Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

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I bounce up and down in my airline seat. I can’t wait to land on the Caribbean Island of Dominica. I am excited because while on Dominica I am going to get my PADI Open water Diver Certification. It is the first time I have been to the Caribbean since I discover SCUBA diving on our previous trip to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. I have been looking forward to this trip for months.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

Dominica is a small island near Guadeloupe and Martinique. It is a different island than the Dominican Republic.  It is called the Nature Island and is 290 sq miles.  It is a mountainous island with several peaks over 4,000 ft.  The island is 29 miles long and 18 miles wide.  The island is of volcanic origin and has sulfurous volcanic vents.  The last eruption as on 4 January 1880.  The volcanic formation can be seen in the rugged terrain and black volcanic sands.

We landed at the Douglas–Charles Airport.  It is a 15-mile straight line journey from the airport to the capital city of Roseau.  The drive took over an hour and half.  The drive was an hour and half of driving up and down winding mountain roads with no guardrails.  The locals treat the roads like a race track and speed around the corners pass at every chance.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

We arrive at our condo and set about finding dinner.  We ate at this great Chinese restaurant our condo owner recommended.  The next morning we watched the sunrise from out patio and headed off to Dive Dominica to arrange my course.  I was doing an Open water Referral Course.  The Open water diver course is a four-day program with consists of two days of classroom and pool training, one snorkel, and four open water dives. An Open water Referral Couse is where one does classrooms and pool training at home and then complete the other requirements somewhere else.

Dive Dominica couldn’t start my training until the next day, so we drove down the Dominican coast.  We made our way to the southern caldera of Scott’s Head.  Scott’s Head is one of the most popular places to snorkel and dive on the island.  We drove out ask the town of Scott’s Head to the Cachacrou Peninsula and parked our car.  Watch for chickens in the roads while driving in Dominica.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

We walked out to the Scott’s Head beach.  We put on our snorkel gear and headed out along the Peninsula.  The first part of the snorkel was just looking at rocks on the sea floor.  About 100 feet from the beach, the sea floor drops vertically into an underwater cliff that descends past the field of view. Once can watch the coral and fish swimming below along the cliff.  We had almost rounded the point when the current picked up.  We were floating at the surface deciding if we wanted to round the point or not.  We noticed a couple getting ready to snorkel.  We waved at them and headed around the point. The couple were gone by the time we returned to shore.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

The next day was my first open water dive.  Normally, I would have gone snorkeling with my instructor Paul before the first dive.  As Paul and I were preparing our dive gear, he asked about my experience.  He realized that I was part of the group he had seen snorkeling at Scott’s Head the day before.  He decided he knew I could snorkel and didn’t need to waste time on it.

We jumped off the docks into the water for my first open water dive. It’s about a 7 ft. drop off the dock into the water. Paul commented that I don’t hesitate when jumping off the dock.  I don’t hesitate because if I do, I will freak out.  I have a rule when jumping off things.  One look, then step and never think about it.  During this drive, we practiced regulator retrieval for when your regulator gets knocked out of your mouth or switching due to a malfunction.  After an hour underwater, we surfaced and had a lunch break.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

Our second dive was off the dock as well.  We did an out of air drills and practiced tried diver tows. On the surface we did regulator and snorkel switches. I found most the drill easy and loved getting to explore the underwater world.  On both dives, I had some minor issues with getting my ear pressure to equalize.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

After a two day break due to the weather, Paul and I headed out for my open water boat dive.  We headed out to a dive site called Danden’s North.  We set our gear up on the boat and got ready to giant stride into the water.  This was the training drive I was most nervous about.  For this dive, I had to remove my mask, pause for a few seconds and then put it back on.  Paul gave me the signal for the drill.  My heart rate picked up and I took a deep breath.  I pulled off my mask and did the drill.  I put my mask on and removed the water.  It was the scariest thing I had ever done underwater.  After the drill, we swam through a rock arch and saw a Green Sea Turtle.

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

Our second boat was at a site called Point Guinard.  This was a fun dive without any drill attached.  We got to explore the area for about 40 mins.  I enjoyed getting to see the little fish and look for moray eels.  Paul and I surfaced and boarded the boat.   Once we got our gear situated.  Paul shook my hand and I had completed my first diver certification.

Where did you get your Open water Diver Certification?

Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island

26 Replies to “Getting my Open water Diver Certification on the Nature Island”

  1. Pingback: Spotlight Thursday - Seeing the twin falls of Trafalgar Falls

  2. Monica @WeTravelTogether

    After a day out on Great Barrier Reef with introduction diving we decided to get our license, but we wanted to do it in Norway, and so we did a half year later. After that we’ve been diving in Mexico in both the ocean and cenotes, and it’s so much fun. We hope we can buy our own gear someday so it’s easier to just pack the car and go someplace to explore the life in the ocean here in Norway.
    Monica @WeTravelTogether’s current road . . . Ekeberg ParkMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Unless you SCUBA dive a lot, owning your own gear is more expensive then to rent. The only reason I have my own gear is that it is my fathers and older than I am. I spend 50 buck on repairs and inspection everytime I want to use the gear.

      Reply
  3. Claudia

    Thank you for this post. I have actually learned that Dominica is not the same as Dominican Republic (I know, shame on me for being so ignorant!). I did not even know that there is a difference in the various diving certification one can get. Isn’t diving in open waters or in lakes the same thing?
    Claudia’s current road . . . Awesome things to do in NicaraguaMy Profile

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  4. Carmen | Carmen's Luxury Travel

    We visited Guadeloupe and it was one of the most clearest crystal blue waters I had seen. I’m sure that Dominica’s waters were just as nice being so close. Living in South Florida, I’ve always considered learning to dive but have been a little fearful of it. We go snorkeling all the time and I see many beautiful fish in the water. I’m glad to hear that you had a wonderful experience and got to see many things underwater.
    Carmen | Carmen’s Luxury Travel’s current road . . . Federica & Co – A Secret Place in the Heart of MadridMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      The advantage with diving is it’s easier to find moray eels and lobsters. If you get certified, you should drive down to Key Largo and have Rainbow Reef do the certification.

      Reply
  5. Stacey jean Inion

    With little ones in tow, we are dedicated snorkelers–for now. Although with adventurous teens on the rise, we may be tasting this sooner than we think! Thanks for the beautiful and informative glimpse on Dominica.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Surprisingly my parents have been certified since college and still managed to dive with me. They took me to Bonaire at the age of 4 and I didn’t discover SCUBA until I was 10. They did a good job at hiding it. You should look into the SCUBA for kids classes.

      Reply
  6. Cailin

    I grew up by the ocean and have always been a great swimmer and have snorkelled all of my life however I still haven’t tried diving! The closest I’ve gotten to doing it was trying an aquafari underwater scooter thing and I freaked out and couldn’t do it lol. I would like to try scuba someday though and hopefully I can do it! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Heather Widmer

    Congrats on getting your open water certification! I just got mine last year, I’m so happy I did. I remember having to take off the mask during the instruction, that part was nerve-wracking for me too! I’m looking forward to following along and hearing about future dives!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Go get it done. You have the Great Barrier Reef to dive (I am aware of how large Australia is and that you are probably on the other side of the country).

      Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      I don’t know, does 65 plus dives one three different continents count. I think I had the addiction from the moment I learned to snorkel in the ocean at the age of 4.

      Reply
  8. Lesley

    I just returned from a trip to Dominica. It was a beautiful island, right? More travelers need to hear about it because it has so much to offer. Congrats on getting your certification. I’m still not certified but it’s on this year’s list.
    Lesley’s current road . . . Treasure Island, San Francisco BayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      I love Dominica. It is my favorite tropical island. I really want to go back. You should have gotten certified while you were there.

      Reply

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