Scuba diving offers the chance to experience a spectacular underwater world full of colour and life. It’s not the kind of experience available to people every day (unless you’re a dive instructor!), and while the ocean covers more than 70 percent of the planet – not many people really experience what it has to offer. Until recently, scuba diving didn’t even exist! However, thanks to the advances of technology and an improved knowledge about diving, scuba is safer and more accessible than ever. Keep reading to learn more about this exciting sport, and learn about why Fiji is an amazing place to give it a go.
Scuba or snorkel?
While snorkelling is a lot of fun and allows you to explore the surface of the ocean, scuba diving allows you to go deeper and stay down for longer, as you are not limited by the length of time that you can hold your breath. While there are some risks associated with both scuba and snorkelling, modern diving regulators and tanks (the equipment that supplies you with oxygen) are of a high quality, and with high quality training and safety awareness, you will be able to have underwater adventures that snorkelers can only dream of.
The beautiful experience
Scuba diving is one of the most spectacular, exciting and enjoyable experiences on planet Earth. You can float through the ocean observing amazing coral reefs, spotting unusual creatures, swimming in between rock canyons and rediscovering lost treasures or shipwrecks. Perhaps you will see tropical fish on a coral reef, or maybe an octopus, turtle, dolphin or even a whale. The sights are amazing in themselves, but the experience of swimming and breathing underwater is also surreal. It wasn’t long ago that such an experience wasn’t even possible, but with the latest gear and training, it is now! So, if you’re weighing up whether or not to try scuba diving, you can stop now. Scuba diving is a must do activity, and should be on everyone’s bucket list of experiences.
Gear and training
While experienced divers will no doubt have all of their own gear, including face masks, tanks, regulators, wetsuits, fins, dive computers and even cameras – when you’re starting out, it’s really not necessary to purchase it all. Instead, you can hire gear from a reputable training provider, where it is regularly tested and maintained to a high standard. Scuba is a sport that requires training, so using hire gear first is a necessity, especially as it will be an important way to learn the proper way to assemble, wear and utilise the equipment. Ask as many questions as you need to, but keep in mind that a highly regarded training program (such as from a certified PADI Dive Centres) will help you get in the water quickly, safely and with all the necessary training that you need to enjoy the experience.
PADI stands for the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, and is the world’s leading scuba diver training organisation. It’s a great way to feel assured of the quality of instruction, gear and training and to know that you are in safe hands. Look for a PADI certification first, as this will give you reassurance that the gear and instruction you will be given is up to a high standard. Also consider the industry reputation of the provider, as this can also be an indication of the quality and value of the experience that you are paying for.
While all of the safety aspects will be covered in detail as you undergo training for a dive, many people will want to have an understanding of what’s involved at an early stage. Some key principles are: dive with others (a qualified instructor when starting out), follow the rules, don’t hold your breath, control your breathing, and never rush to the surface.
A common problem for some people is the inability to equalise as they dive deeper. This is one of the most important requirements of diving, and if you have ever done some snorkelling, you will probably already know what this experience feels like. If you hold your nose and blow briefly, you will feel a small pop and the pressure is removed. You should only dive at a speed and rate that allows you to fully equalise your sinuses and ear canals – otherwise you can cause damage to your ears. Having a cold prior to diving can cause difficulty with this, and for a very small percentage of people, they are simply unable to equalise. If you have had a cold or have been unwell prior to diving, make sure that you are fully recovered before diving.
The ascent is also very important for divers, and the key is to do it slowly. If you ascend too quickly your body will not be able to adjust to the changing pressure at a quick enough rate, and you can cause serious injury to yourself (and possibly even death). A rough guide is to swim up slower than the bubbles issued from your exhale, but a dive instructor will be able to provide you with more information.
Scuba diving in Fiji – a tropical oasis
So you’re ready for an adventure, but where to start? There’s so many world class dive sites around, but Fiji is certainly one of the best – and even so for new divers itching for an amazing underwater adventure. Fiji is a well known tourist destination that offers a range of diving experiences from beginners to advanced and experienced divers. There are literally hundreds of dive sites on offer, with warm sea temperatures making winter diving comfortable (think 25C!) and visibility is typically regarded as ‘good to excellent’. Fiji offers world class reefs, with features such as caves, coral gardens and abundant marine life. Diving season is all year round, although April through to October is the busiest period. It’s better to dive in winter, where the reduced visibility from the run off caused by rain filled rivers is not an issue. However, in saying that, there are a lot of options for diving in nearly any part of the year.
With something for everyone, Fiji is a paradise for divers – whether brand new to the sport, or possessing years of experience. If you’re intrigued by the idea of scuba diving, a spectacular experience awaits you. Be sensible, take instruction from a certified professional and enjoy all that the ocean has to offer. Captain Cook Cruises Fiji have a number of different Cruise and Diving Packages available to suit all skill levels, group sizes and holiday lengths. Scuba diving is a great experience, and if you’re looking for a great escape – why not head to Fiji to experience it all? Explore the unknown, dive in some of the most beautiful locations on earth and have the time of your life!