The Backpacker Interviews: Divergent Travelers

I’ve always wanted to learn to dive. Somehow, despite travelling around the world for seven years, I’ve never really gotten round to it. Lina Stock, from Divergent Travelers, a bona-fide guru on all things diving has been pushing me to take the plunge, literally, and get my ass underwater. But what can I expect to find? Is it easy to learn? Where should I do it and how much will it cost? Lina reveals all…

There is much more opportunity to your trodden tropical travel routes then smoking shisha and drinking beers on the beach. One of the best ways to add adventure to your every day travels is to hop in the water. While snorkeling can be a great way to start discovering the underwater world, dialing it up a notch can lead to many adventures you wouldn’t imagine. How can you do this, you say? It’s time to try your hand at scuba diving.

Crowning Glory Reef Culion Philippines

Nemos!!

Snorkeling vs. Scuba Diving

Most people have taken the opportunity to snorkel at least once in their lives. Snorkeling is easy and doesn’t require certification to participate. It involves just a mask and air tube that sticks out of the water while you float at the surface and observe the marine life below you.

Scuba, which stands for self contained underwater breathing apparatus, requires specialized training in use and safety along with certification. This means you can breath while being completely submerged under the water! It may seem like too much to be bothered with when you’re traveling but if you love being in the water or have any interest whatsoever in marine life then you should give it a try. Being able to explore the ocean while breathing is one of the coolest adventures out there!

Scuba diving Maldives Divergent Travelers

Great visibility in the Maldives

Why I Love Scuba Diving

The old adage that we know less about our oceans then we do about space is what motivates me to jump in the water and explore. While I am not a scientist, I am fascinated by this whole other world that exists under the water. Scuba diving has added a whole new adventure element to my travels that makes exploring destinations much cooler.

Being a certified diver, I cannot only explore the coolest places in the World, I can also jump in the water and experience some of the best dive sites in the World. Sipadan off the coast of Borneo and the intense dive sites of the Maldives are a couple that come straight to mind when I think of my favorite dive adventures and, of course, scuba diving in Bali is one of the best places in the world to learn by day and party by night…

Check out this post for a backpacker breakdown of the Maldives.

Scared of Going Under the Water?

If you have a reasonable fear of the water, I am talking reasonable not panic fear, but are still interested in trying scuba diving then never fear. Any dive shop you walk into will have the opportunity for you to try a discover scuba course. This entry level experience will show you how to use the equipment, give you some basic safety skills and then put you into a safe, shallow environment for you to see what scuba diving feels like.

If you’re like me, you’ll be insanely curious but your first experience will be scary. I struggled my first couple dives as being under the water was freaky for me, yet I pushed through it and am now a PADI Advanced Open Water scuba diver who is diving some of the best dive sites in the World while I travel.

Sipadan Island Borneo

Scuba Diving at Sipadan in Borneo

How to Get Certified

This is easy, walk into any scuba shop at your destination and sign up for a PADI Open Water course. People that work in the scuba industry are really chill and you will find yourself comfortable amongst them immediately. Getting your first certification will take you 3-4 days and yes, it does require some reading and a couple tests, but it also requires 4 dives. You take what you learn directly into the water and this makes the learning interactive and fun.

Not sure about giving up 3-4 days of your travels to get certified? Don’t be. We took our open water course while on Gili Trawangan in Indonesia and not only did we have spectacular diving, but our time between dives was spent on the beach. You can’t really beat it.

Sipadan Island Borneo

How Much Does it Cost?

I think this is the main concern of every backpacker, what it will cost. While it will require you to put some money forward to become certified, it will be worth the investment in the long term. Our certification in Gili Trawangan, Indonesia cost us $275usd per person for the whole course, including the dives. It is one of the cheapest destinations to obtain certification.

If it is something that you are interested in, you really can’t go wrong with planning to get certified in Southeast Asia. After you have your certification, the diving world is your oyster and you can start diving in any destination for as little as $25usd per dive.

If you crave adventure and are looking for a way to dial up your travels a notch, then it’s time for you to hop in the water and start scuba diving. Trust me, what you see in the underwater world will shock, awe you and I guarantee you be different each time.

 

Divergent Travelers Lina StockAbout the Author: Lina Stock is an adventurer hailing from Wisconsin, USA. Her and her husband, Dave, have been traveling the world for 13+ years in search of far off places and great adventures. They bring you an adventure packed style of travel through inspiring photography, videos and stories on their blog www.DivergentTravelers.com, Facebook and Youtube.

2 Comments

  • Hi Will,

    Super helpful breakdown by Lina. I love the water but fear diving a little. A friend on Koh Lanta – diving guy – offered to get us in the tank but I didn’t follow up. It’s high time for me to dive because going underwater exposes you to a whole new world and for an island hopping guy like me it just makes sense 😉 Stunning images!

    Ryan

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    Hi Will, thanks for the great travel tips, the reviews, and the hints, including the explanation of your reluctance at SCUBA diving in the area.

    Pictures are really excellent also.

    It certainly helps when I can read a blog such as yours, and be guided by it. Many adventures to be had by all.

    Cheers Sharon…

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