriguing. As a traveler, I know throughout my life I will continue to find myself in places where diving provides another dimension of this planet to explore. Not to mix my Disney metaphores and go all reverse-Little Mermaid on you all but it really does seem like a whole new world. Learning to dive is also a very concrete accomplishment, a skill I would be proud to acquire on this trip especially. It feels part of taking risks to become and be the person I want to be. Symbolic of what I choose and can achieve on my own.
Two days ago I made the decision to do it. I weighed my options for when and how. The big question: to do it here in Belize or go to Utila in Honduras, a dive mecca with rock bottom prices. Nearly everyone on the backpacker beat seems to recommend Utila with an eye to its cheapness. However, when you factor in the money, time, and effort of traveling to Honduras and the fact that Honduras makes me nervous, spending $200 more to just do it here in the convenience and safety of Caye Caulker actually seemed smarter.
Yesterday morning I took the plunge and signed up for an open water course with Belize Diving Services. The price is $450USD, which is more expensive than most places but they have a great reputation and I think it will be money well-spent. I already have my workbook and instructional dvds that I will be studying over the next two days on my hostel’s beach-front porch, then I move into confined and open water training. In less than a week I will be a certified bubble maker, able to go places and do things! I am so very excited. 🙂
UPDATE: I thought Belize Diving Services did a great job. Seems like a well-run shop doing things right. I’ve heard sketchy things about some other diver’s more casual open water education; I like that mine was serious and thorough. Their boats, gear, and lunch aboard were all great. I’d recommend them to any diver headed to Caye Caulker.