Don’t know about you, but I’m dying to try scuba diving! And I’d like my ‘first time’ to happen like this: take a long vacation, head to somewhere warm and sunny like Australia, and scuba dive the hell out of my life! And MAYBE, I could even become a certified scuba diver…
But wait – my adventurous friend Robyn Clifford from The Tech Gypsy has done all of that already! Jealous? Don’t be – she’s going to share with you (and me) everything she knows about scuba diving in Australia!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a bit of a water baby. From singing along to The Little Mermaid to pursuing Marine Biology, to spending each weekend surfing the Australian waves, I’ve never been too far away from the water. But SCUBA Diving? Well, that’s a different fish entirely. How does one describe it? An incredible rush of adrenaline as you cruise alongside countless numbers of marine life, safe with the knowledge that you aren’t just a spectator – you’re breathing right next to them. You’re truly, in the words of Ariel, ‘part of their world’.
Two years ago I ventured to Exmouth in the North West Cape of Australia to gain my diving accreditation in the Ningaloo reef, one of the most stunning reefs in the world, where I well and truly caught the diving bug.
So what do you need to know before getting on board the SCUBA train? Check out these tips below!
1. What Diving Accreditations are there? What do I do? Help!
SSI and PADI are the two main accreditation courses in Aus, but with so many anagrams, things can get confusing, so let’s break it down a bit. PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors and is the most taught course for diving in the world. With most coastal capital cities having a PADI centre, where hobby divers can transition into dive professionals, it’s the one I chose and its E-Learning courses make it super comprehensive and brilliant.
SSI, on the other hand, or Scuba Schools International, is also widely used, but it’s a little harder to find SCUBA centres supporting this in Australia. However, if it’s Freediving you’re after, this is the course to use!
2. Where are the best diving spots in Australia?
The Navy Pier in Exmouth is currently #9 in the world, and is truly a haven for marine life. If you have any reservations about checking this out, ditch them immediately because this is the place to be! With Grey Nurse Sharks, Lionfish, Groupers, corals, sea snakes and much much more, it’s absolute paradise.
SS Yolanga, in Queensland, is one of the greatest shipwreck dives this country has to offer, which has the man-made-returned-to-nature vibe as the ship is now home to corals, fish and beautifully colourful organisms as far as the eye can see.
3. What do I need?
Diving is unfortunately one of those sports that requires a lot of stuff. While most dive centres let you hire equipment at a cost, it’s usually included in your courses when you’re learning to dive. If you want to get professional, however, a decent set will cost you around $1200, where you’ll need to only pay for oxygen for each dive onwards.
A good starting point is to buy your own snorkel, mask and fins and even invest in a decent wetsuit (at least 3mm thick). This way, you’ll have your sizing all sorted and know that you’ll be comfy when the big dive days come around.
4. What do I need to keep in mind?
Diving is a dangerous sport. Make sure you keep your accreditation updated and you dive at least once a year. Get regular check ups on your equipment and stay up to date with services.
Some of the bits it’s easy to forget is that diving relies on the health of an extremely fragile environment. Be careful where you place your feet when stopping and never touch anything you don’t recognise. Be respectful, be aware and you’ll be rewarded tenfold.
Have you tried scuba diving before? I’d love to know about that so tell me in the comments below!