Diving was a lot of fun. I got to see a white-tipped reef shark, swim with a large sea turtle, watch a sea horse, as well as the usual reef wildlife (fish, urchins, starfish, etc.). I logged nearly 2 hours during my 4 open water dives, and the deepest I went was 27 ft (8.2 m). I was originally worried about equalizing the pressure in my ears, but it wasn't hard at all. The thing that surprised me the most was how heavy the scuba equipment is out of the water. In fact, just gearing up and walking between the staging area and beach really wore me out. I feel like I've been on a strenuous backpacking trip.
I wanted to take my camera with me on the last dive, but I didn't since I wasn't 100% certain that my new waterproof case would work. It's too bad because I could have photographed the shark. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of myself diving, so I'll have to go again and make sure to bring a camera next time. (I swiped the photo shown above from the internet.)
The next level of diving certification is the PADA Advanced Open Water Diver, which consists of five adventure dives that you choose from these options: altitude diving, AWARE-fish identification, boat diving, deep diving, diver propulsion vehicle use, drift diving, dry suit diving, multilevel and computer diving, night diving, peak performance buoyancy, search and recovery, underwater nature study, underwater navigation, underwater photography, underwater videography and wreck diving. It costs only slightly more than the Open Water course and can be completed over one weekend. I'm tempted to do it while I'm in Alaska later this summer since I can gain some experience with cold water diving, but it costs more there compared to Hawaii. We'll see.
I'll have to get at least 25 dives under my belt before I can become a NOAA Scientific Diver. The main limitation for me is the high cost of buying diving equipment (at least $1-2k). If I get serious about this, I'll definitely need to buy my own equipment, but I don't think I can afford it yet.
PS: This is the first time I've uploaded a blog post using the really nice flock browser.