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OT: Scuba cert near PDX?

 
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject: OT: Scuba cert near PDX? Reply with quote

Got bitten by the dive bug in Bonaire in an intro dive experience. Looking for a good open water course near'ish to Hood River. I can do book work on line. Any good experiences near Portland from NW folks?

Thanks,
Eric
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2143

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seriously.
I got my certification in the Monterey area, California.
Since you don't plan to dive around Portland, or the PacificNW, just get your cert in the tropics, the first 3 days of your vacation should get it.
Wasting time in murky waters, rough seas, cloudy cold days, and 48 degree waters doesn't lead to stoke.
Contact your vacation rep to contact their dive instructors. Explain your skills and situation. I'm sure they can certify you within a few days after arriving at your destination. Read up on scuba diving to know the theories and ideas.
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isobras



Joined: 17 Jul 2012
Posts: 439

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Z said.

I was in a local (eastern WA) dive shop weeks ago and saw a fleece fullsuit -- neck to hands to feet -- of the thickest, heaviest, stiffest, fleece-on-steroids material I've ever seen. It had to be 8 mm thick and felt more like felt than fleece. I asked if that was intended for wear under a Goretex suit in January.

"No. Puget Sound divers wear that under 6mm neoprene full-hooded/footed drysuits all year."

Go to the tropics, guys.

I left SCUBA behind when I left Florida.
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jota



Joined: 28 Feb 2001
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Eric -

You can do the basic stuff in HR by contacting a dive shop anywhere (I did it through Brad at Seattle Scuba, http://www.seattlescuba.com). They can get you a PADI DVD and booklet through which you can go through the online lesson plans and fill out the open book "tests."

Then we did a "closed water" dive in a motel swimming pool in Portland, where they run you through the basic equipment and dive skills.

Then when we showed up in Maui, all we needed was the final open water dive, which you can do on any boat outing that's running certified divers (e.g. Molikini Crater). They'll take an instructor out for you and do the final test (things like removing and replacing your mask at 60', buddy breathing, etc).

Then you are certified, and on the same boat outing, after your surface interval, you can dive your second tank with the other divers.

Last winter my girlfriend and daughter did it this way: they studied the book I already had in advance, although the dive shop didn't seem to care about that. We showed up in Maui and booked through a local dive shop, who took them to Makena landing where they spent an hour or so going through equipment and training on land, then did a shore dive, maybe even two tanks, which was sort of the equivalent of what I did in the pool. The next day we all went out on a dive boat to Molikini, with other divers, and I did my first tank with the other divers while they did the open water dive described above. Then they went back to the shop where they sat in a room and filled out the tests, open book, and freely discussing answers as they went, then the dive master went through the answers with them.

I mention this because you are interested in doing it in HR. We were able to do almost all of it here and then simply did one tank dive on vacation to complete the certification. Or you can just show up in Bonnaire and do it all, but you'll spend more time there getting it done. Either way, avoiding diving in the Pacific Northwest seems desirable, although some people swear by Hood Canal. No thanks.

I can lend you the book if you want to get started - PM me.
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TBird



Joined: 05 Jul 2001
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a great experience with Seven Seas Scuba in Vancouver. We did classroom and pool sessions once a week (at their shop and a local high school), then I did open water certification in Hood Canal. I was impressed with the instruction. While I'm sure it varies, I think a lot of the resort courses are pretty lax; they're there to sell dives and it's in their best interest to give you that PADI card asap.

I have to disagree with the other posters—I thought Hood Canal was a great experience for my open water cert. Yes, you have to wear a thick suit, gloves, booties, the whole bit. (Frankly, the most challenging part was the heavy weight belt I needed to compensate for the floatation of the suit.) Doing all the dive tests in cold water with all that gear was somewhat challenging and intimidating, which to me was the point. I had a good instructor at my side and it was a really valuable experience. When I did next dive in the Caribbean, it felt like a walk in the park. And btw, the marine life in the Hood Canal is off the hook. It's really worth seeing.
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merriam



Joined: 28 Apr 2008
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could have written almost verbatim what TBIRD just wrote, (took my cert in Tacoma during college years.) If you want to get your cert before your next trip go for it. BTW, a former student of yours got his cert in So. Cal. this spring and is totally jazzed about diving. He just retrieved a buddy's GoPro from the bottom of Punch Bowl so it came in handy!
Tom
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 226

PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tbird and Tom. I feel exactly as the two of you seem to. For me, anyway, I want the cert dive to be somewhat challenging. While in Bonaire I met an experienced older couple who said that the Hood Canal was in their top three dive spots in the World. I think Bonaire and Fiji were their top two. Makes me very curious to check it out. At this point my plan is to do the on-line book work, then the pool and perhaps open dives via Seven Seas or Thunderreef in Vancouver. I used to free dive in N California for abalone in college and the thick suit and cold water doesn't bother me. Or it didn't then, anyway. It does make the dinner and beer taste that much better afterwards...

Thanks for the tips.

Eric
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merriam



Joined: 28 Apr 2008
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get a chance, a night dive in Puget Sound is magical. The Bioluminescence is amazing beyond any movie special effect or drug you may have done!
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