Just kidding. Every person we have met in the Okinawa diving world has been so laid back and helpful and happy to share their diving knowledge with us that I can’t imagine you could have a bad experience getting your scuba certification out here… But our instructor was Kevin King, aka Elvis, and we had a blast with him.
When we moved out here we had heard that if we didn’t get scuba certified in our first couple of weeks, we would quickly find that we didn’t have time to do it at all, especially since Dane is a flier. We looked at a couple of ways to do it, and ended up signing up for a week-long open water certification course through the Kadena Marina with the King. Our dog is not sure what she thinks of him… she met him only once after he finished a Halloween dive and emerged from the water as a Storm Trooper while she was taking a walk on the sea wall. We thought it made him even cooler, she thought it made him a bit… scary. Sydney’s opinion aside, I couldn’t recommend him, or the team of guys that assisted with our class, more highly.
As I discussed in my first diving post, I’ve always had some hesitation about diving because I was afraid that breathing from a regulator would be an issue for me. However, since we will be living in Okinawa for three years, I felt like I owed it to myself to give it a try. Not only did it turn out not to be a problem, but it never really even felt like something I had to overcome. The course is paced very well to get people used to each step, and by the time you get in the open water, it all comes very naturally.
Our week-long PADI Certification Class was broken up into two classroom days, two pool days and two open water diving days. The instruction team was incredibly flexible, even offering to work with some members of the class one-on-one, outside of our class time, to accommodate their skill levels.
Our first and second open water dives were on the Kadena Steps on the south end of the Sunabe Seawall. (aka, Our front yard.) I’ve snorkeled all over Florida, Hawaii, Southeast Asia, and Australia… but I’d never seen so much beauty underwater. I couldn’t believe we had all of this just across the street. If I hadn’t already warmed up to the idea of diving, the lionfish, clownfish, and cuttlefish we saw on this dive would have changed my mind instantly.
The next two dives took us to Maeda Point. Although it requires 96 steps up and down to dive here, not to mention wrestling past the busloads of Japanese snorkelers who come out in their life jackets to take pictures of the “blue cave”, this dive site is worth every annoyance. I could have stayed underwater all day! Well, actually, I couldn’t have… (decompression limits/nitrogen/oxygen/depth levels/times–look at me showing off how much I learned in the PADI class!) So even though I wanted to explore this reef forever, I knew enough to responsibly surface with everyone else when it was time to come up, after I underwater-harassed Elvis to take a picture (on his camera) with me first. It didn’t come out (or so I’ve been told) so I will just have to convince him to dive with me again.
Here are some of the pictures he took on our last open water dive. I’m so grateful, given that we didn’t take any ourselves. Speaking of underwater pictures, in addition to being a scuba instructor, he is actually quite an amazing sea life photographer. If you want to check out some really phenomenal underwater photos (we’re talking NatGeo-worthy stuff here) check out the website I designed him: Dive the Blues Scuba. Although, now that we are all certified and such, we’re going to give him a run for his money, that’s probably your best bet for a while!
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.