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Too Old To Learn Scuba Diving?
We are always told that we should learn sports when we are young, when our bodies are more resistant to the bruises and bumps that can afflict us when we learn a new sport. This is true to some extent.
Take for example my experience learning to windsurf. I learned the sport when I was 26. If I were to learn this sport now at the age of 42, I probably wouldn’t go far and would probably give up after 1 or 2 tries. Learning to windsurf was like fighting with all the forces at once! We’re talking about trying to balance on choppy waves on a slippery wet board, while simultaneously maneuvering a sail that weighs more than you in the exact direction you want to go. In the process, I contributed blood and flesh from cuts. on bumps and bruises from hitting the surfboard more than once before falling into the waters.
But there is a huge difference with scuba diving. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN SCUBA DIVING. I can never say this enough. I learned diving when I was 38. Now I’m not saying 38 is a ripe old age but still, the body feels a little less strong and less robust. On top of that, as we get older, we also seem to have more fears. Maybe we feel like we have more to lose if something were to happen to us.
I say middle age and beyond should never be a factor in learning to scuba dive BUT you must have these:
1) intense love for the sea
2) willingness to learn from someone younger than you
3) relatively good health and last but very important
4) time and money
Now I assume that you are thinking of learning diving because you want to make this a sport that you can enjoy every other weekend if time and money allow and not just learn for education.
Intense Love for the Sea
To enjoy a scuba diving trip, you will have to love the sea and I mean really really love it with all its wonderful creatures big and small. You’ll know what I mean on your first scuba diving excursion after you’ve cleared your Open Water tests.
It is unlikely that your scuba diving buddies on your first dive trip will be the same classmates in your scuba diving course. Due to time and money constraints, you may find that you may be the only one eager enough to join a scuba diving trip shortly after your certification.
More often than not, your dive buddies will be a dive-crazy group that will do at least 4 dives a day plus another at night. This means that while scuba diving, most of the time you will do nothing but dive, talk about the sea creatures and encounters from each dive, before preparing for the next dive. For someone who only wants to do one dive a day and then go shopping, he/she may be disappointed as many great diving spots have few of these shopping and entertainment facilities.
If you’re already tensing up just thinking about it, don’t be. Every scuba diving novice goes through this. Just have a newbie’s attitude, be humble and you will find that the experienced divers are more than willing to share tips and can even help you prepare before diving.
Willingness to learn from someone younger than you
Your diving instructor will probably be someone much younger than you. Some dive instructors have an attitude and are cocky so you may have to live with it for at least 3 weekends before you get certified – 1st weekend for classroom and theory, 2nd weekend for pool sessions and 3rd weekend for the real open water tests. Put your ego aside and just put up with it, it will be worth it in the end.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t good and friendly scuba diving instructors around. I was lucky enough to be instructed in diving by PC, a very kind and patient man, without whom my diving learning would not have been so smooth and enjoyable.
Relatively Good Health
There is no need to be in peak fitness before you can start diving. However, you would need some strength to be able to walk with full scuba diving gear strapped to you. Once you enter the waters with all your gear, you are practically weightless. But it’s the few steps you have to take to get into the boat or cross the beach into the water that can be a challenge for a person who isn’t used to carrying heavy loads on them.
Having said that, some scuba diving resorts have fantastic dive staff who can help overcome this by carrying the tanks and gear to the boat for you to fit in the boat. And of course if you are on a live-a-board (live, eat, dive, sleep, on board during the dive trip), then this may not matter.
Time and Money
These are probably the 2 most deciding factors as to whether someone continues to enjoy diving after passing the Open Water tests. Getting certified with a scuba diving course is very quick, just 3 weekends basically. And not too expensive, probably around $300 to $400, including a foreign dive trip for the open water tests. But unless you live near a scuba diving area, you will most likely have to travel a distance or even out of the country to get a good dive.
Now just think how much each trip will cost you and multiply that by how many times you would love to go scuba diving in a year. When you do the sums, it can be amazing. So you reduce the number of dives you want to do in a year, and then count and reduce some more.
In our scuba diving class, my husband and I were the only ones who kept diving after the class ended. Even then, we didn’t manage to do the number of dives we’d really love to do in a year. This is how it ends up that we do an average of 1 dive per year. This more or less ensures that we will always dive as a “scuba diving newbie” (hence the name of the blog). A scuba diver becomes “rusty” when the interval between each dive trip is too long. Ideally, we should dive at least once every quarter.
I haven’t even gone on to count the other “investments” to customize your gear like your own BC (buoyancy control), your own octopus (breathing device) and your wetsuit.
Having said all this, I still believe that you are never too old to learn and enjoy diving. Even with our limited dives because we were certified and diving as scuba diving newbies, we enjoy each and every one of our dive trips. Find the right people to dive with, find an amazing dive site that suits your preferences (be it macro, to check out small sea creatures or see bigger fish) and nearby spas to soothe your body aches after a dive – it’s a wonderful combination. that will almost always ensure a great scuba diving experience!
A newbie to scuba diving can still enjoy happy diving!
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