After snorkeling for years, we decided to try scuba this time. Very good introduction in the classroom focused on BASIC principles, safety, and three critical skills necessary for an introductory dive. The instructors did not try to impress us with all that they knew. Instead they focused on the basics that we needed to have a safe enjoyable first dive.
We enjoyed the very small group. Eight of us were in the classroom and dockside but only four students per instructor in the water. Our instructor, Morgan Sweeney, took extra time with my daughter (Anna T) to make sure she was comfortable with the experience in the lagoon before going out to deeper water.
Water was crystal clear and the fish around seemed fairly accustomed to divers. A few large tarpon on the periphery looked intimidating but were harmless. The reef was very beautiful, though to be honest somewhat eclipsed by the sheer wonder of diving for the first time. Our dive time was about 45 minutes. (Actual dive time is determined by the first diver to hit the halfway mark on the air tank.) I was worried about ear pain because of my experience with diving from the surface. With proper technique, this was not an issue at all.
The facility is a short shuttle hop from the cruise terminal. ( I could see the ship from the dive shop.) There are snacks and souvenirs/t-shirts in the shop. As for wheelchair/stroller access, I do not recall ramps, etc. but I was not looking for them at the time. There is a common locker for backpacks/dry clothes right behind the counter but it is not not locked. All necessary equipment is provided. We were offered wetsuits but did not need them because the water was so warm. An underwater camera is a must. I wish that I had practiced with one first because it is harder than I imagined to frame a photo through a mask while floating underwater. Bring water to drink before and after the dive because compressed air is very dry.
I highly recommend this experience and plan to seek further training so I can dive many more times.
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