I'm talking with the coders and I decide to ask if anyone there knows someone who dives and can answer question. One of them did. So I started with my basic question -- just how tough is it to become a certified diver, enough to go 21 feet under the water and into a lodge?
According to him? Not that tough at all.
There are three phases to certification -- classroom, confined water, and open water. At least, here in Illinois. Different states have different requirements, but a license in one state is good in all states, and the differences are pretty minor. Classroom is to familiarize yourself with your gear and shit. This can actually be done online at your convenience. Confined water is what we science nuts would call "controlled environment". It takes place at a pool or something to make sure you know what you are doing. For example, making sure you breath through your mouth instead of your nose. You have to be able to swim a certain distance and float for 10 minutes. After that comes open water. There are lakes, quarries, and even trips to Lake Michigan. Once you complete this, you are certified and some dive schools offer an extra diving session in the form of a beach party. You are required to have your own boots and such so you buy that, ballpark figure, $50. Classes charge just south of $400, pretty darn economical. Average time assuming you do classroom in person instead of online? Two to three weeks, and you're set.
While thinking this over, a thought occurred to me. We're talking Florida. Water on three sides of you.
Maybe, for my first vacation, I should keep the theme park to only a day or two.
A diving tour or two?
Now THAT would be a great first vacation....