This one’s for all you “Type As” who want to know exactly what’s going to happen and when!
First off, you’ll meet your instructor at the dive shop at 7:00am and we’ll review your Discover Scuba Diving forms. Prior to your dive day, you will have had ample time to review these forms and obtain a physician’s release if needed (hey, we’re divers, not doctors!).
Next, we’ll fit you with gear, making sure you’ve got the right sizes for everything, including wetsuits and masks. If you have some of your own equipment and you know it fits you and works well, please feel free to bring it. If you’re not sure, go ahead and bring it as well; we’re happy to lend our expertise and if we have something that will work better than what you have, we’ll bring that along. All rental gear is included in the cost of this activity.
After the paperwork’s done and gear has been fitted, you’ll follow the instructor to the dive site. Typically, this is Ulua Beach, but sites can vary depending on weather conditions. This means that you will need a vehicle, and you should bring things you’d normally bring to the beach like a towel, sunscreen, and water (tip: don’t slather the sunscreen on your face as the oils in that can keep your mask from sealing). Also, we know this might seem obvious, but come wearing your bathing suit.
Once we arrive at the dive site, we’ll educate you on the physics (and finesse) of diving with a briefing on how to use the dive gear, how to control it while in the water, and how to care for the environment while you’re doing all that. We’ll also fill you in on commonly used underwater hand signals and describe some of the sea life you can expect to see. During this briefing, please feel free to ask questions at any time! We do this all the time, but realize it’s all new to you and we’ll want you to feel as comfortable and well-prepared as possible.
Your instructor will help you into your scuba gear and lead you into shallow water so that you can easily stand up if you have any questions. While you’re kneeling in the sand and breathing underwater for the first time, there are three skills that we’ll teach you: how to clear water out of a regulator, how to recover your regulator if you should happen to drop it, and how to clear water out of your mask. These skills are the first steps in making you comfortable underwater and familiar with your equipment. You’ll also practice reading your gauges and communicating with your instructor.
From there, we’ll go out for a dive! At first, we’ll cruise over sand while swimming right next to the reef. There are no sudden drop-offs at Maui dive sites, so we’ll get deeper very gradually, giving you plenty of time to get used to equalizing your ears and controlling your position underwater. Once we get to about 20 feet deep, we’ll start swimming over the corals and all the life they contain. You can expect to see turtles, eels, butterflyfish, and even our Hawaiian state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Say that one time fast!
Your instructor will be right there with you to help you learn to control your buoyancy and to point out and identify the neat critters that you’ll see underwater. Our maximum depth will be 40 feet and we may or may not get that deep; it just depends on our pace and what grabs our attention along the way. Your instructor will remind you to monitor your air and will head back towards shore with plenty of air still left in the tank. We’ll normally swim right back into shallow water and ascend right there!
We only take four divers per group, so you will not be diving with a crowd and will get plenty of attention from your instructor. Dive times vary based on lots of factors including your comfort level, lung size, and our dive depth. Most of our introductory dives from shore last anywhere from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. We do not set a time limit; we will dive as long as you are warm, comfortable, and have plenty of air.
It is common to feel nervous at first – you’ve never done this before!! Holy moly, we are going to be breathing underwater!!! Be patient with yourself and take a couple of nice deep breaths with even longer exhales when you first get down there. This will really calm you and ready you for the next steps. The bubbles may tickle your face at first or you may have a giggle at the Darth Vader type of breathing sounds your gear can make. It’s all good!
After a rest, most of our divers are ready to get back in and do it again! Getting all the kinks of learning to ‘fly underwater’ out of the way on the first dive allows you to really relax and enjoy the aquatic life on the second dive. Most people choose this option, which is just $20 more, and say they are so glad they did. On the second dive, you know what to expect and we don’t have to spend the time at the start of the dive learning any new skills, so off we go!
If you thought THAT was fun, good news! You have what it takes to enroll in our Open Water scuba class, and in fact, day one of class is very similar to what you’ve just done on your Introductory Dive. Give us a call or stop in at the shop and we can fill you in on the details of what is involved in becoming a fully certified Open Water Diver.