Im hoping to go travelling for a few months in late January, early February 2013 and I need some diving advice.
I have done a good bit of diving in Ireland under CFT/CMAS but not in about a year and I never managed to get around to doing my club diver exam.
Im hoping to see Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. I know I have a tonnes of options for diving in these places but where would be best to complete a padi open water course, ie the cheapest, good diving and somewhere with a good reputation?
Also being a CMAS diver* what sort of diving would I be able to do without doing any sort of PADI training course or would it be best to get trained up first before doing any diving?
Sorry if Im asking stupid questions but Im not really sure what diving I can and cant do at the moment with the little qualifications I have.
Thanks in advance!
Sorry I think CMAS diver * is equivalent to a PADI open water so as far as I know I can do a PADI advanced open water course but correct me if Im wrong. I would like to avoid doing all the basic training again if I could!
Yes. CMAS one star is equivalent to PADI open water. However, if you didn't complete your CMAS certification I don't know how much of your previous training will be recognized.
It's easy enough to pick up your training while your travelling. I got my PADI Open Water certification in Dahab, Egypt and my Advanced Open Water on Ko Tao in Thailand. I think it was 3-4 days for the Open Water and 2 days for the Advanced. Doing the courses on the road is a great way to get a lot of dives in while you're getting your certification.
From what I saw in my travels pretty much all of the certifications are recognized.
As to repeating the basic training, if you haven't been diving in a while, you'll have to do a refresher course even if your CMAS is recognized. Obviously not the same as repeating everything, but it's something to be aware of.
Dahab was bar none, the best diving I have ever done. The Red Sea is absolutely incredible! I'm not too sure how safe it is these days, but if the political climate is okay, I highly recommend it!
I had terrible conditions in Thailand (just after the tsunami) and Australia (got to the great barrier reef just after a cyclone ripped through). I'm sure both are fantastic under normal conditions, but they were both pretty atrocious when I went through...
[ Edit: Edited on 13-Nov-2012, at 15:38 by talesbackpack ]
I got my PADI Open water in Koh Tao, Thailand. It wasn't that great. I later did part of the advanced (underwater photography) in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand and it was amazing. I would recommended diving here although it probably depends what time of year you go (we were there in Feb)
I agree with the above, the Red Sea is stunning and can offer some amazing diving opportunities. Just make sure you research the dive centre as unfortunately there are quite a few bad ones out there that don't operate safely.
I completed my Divemaster on Koh Tao which was lots of fun. I was there for about a year and the conditions were fine during this time. There are some great sites which offer the chance to see some great sea life, and of course the chance of spotting a whale shark. Again, some schools have a better reputation than others so try and get some feedback on the web. Thailand is known as being one of the cheapest places to get certified which is of course great, but can have that 'run of the mill' reputation. If you are just looking to get the basic qualification, Open Water, and simply fun dive, then Thailand is fine for this. I completed the instructor course elsewhere and would recommend that to anyone who wanted to dive professionally.
I would do some research into possible dive schools and email them with relation to your previous experience. They will be able to advise what they can offer you in tetms of what training and cost. The above comment is correct, you will probably be asked to do a refresher course.
I hope this helps a little!
I'd recommend Bali, Indonesia to get certified. Cheap and you really shouldn't miss that place going from SE-Asia to West Australia. Lembongan or Gili Trawangan (off Lombok) are tiny islands with great dive spots to get PADI or SSI certified. For some of the world best dive spots you should visit Sulawesi - Togean Islands and of course Komodo. But that is not for beginners.
Philippines are even cheaper, but a bit out of the way. Still, if you make it to here try Coron (north of Palawan) or Cebu