No-one ever warns you before you take your first breath underwater that diving is addictive. They don’t tell you that to become a diver is to become a member of an obsessive, exclusive club made up of people who are irresistibly drawn back again and again to the wonders beneath the waves. So here it is, a disclaimer: learning to dive is risky. These risks include spending far too much money on dive trips and equipment, having your whole perception of fun and adventure altered forever, and being unable to concentrate on anything other than your next underwater exploration.

If you are willing to accept these risks, however, learning to dive might just be the best decision you’ll ever make. Ask any certified diver- they will all be able to remember their first-time underwater, and many will tell you that it was a life changing experience. The sensation of transcending the boundaries of human limitations, of being able to breathe while submerged, is incredible. Divers have the potential to discover and explore seventy percent more of the planet than non-divers, and the underwater world is one of peace and freedom. There is something for everyone in diving- it can be relaxing, or it can produce the greatest adrenaline high possible. It is beautiful while simultaneously being challenging; the dive community boasts incredible camaraderie, but the sport itself can also be a personal escape. It is also a world full of choices and options- deep or shallow? Day or night? Freshwater or ocean? Wrecks or reefs? Sharks or nudibranchs? Of course, as a diver, you don’t have to make too many choices- you can simply have it all.

Gaining access to the thrills and excitements of the diving world is easy. The PADI Open Water course is the most widely recognized method of becoming a certified diver, and at Aliwal Shoal Scuba, you can begin anytime. The course can be completed in three to four days, although it is also possible to spread the course out over several weekends for those with work commitments during the week. There is some work involved, but the rewards of the Open Water course are immeasurable- by the time you’ve finished, you will be qualified to dive anywhere in the world. It is designed to make your entry into diving as easy and stress-free as possible, enabling you to have fun whilst learning how to be safe underwater. Safety, supervision and skill mastery are key components of this course while small student-instructor ratios at the Lodge mean that you can rely on having as much attention and guidance as you need to comfortably complete requirements.

The Open Water course is divided into practical and theoretical learning. The theory part of the course involves learning all about the mechanics of safe diving, from the effect of gases on the body at depth to emergency procedures. The course price includes all the educational materials you will need to complete five knowledge reviews as you progress- at the end of the course, your understanding of dive theory will be tested with multiple choice quizzes and an exam. The practical aspect of the course includes five confined water sessions and four open water dives. Confined water sessions take place in our purpose built dive tank, and consist of learning and mastering the dive skills that you need to become a competent and safe diver. These skills are the key to having fun underwater, as they teach you how to move efficiently and effectively, and how to deal with any problems that can arise during a dive. Mastery of these skills is an essential part of the Open Water course, and the four sea dives provide an opportunity to demonstrate them in a real-life situation.

At Aliwal Shoal Scuba, the dual focuses of our Open Water course are safety and fun. Our PADI qualified instructors are experienced, and passionate about what they do. For us, introducing people to the wonders of the underwater world is the definition of job satisfaction. The course is not all about learning- all four of the open water dives have time allocated for exploration after skills have been completed. You will have plenty of time to soak in the sights of the spectacular Aliwal Shoal- and where better to learn to dive than in one of the best dive sites in the world? Our reefs are home to a myriad of fascinating creatures, including turtles, dolphins, sharks, whales and rays: the only thing missing is you!

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