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For those who came in late -- I've been thinking of taking a vacation to Florida next year, the first vacation I've ever taken in my life.  But the thought of just going to either relax (I can do that here) or just to see Disney (fuckin' everybody does that) just weren't that interesting to me.  I wasn't sure I wanted to bother.  My teacher suggested doing something I would really enjoy and could only do there.  There's a place called Jules' Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, a marine lab that's been converted into an underwater hotel.  $550 a night, but what an experience.  The only catch is, in order to get there, you have to be a certified diver -- the entrance is 21 feet below the surface of the water.

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....


Oct. 18th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
Hmm...I hadn't thought about that, but it fits. Self-contained breathing aparatus? I wonder what the differences between them are.
Oct. 19th, 2010 05:58 am (UTC)
From what little I've researched it, apparently the only major difference is that SCUBA is more waterproofed (naturally). I know of at least one case in which a firefighter survived for a few minutes by using his SCBA after he was thrown in the water at a pier fire, but he was only a few feet under.

I believe SCBA is a lot lighter ... which is relative.

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