For many, scuba diving is a way of life. Memories from childhood exploring smaller inlets, rockpools, and graduating to some of our biggest oceans.
For those less practiced, scuba diving for the first time is a true bucket-list moment.
What better place than Hawaii to put a big red tick on your list.
What’s the attraction? Most will say it’s both the hopes of seeing sea life in their natural setting and enjoying the peace of an underwater wonderland largely oblivious of our land-based concerns.
If being taken away if only for a short time seems like bliss to you, maybe it’s time to join this sea-faring club.
If you are new to scuba diving in Hawaii are some tips for booking an adventure you will not soon forget.
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Choose Your Level
Know yourself and be real about it. For first-timers, this is an exciting event but you must know your own limits and skill level. It’s best to be a strong swimmer, but if you are intermediate then let people know and dive with a buddy.
The alternative? Try snorkeling. Exploring shallow reefs is a great way to learn control of breathing, and the feel of the equipment. You can then move on to bigger and better things.
Do Your Research
There are a few companies that specialize in scuba diving and snorkeling tours in all parts of the Hawaiian Islands. Before your trip, take some time to see which ones are most suitable for you. Are you traveling with others? Private group tours are sometimes available if that’s your thing, or maybe you are happiest surrounded by new people with different experiences than you.
Whether going solo or a seasoned social butterfly, it’s important to find a tour to match your style and expectations before hitting the water.
You’ll be thankful you did.
Remember some tours are for beginners only, so the anxiety of having more experienced divers talking about their Summers off the coast of Belize will be lessened. These types of tours are very used to the novice with everything included, including the smile.
Planning is like having an insurance policy against disappointment, and ensuring you’ve done your best to pick the right tour for you.
And just in case you’ve forgotten, planning your trip builds excitement.
Go with Reputable
This is probably one of the only times I’ll hear myself saying “I wonder what others think”.
Reading about other people’s experiences will give you an insight into how a tour is run, the staff behaviors and sometimes even be given a rating with the more advanced tourism advisors.
It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s opinions, of course, so there’s no need to spend half your vacation time on this kind of thing, but you’ll soon be able to separate the good, bad, and the ugly.
What to Expect
So, what can you expect from your first underwater excursion? Firstly, your chosen tour guide will introduce themselves, explain a little about who they are and their experiences. The idea is to make you feel comfortable.
Beginners’ tours are usually fully supplied with all the gear you will need. If there are any special offers like complimentary water, snacks, or even videos of the day, that will be made clear as well.
All safety equipment, inclusive of their use would likely be explained, especially for beginners. This is considered the “briefing”.
Next, your guide may take you into some shallower water to get you used to the area, your surroundings, and the equipment before setting off to the main event.
But what about the shoe on the other foot? What will your tour guide company expect from you?
Well, for certain you need to be on time. At the right place when you’re asked to be, is a courtesy you would expect to be extended to you, so the same rules apply.
Always be polite and let the guide know if you feel uncomfortable at any time. These guides are very experienced with people of all levels and will be able to see you through it.
Pardon Me, Sir
How do you find out if this scuba diving tour is right for you?
Asking questions is a great way to start no matter what your level of expertise. If you are unsure about anything, don’t be shy. The tour company may have a webpage with a list of FAQs
If they don’t answer your questions, guess what?
Being stranded in some outback town and won’t ask for directions won’t make your experience better. Are you that guy? (you can put your hands down now)
Don’t be that guy.
Other Things to Remember
There are many things to remember amidst the excitement of a first scuba diving experience. There are a few we shouldn’t forget.
These environments are the homes of living creatures all with their own importance and place in the world. We should all aim to leave it as we found it, if not better.
Your Ears are your Best Defense
Listening to the guides is important, before, during, and after having the time of your life. They know the reefs and islands better than anyone.
Yes, the old Scout saying does come in handy from time to time.
Where’s your accommodation? Being too far from where the action is can put a dampener on your day when you have spent most of it traveling.
Take appropriate clothing. Although the Hawaiian Islands are mild, wind and larger surf can be upon you when least expected.
Remember to be mindful of the days and times the tours are open Some may close on certain days or off-peak times during the year.
Exhilarating, exciting, unforgettable are some of the words thrown around by many first-time scuba divers, and with good reason.
A whole new world to explore may sound clichéd, but it’s true. We spend so much time planning and building our lives that only when the noise stops do we understand that there really are other worlds out there, just as important as ours.
We hope you’ll never forget the feeling.
Hawaii awaits those who want it all during vacation time. Come and see what these beautiful islands can do for your spirit. We look forward to seeing you.