SPONSORED: Did you know that there is a brand-new world-class dive school at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town? As a certified PADI dive resort, a whole range of scuba courses and adventures are offered, from dives in the aquarium’s large exhibits for qualified divers to advanced open water courses in the ocean. Even novices that just want to try things out before they do a full certification course, are welcome to dive into the wonderful underwater world right here. Come with us as we take the plunge!
My wife and I have snorkeled in many amazing places, from the Maldives to Madagascar and Mozambique. All were wonderful experiences, but sadly we never took our love of the ocean one step further by doing a scuba course.
The mastery of seemingly complex equipment that miraculously allows you to breathe underwater and all the training and certifications needed, proved to be a barrier of fear that we never crossed.
Until the day we plopped into the massive I&J Ocean Exhibit in the Two Oceans Aquarium and descended slowly to the sandy bottom six mets below us – breathing easy through a regulator attached to an oxygen tank on our back.
A huge musselcracker with a face like a bouncer at a dodgy nightclub gave us dismissive look as it lazily swam past. Two stingrays glided by. This was amazing! I turned around 180 degrees so I could show my diving instructor Pieter van Wyk the A-okay sign – only to come face-to-face with Harry, one of the two resident green sea turtles in the exhibit.
His beak was right up against my mask, his big curious eyes glued to mine, keen to find out more about this strange visitor to his pool. On the other side of the tank, I could see my wife, accompanied by our other diving instructor Tersia Greenstone float over the 10-metre-long transparent viewing tunnel and wave at a little girl and her mom staring up at them.
Earlier that morning, we had joined Pieter and Tersia for the half-day PADI Discover Scuba Course. It is the perfect way for enthusiastic novices, from 10 years and older and in good health, to have a closely supervised experience that will give one a taste of what scuba diving is like.
You’ll start with some scuba theory, and progress to a training pool where you’ll learn things like how to breathe through a regulator, clear your mask if it fills with water, equalise pressure in your ears and communicate with your instructor underwater.
Once this is done, you get to dive in the beautiful I&J Ocean Exhibit for 30 minutes with your instructors by your side! This course can be done by three people at a time, in the morning or afternoon, and costs R1 850 per person.
If you’re an Active Aquarium Member, you get a 25% discount. The dive school provides all the equipment needed – even towels for the hot shower you can enjoy afterwards. All you need is your swimming costume and an enthusiastic attitude.
Once the scuba bug has bitten (and believe me, it will) you can enrol in the three-day PADI Open Water course at the Two Oceans Aquarium to become a certified recreational diver. Not only do qualified divers get to dive in the two other large-scale exhibits (the Kelp Forest Exhibit and the Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Exhibit) but you’ll be able to dive down to a depth of 18 metres with a buddy in the ocean, rent your own equipment and book boat dives.
Once you’re well and truly converted into a scuba diver, you can proceed to the Advanced Open Water Qualification, which you can also do at this same dive school. There’s a whole new beautiful world waiting for you underwater. What are you waiting for?
GOOD TO KNOW:
PADI is the world’s leading scuba diver training organisation and certification. As a certified PADI Dive Resort, the Two Oceans Aquarium Dive School meets all the health, safety and quality requirements as set out by PADI.
The Dive School has highly trained and skilled instructors on board who will not only facilitate the training of new divers but will also lead divers underwater in the Aquarium’s large exhibits.
For more information, prices and to book a dive at the Aquarium, please visit aquarium.co.za or give the Aquarium a call on 021 418 3823.