Went to Fort Lauderdale last weekend, 12-09-2011, and figured I could do my 2 dives to qualify for "Scuba" and then see if I wanted to go farther. Little did I know that Mother Nature was gonna take an active hand in it. It's not nice to fool with her, let me tell you. When we went out, it was raining, the wind was coming in @ 20 knots, with 8' waves. To say the least, for a first-time diver, this was not the way it was sposed to be. I got suited up, sickern' a dog, but finally made the giant stride in. It was terrible. I put my snorkle in first but the waves kept loading it up and I was starting to panic for breath. Finally got my regulator in and my DM finally said let's go under. We did 32' for about 45 minutes(I was gulping air), and on the ascent up, my equalibrium was so off, I was sick before we even broke water. To say the least, I did not do the 2nd dive. And may very well never do the 2nd dive. We're doing a cruise out of SJ in Feb and wanted to have the "Scuba" certification, so don't know what I will do now. I have never ever in my life felt so helpless and dependent upon one person as I did in that water that day. I am a very independent individual and don't like that feeling. So, guess time will tell.This brings out one of the worst aspects of the Dive Industry, the "money" comes before the comfort and well being of the student.
It has already been said by other Instructors that they would not consider taking a beginner out in those conditions.
I teach all the time in St Kitts and if conditions are bad, then we cancel the dive. The guest experience and safety is the overriding factor.
Mike, please do not be put off by this, Scuba is a wonderful sport and with the proper training you will find it the most enjoyable experience of future vacations.
On the point of being a "scuba diver", rather than an "Open Water" diver then please remember that you do have limitations to depth (40ft) and that a dive professional must be present in the water at all times.
This does not mean that you have to be specially looked after, or that the group will be small, just that the dive must be lead by an Instructor or Divemaster and the depth of 40 ft must be available for you.
In practice the way you are treated will differ depending on the individual practices of the dive shop. There will however be many dives you cannot do because the 40 ft depth is not available.
You must tell the dive shop that your qualification is "Scuba Diver" or you may be booking something that ultimately they will not allow you to do.
If you are going ahead with your plan to complete the training on a cruise then remember to take your logbook (should have the knowledge, pool work and your Dive 1 signed off). Also book ahead, either with the cruise or with a local dive shop at one of your ports of call.
One last point, you may prefer to do your dive 1 again, as the experience was so bad it was obviously not much of a training experience for you.
Don't give up, don't be put off, just find yourself an instructor who cares!
NAUI Instructor # 51968
Emergency First Response Instructor