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Diving and snorkelling

Diving and snorkelling travel guide

Diving and snorkelling immerses you into a floaty, contemplative world filled with mystery and colour – and often heaving with quirky marine life

As long as you can swim, snorkelling is an easy first step to take towards under-water diving. It is best enjoyed with at least one ‘buddy’, although it doesn’t have to be limited to just one other person – whole families can snorkel together.

Once confident snorkellers, many people want to learn to dive. One popular way to become proficient is on a specialised learn-to-dive holiday. Wherever land meets sea, you will find a diving school, which can train you to a high level of competency.

Organisations such as the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and The British Sub Aqua Club (BSAC) have training schools teaching diving fundamentals.

If you would like to take your diving further and become a certified diver, qualified to dive in open water with a buddy, PADI offer the Open Water Diver which is completed over four to five days.

Once you’ve passed the Open Water Diver Certification course you can continue your scuba diving education by enrolling in other speciality courses including Night Diving, Underwater Photography or even becoming an instructor. Once fully qualified, your certification or C card is your diving passport and is recognised worldwide.

They say that the most dangerous creature in the sea is man. That may be so, but there are still a few critters that you should watch out for. Like all animals, sea creatures are generally only dangerous if they are cornered, if you upset their mating behaviour or blunder into them accidentally.

The blunder types cause the most grief, as this group generally includes the jellyfish family, which have long trailing tentacles armed with stinging cells. That is why it is always advisable to wear protection underwater – a wet suit at the very least. With the correct buoyancy technique taught by a dive centre there is no need for you to touch the reef or its creatures, thereby avoiding any nasty encounters with something which may sting or bite you in defence.

Dive centres which proudly display their association with large organisations will tend to be okay. There are always a few dodgy outfits around, but this is generally due to inexperience and laziness. Come back to these same centres in a few years time and you will often discover that they’ve become quite professional!

If you have any doubts about a company before diving, ask around for any recommendations by locals or hotel staff. Always have a look at the quality of the equipment – a good dive shop will tend to replace its diving gear almost every year. That way you can be fairly certain that it will not let you down when you need it most.

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