I’m someone that is simultaneously intimidated by the ocean, and yet fascinated with various, perhaps somewhat slightly dangerous, activities. I know that the former feeling comes from the fact that I’m from Toronto, and that, as a result I am simply unaccustomed to dealing with tides, currents and the possibility of sharks. The later feeling, though, pushes me to do things like confront the former head on. As a result, I decided to get my SCUBA certification and spend some time under the sea getting to know it more intimately.
The company I went through was Pearl Harbor Divers. The course was an intensive one-week crash thing in all the dive basics (made even more intense given that Monday was labor day, so what could usually be spread out over a week needed to be done in 6 days): We started off with the normal in-class study session, followed by two days of pool work. The pool work was long (3-4 hours a night, two nights in a row), but there was a huge emphasis on safety and skill repetition so that when we finally got out into open water this weekend, I felt reasonably comfortable with the idea of trying to fight evolution by breathing underwater. I would highly recommend this company to anyone.
The open water dives were at Kahe Point (also known as “Electric Beach”) out on the West side of Oahu. This site is apparently very popular for snorkeling tours and dive training and so there’s tons of parking and even a hot-dog stand for after you get out of the water (at which time, if you are anything like me, I guarantee you, you will be ravenous). The only downside is that there is one main water entrance and when the waves pick up, you can really get knocked around trying to get into (or out of) open water (my legs have the bruises to prove it!) It looks like this, though the picture hardly does the power of the waves justice.
The dives themselves were pretty awesome. This is the site you get just as you’re about to drop under.
Pretty, right? Under the water there is a really nice little area to explore for beginner divers – lots of reef, lots of fish and even a few sea turtles. There is also a water off-load pipe from the electric plant that gives off a ton of force (and it’s all clean, warm water). Apparently, more advanced divers (certainly not me) can jump into the force, get blown about 100 ft and end up near a wreck. Something to work up to.
At this point there are two specific things I’d like to point out: First, if you have ever wanted to fly (like Superman, not a plane), no matter how you feel about the ocean, I highly recommend giving diving a try. Under the warm waters of Hawaii, I have never felt so weightless and simultaneously in control – it was simply amazing.
Second, and on a more informational note, as you may have guessed, I have a GoPro which I strapped to myself for this litter adventure. The shots here were all taken with it, and I love the fact that I can strap it to my arm and really reduce the risk of loosing it. I found a down side to the camera though, it’s blurry underwater. This was the best shot I got out of it and I really had to work with it in Photoshop to get it this far. I do like the shot, but it would be nice if it were a little crisper around the edges.
Apparently GoPro has known about the problem for about a year, but the only way to fix it is to get a flat lens casing. These are not sold by GoPro, though they do exist, so if you decide to get a GoPro for diving, you might want to look into these. I won’t plug the name of any of the sites here since I haven’t tried the product myself, but with a few clicks through Google you should be able to find a couple.
From back on dry land,