Become an Advanced Diver on Roatan
You’ve been in West End on the island of Roatan for five days now, becoming a PADI certified Open Water Diver the first few days, and getting in some dives in just for fun on the coral reef. This being the quintessential small town, over the course of the last half of a week you have met enough people (they come in a wide variety here) that walking down the street you are recognized and greeted with “Good Morning!” and “Whassup Braw?” The little place where you stop for coffee knows your name, where you are from, and more importantly how you like your coffee. You have a favorite way your baleada is prepared, when a week ago you didn't know what one was. You probably have a favorite restaurant, but there are many more to try. Likewise you may even have a favorite dive site, but there are so many more, totaling nearly 50 just 10 minutes from the dock.
As an Open Water diver you are certified to dive to a depth of 60 feet, but the ocean is much deeper. In fact the country’s name, “Honduras”, purportedly bequeathed by Christopher Columbus, supposedly translates into “Depths”, but I am no linguist. On some of your dives you have noticed divers much deeper than the depth you are certified to dive, and it is rare that the fascination of the deeper water does not form some enticement.
The training to go deeper is available here as the Padi Advanced Open Water Course. This course takes two days, and involves 5 dives, with each specializing in a different advanced aspect of scuba diving. There are two required dives or specialties which are Deep Diving, and Navigation. The deep diving portion gives you the knowledge and skills to dive to a depth of 130 feet safely, while explaining odd effects of pressure on your perception, psychology, and a freshly cracked chicken egg. Navigation trains you in the use of a compass underwater which is not much of an issue here in the clear (warm) water and sunshine, but it can be essential is areas where the visibility is less, or during a night dive. For the last three dives you get to pick the specialties you wish to learn. We offer most of the specialties available through Padi, with the exception of Ice Diving, and Low Visibility Diving which just don’t apply here.
Perhaps your one week holiday is drawing to a close here on Roatan, and it looks like there may not be time to carry on your training. Do not despair; the solution was worked out long ago by previous divers finding themselves in the same predicament. All you need to do is reschedule your return ticket! Why put out the full price for a round trip ticket to return at some unknown date in the future, when for a nominal fee you can extend your stay! You don’t have to pack your bags, deal with airlines and jet lag, and return to the frozen north right now. Leave your bags unpacked, notify your hotel manager, and carry on with life as it should be lived! This is hardly a new concept; some people have been leaving for years! One of our first managers rocked up on the island for a two week visit, and left just seven years later. And she still comes back to visit.
In just two days, on one of which you should have been flying north (congratulations!), you are a Padi Advanced Open Water Diver! You are now qualified to dive to a depth of 130 feet, and you are trained find the shore underwater in the most adverse of visibility conditions. Along with other skills you may have chosen like night diving, drift diving, fish identification, and wreck diving, you can now join us on some of our signature dives like “Hole in the Wall”, and “Texas”, and the “El Aguila”.
Just an added bit of advice; don’t be too hasty about confirming your return date just yet. Next we will cover the Padi Rescue Diver certification. If ever there should be a goal in Scuba training, Rescue Diver would be it.