Well, my vacation to Cozumel was a ton of fun and went better than expected. In a nutshell, it reminded me why I got PADI Open Water certified in the first place, made me a little sad that I haven’t done any diving in almost 20 years, and lit a small fire under my ass to do something about it. So while I was in Cozumel I furthered my certification thru Advanced Open Water, and I am currently finishing up my Nitrox certification via Skype. So what’s the next logical step after A.O.W.? The EFR / Rescue Diver course! This course prepares you for emergency situations you can encounter as a scuba diver. Having been a Red Cross Certified Lifeguard as well as Water Safety Instructor for many years when I was younger, this is just a natural progression for me.
So, where does one go for scuba certifications when you don’t have a lot of money to spend? Two places come to mind: Ko Tao, Thailand, and the Bay Islands of Honduras, more specifically, the Island of Utila. Which one you choose depends on where you are, and what you can afford. For me, airfare from New Jersey to Honduras is considerably cheaper than to Thailand, so that kind of makes my decision easy. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I have a friend, Henry, who spent some time on Utila, and is more than happy to give me the low-down, make some recommendations, as well as hook me up with some contacts. This is the same guy who did my refresher and A.O.W. in Cozumel and I trust his recommendations and experience, especially since he spent an extended period on the island diving and teaching.
The high season in Utila begins in January, and in September my boss told us he was considering laying everybody off for 6 weeks and closing the shop for 6 weeks, from Christmas thru the end of January. Hmm.. The gears start going, I start looking up airfares and places to stay, and decide on doing something very uncharacteristic of me, very much out of my comfort zone, I decide to spend not a week or two, but three weeks in Honduras, solo, on my own! The Rescue Diver course is only a few days, but the diving is cheap, the food is cheap, accommodations are cheap, drinking is where you spend a lot of money, but I’m not really a drinker, so that helps. I think I can deal with it for 3 weeks. The first week will actually be at the dive shop, in hostel style accommodations, and the second and third weeks I have a room at a local inn. And I’ll give a breakdown of the actual costs after I’m done, but for now, lets just say its probably the cheapest 3 week vacation I could ever plan without staying home, and I’ll get to log plenty of dives, snorkel as much as I want and just relax in the tropical sun and recharge. I just have to sell one of my toys to be able to do it, but I don’t think that will be an issue. More to come on that in another post!
Can’t wait for January now! This is going to be an adventure!