11 myths about diving - and what the reality is.
There are so many people walking in to our shop with a pre-conceived idea about what diving is, and "facts" that they heard from other people. So lets look at these myths and reveal if they actually true.
Myth #1 Getting certified is too expensive!
Truth: Sure it might feel like a lot of money to pay for "just being under the water", but if you compare it to let's say a fancy dinner for two followed by a movie at the cinema (where you'll easily drop $100USD - if not more) it soon becomes clear that paying for a SCUBA certification is a lot more value for your money. Usually an Open Water course costs between $300 - $500 which, in a paradise like Gili Trawangan, takes 3-4 days of diving and learning.
Also, comparing diving to ski passes, golfing or even owning your own car, for example, SCUBA is one of the cheaper sports. On Gili Trawangan we charge $30 for a fun dive - and that includes all the gear that you will need, an experienced dive guide as well as the boat ride. Also, you have the chance to see some amazing creatures and be underwater for anywhere up to one hour! Sounds like a bargain to me!
Myth #2 I need to buy my own gear
Truth: Nope! Obviously, it helps to have all your own stuff, but short of winning the lottery, it is most likely that the average Joe can't afford to fork out on a complete set of diving equipment. The good news is that on the Gilis, on any course or fun dive your equipment is included. This might vary a bit depending on which dive center you go with (around the world) but usually it's incorporated in the price - or you can rent in for a few bucks extra.
Together with your natural underwater progression - the desire to at least have your own mask and dive computer usually gets greater - but simply buying one piece of equipment is good enough. Unless you are planning to dive very actively (every week or more) rental gear is perfectly okay.
Myth #3 I have to go really deep in order to see anything cool
Truth: The oceans are deep and vast, with unknown creatures living in the darkness, creatures no man has ever seen... BUT most marine creatures actually like to live close to the surface, where there is light, corals and food, and most importantly, where it is easily accessible to divers. Great! The majority of coral reefs in the world lie in 30m or shallower (because they need sunlight to grow), and most marine animals like to live, feed and nest among the beautiful coral. The idea of us having to go really deep to see turtles, fish and coral is a myth! Loads of our dive sites are the best at 5-10 meters, perfect for even uncertified divers taking their very first dunk underwater!
Myth #4 I have to be an Olympic swimmer in order to get certified
Truth: As diving in being conducted in the element of water, having a basic understanding of how to swim is necessary, but being super fit or having swimming skills like you are aiming to win the gold medal is NOT at all needed. We are diving with something called a BCD and works the same way like a life jacket, so it will carry you around under water, and the only thing you need to do is to move your legs up and down. If you are only doing a try dive - having swimming skills are not necessary at all.
In order to get certified you will need to show the shop that you can swim 200m and float for 10 minutes, but the good thing is that is no time schedule for you in order to complete it, so if you feel like you are not a very strong swimmer - take your time, don't rush it!
Myth #5 I am too young/old to dive
Truth: Unless you are a small child younger than 8 years old, you are more than welcome to come and join the scuba diving family. Here at Dive Central Gili we've greeted costumers ranging from the youngest Bubblemaker at 8 years old to the more experienced, for example a 75 year old tech diver. No age should limit you in finding your passion and trying something new! As long as you are healthy and reasonably fit (like being able to climb 10 steps on stairs without stopping to catch your breath), diving is not affected by your age.
Myth #6 I am claustrophobic, I won't like diving!
Understandably, the idea for a non diver to feel claustrophobic while diving is normal - the mask on your face is said to sometimes make you feel enclosed and give tunnel vision, you also have a lot of kit that you would not normally wear in day to day life, also you are now entering the unexpected as you have not experienced diving before. Usually, once new divers hit the water, and experience that weightless feeling for the first time, floating mid water, you (like most divers) will probably feel the opposite of being in a confined space - you will feel limitless, because you are able to "defy" gravity. Standing on your head? No problem! Somersaulting? EASY!
Myth #7 The animals are dangerous and will attack me
Unlike what the Hollywood blockbuster movies Jaws and Open Water are trying to make us believe, sharks (and other marine animals) actually have little or no interest at all in taking a bite from us divers. We are not on their menu! The reality is the opposite, they see this bubble-blowing, noise-making creature chasing after them (most probably with the flash of the camera going off like there is a storm underwater) - so the shark gets scared and swims off.... wouldn't you?
Still not convinced? Well the statistical odds of you getting killed by a cow is twice as high as being bitten by a shark, 3 times greater by a dog and a whopping 100.000 greater chance by the teeny tiny mosquito. So as long as you're not scared about getting attacked by your furry four legged friend at home, you shouldn't be worried about sharks!
Myth #8 I cant equalize whilst snorkeling, I won't be able to equalize whilst diving either
The techniques for equalizing when diving is the same as for when you're snorkeling - pinch your nose and gently blow against it. But when you are snorkeling you're duck diving and swimming down as fast as possible to get nearer to the marine life, knowing that you will to come back up to the surface for a second breath. Swimming down that fast increases the pressure change rapidly and therefor makes it harder for you to equalize. When you are descending on a dive, you go down very slowly, in a safe and controlled way, this means that the pressure builds up much slower and therefore makes equalization easier. If you feel like one ear isn't popping, just ascend slightly and try again. Without the worry of running out of your breath, you can take your time to get comfortable.
Myth #9 I have to spend hours in the classroom
As a part of getting certified there is some theory for you to complete. There are five videos with a total time of 3.5 hours that has to be completed. But it does not have to be completed all at once. Through out the 3 day course, you'll watch videos and go through the theory on separate occasions with your instructor, making it easier the understand without loosing you're focus, and still spending loads of time underwater!
If you however don't feel like spending those precious hours of your vacation in the classroom, PADI offers an e-learning program - which enables you to do all the theory at home and then just enjoy the diving that we offer when coming over.
Myth #10 Diving is only for the holidays
When you enter the diving community you quickly realize how many people spend their weekends in a lake our quarry making bubbles. The water is a bit colder than on a tropical island, and the gear is a bit different, but the feeling of being underwater will remain the same. Without having any official numbers, the majority of people get their licence whilst on vacation, and only continue with a couple of dives every year during their vacation. This is of course fine, but if you love diving why not do it all the time? Why restrict yourself to a warm climate when there is so many cool and amazing things to find in your own backyard. Most likely you will make great friends whom share your passion.
Myth #11 My diving licence will expire if I don't dive.
The diving licence much like the driving licence does not have an expiry date. Once you get certified you will be certified for life. However, diving (again much like driving) is something that you have to keep on doing - otherwise the knowledge will become a tad rusty. If you haven't been diving for let's say 1 year, we recommend that you do a quick refresher, just to jog your memory and get you settled back into the water.