Give SCUBA Diving a Try

Abigail Ehrenberg, Sr. High Staff Writer

The underwater world is a fascinating expanse that is still being discovered, explored and
mapped by humans. This summer I was lucky enough to experience what being 60 feet below
the surface of the water is like.

My aunt and uncle are avid SCUBA divers and were excited to have me learn. I took a
course to become a certified open water diver. Before getting in the water I was required to take
an online course to learn how to use all of the equipment and be safe while diving. The online
work wasn’t difficult and I came to realize that a lot of safety rules in SCUBA diving involve
basic common sense.

After I completed all of the course work I had to have a session to practice using the
equipment and learning emergency safety techniques in a pool. The pool session didn’t take
more than an hour but getting used to the equipment and swimming with it was challenging. One
of the tasks that I found the most difficult was practicing removing my mask underwater and
putting it back on, which meant I was unable to see for a short period of time. I also think that
having to take the regulator, the mouthpiece that supplies one with air, out of my mouth and
grabbing my instructor’s extra regulator was onerous.

Finally, I was able to dive in the ocean. I dove off the east coast of Florida, in the Atlantic
Ocean. The first time I jumped into the ocean with all of my SCUBA gear on was terrifying. The
water was only 30 feet deep, but having to think about and remember the skills that I learned all
at once was nerve-racking. The first day out on the boat I dove twice. During my first two dives I
had to perform several skills for my instructor to be able to receive my certification. The first
dive was on a ship wreck, the SS Copenhagen. I spent 25 minutes under the water with my
instructor and my aunt. The second dive was on a reef and slightly shallower and we spent 30
minutes there. The next day I was able to just explore the underwater without performing any
skills for my instructor, and enjoy viewing the fish, shipwreck and coral. The second day I dove
down 60 feet which made looking up while at the bottom frightening. This time I dove with my
instructor, aunt, and uncle. We visited the United Caribbean, a large wreck. There I saw a Goliath
grouper, a massive fish that can become larger than a human. We came up and the boat took us to
another spot, a long reef that we swam along for 40 minutes. The reef was incredible. I saw
several lobsters attempting to hide and so many beautiful colors of fish.

SCUBA diving was such an amazing experience that I was lucky to have. Becoming a
diver is expensive, however, I highly recommend it to anyone with an affinity for nature,
adventure, and exploring new parts of the world. I am glad that I am now a certified open water
diver because I am able to dive in most places up to 130 feet down and experience the
underwater world again when I get the chance.