The lowdown on scuba diving – if you have never tried it!
‘Should I try scuba diving?’ is one of the big questions we get asked in the Maldives. Admittedly, it’s not the worst dilemma to be faced with in life – but let’s see if we can help answer this question for you!
The first obvious question is, do you like the water? If you’re terrified of being in the sea, then chances are that, sadly, no, you probably won’t enjoy scuba diving much. But if you feel comfortable in the water, then that’s a great start!
Each resort has different rules for beginners, but at Kurumba you can try scuba diving if you can swim, and if you have tried snorkelling. Both of these prerequisites are for your own safety and comfort. The swimming thing is a no-brainer – after all, why would you want to be several metres underwater if you can’t swim! Secondly, trying snorkelling first makes good sense. It’s the best way of finding out how comfortable you feel with you face submerged in the water.
The next thing to ask yourself is what do you want to achieve? If you love nature and are dying to see some fish, mantas, whale sharks and reef sharks then scuba diving will be right up your street. It also enables you to stay deeper for longer, so this means you’ll be able to see more species, and sometimes see them behaving in different ways to how they do closer to the surface. For example, you can see the reef sharks that you see cruising by when you snorkel actually hunting from about 20m deep. And shipwrecks in the Maldives often lie at 20-25m – there are plenty of good ones to explore here! You can also discover caves, overhangs, corals, seafans and nudibranchs without having to worry about running out of air! Typical dives last from about 30 minutes but this can extend to as much as an hour, providing you’re conserving your air well. There’s a one-hour limit on all dives in the Maldives.
A final factor to think about is your health. If you’re overweight and a smoker, you might be at more risk of getting adverse side-effects from scuba diving, as there could be an increased risk of decompression sickness. However, if you chat to the dive centre staff they will be able to give you a realistic assessment of whether you should try diving or not. They also require you to complete a health questionnaire and to have insurance before you dive.
Ready to go? One of the best ways of finding out if diving is for you is to do a trial session! These are usually called Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) sessions (with the PADI system) and are open to anyone over 10 (there are also special PADI Bubble Maker courses for over 8s). The dive master or dive instructor will take you into the lagoon to familiarise you with the equipment and brief you on how it all works.
You’ll try popping your head underwater with the regulator in your mouth, and a tank on your back. Then if he or she agrees that you seem comfortable, they will take you on a short dive to a maximum depth of 12 metres.