On our engagement cruise to Mexico, Heather and I went SNUBA Diving, which is a combination of Snorkeling and SCUBA diving. It's actually breathing through a SCUBA regulator and a SCUBA tank, but instead of having the tank on your back, it's on a small raft that you are tethered to via the air hose. Therefore, you lack the freedom of movement and depth that you have with true SCUBA but it is still a good way to get introduced to the sport. Sufficed to say, Heather and I really enjoyed the SNUBA, so much so that we completely forgot about our sun burns for a while.

Since we liked the SNUBA so much, we decided we would both enjoy real SCUBA diving so we decided to take a SCUBA class when we got back in Evansville. The natural choice for us was Aquatech Dive Center in Evansville, owned by Larry Babcock who has been diving since the 80s. Larry is extremely knowledgeable and has a great training staff as well. Heather and I were instructed by Bob and Rena Schleter (SSI instructors), who were both great. Prior to taking the SCUBA class, I had been to Aquatech many times in the past to get my paintball air tanks filled.

There were 7 people in our SCUBA class- all great people. There was a decent amount of classroom / book work, and of course a lot of time in the pool as well, at the local YMCA. We learned all kinds of skills, from assembling the SCUBA equipment, to what to check for, to how to put it on and how to use everything, and skills such as clearing your mask underwater, sharing air, emergency ascents, etc. I was the only one in our class who got a perfect score on the written test (yay!).

We went to Vortex Springs in Florida in March and obtained our open water certications. Everyone in our class passed. We had a great time. After we all got certified, several of us went to the Panama City bay where we dove on a wrecked tar barge that sank in the 40s, and I even heard dolphins underwater and then saw them on the surface playing later.

Copyright ©2012 David Bottomley