Whale shark women scuba dive

Let’s make this clear – You don’t have to be a jock or adrenaline junkie to start diving. If you love the ocean, there’s no greater thrill than scooting around the bottom, getting close to stunning wildlife, sliding through clouds of fish or tunnels. It’s no longer a boys club too and, single ladies, you don’t have to know a bunch of women scuba divers or have a bubble blowing boyfriend to start.

It’s a great community – even for land-locked regions. There are dive clubs with events planned year round in lakes and quarries. Many put together their own trips, pooling know-how and experience to find exotic places and the best times to go. Women scuba divers are a big part of the bunch.

Scuba diving is another way to help protect the oceans too. Jacques Cousteau said, “You protect what you love.” Here’s a sweet video about the mission to help the oceans with PADI instructor, Rocio Gajon.

I’m writing this as I prepare for Women’s Diving Day on July 15th. This is the third year that PADI has organized a day dedicated for women scuba divers. More than 700 locations internationally have participated past events designed to grow the dive community. New and expert divers have come together, in all kinds of activities from high tea on the high seas to shark dives and underwater cleanups. I’ll be stepping into the sea with the women scuba divers from Ocean Enterprises in San Diego. You don’t have to be a certified diver to participate but can tag along with your snorkel and fins, get to know the local divers and learn more about diving.

2016 Women’s Diving Day in La Jolla, California:

Want to join the scores of women scuba divers?

Getting certified as a diver is the first step. I’d recommend PADI dive courses and if you can manage it, take an accelerated course over 4 – 5 days in a tropical location. Perhaps you learned how to dive ages ago and need to refresh your skills? There are courses and events for that. Being confident as a scuba diver is freeing. The skill to let go and just enjoy the underwater world comes with regular practice.

I learned in Cozumel and found the dive masters deeply invested in making me comfortable and keeping me safe. The entire PADI course is set up for security and ease. The water in Mexico was deliciously warm and startlingly clear. I was in love from the first descent – while making every mistake I could. Still, it was much easier to do my open water dive from a boat on calm waters rather than walking in, back bent with tank weight, through cold waves as my son did. There are tips for new divers in an earlier post.

Elaine Titanic pose women scuba divers wreck dive

My son Josh, photo bombing my best Titanic pose.

It doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • Check out dive clubs for used equipment, even camera gear, and lights. Someone is always upgrading and happy to get something for their gear.
  • There are annual sales at dive shops and online. You don’t have to get designer gear to begin with or ever. Make sure the sport works for you before investing.
  • Rent gear. Dive shops will happily fit you with the right sizes. They’ll answer questions and find out what is best for your body shape and size. You shouldn’t worry about fins falling off or a suit that chafes.
  • Learn with a friend or as a family. Dive centers often offer discounts.
  • Dive trips don’t have to drain your bank account. Scour magazines for dive specials, ask at local shops, and join dive clubs. Watch for airfare sales too.
Spinner Dolphins at the surface, Kona Coast, Hawaii

Snorkeling with wild Spinner Dolphins, Kona Coast, Hawaii

I never anticipated becoming a scuba diver. I’m not particularly fond of high-tech sports and their expense. However, after snorkeling for decades, I wasn’t about to give up the opportunity to learn to scuba with my guy, a sea-urchin-diver-turned-underwater-photographer. Over the past eight years, I’ve managed a little over 300 dives. It started with me struggling to keep up, carrying his spare camera and sucking my air tanks dry long before he was ready to surface. That’s all in the past as I just invested in my own camera and lights – second hand – and often climb up the dive ladder with air to spare. I adore my dive buddy as well as joining women scuba divers. Legendary diver, Chuck Nicklin, is my model. He’s turning ninety this year and still leading dive trips around the world. I hope to match his record.

Here’s more inspiration about Women Scuba Divers and the groundbreakers who have helped us all become better divers.

Sharing is caring. Pin this and thanks.

PADI Women Divers Day 2017

 

Some dives are a floating meditation - once you`re equalized and moving. This pinnacle, off Verde Island, was about a 45-minute ride from Puerto Galera and the most exciting of our 5 days diving there.

Exciting for the surging sea and tricky current, which you won`t see here. I`ll post more later about the entry/exit challenges. This wasn`t the `washing machine` dive elsewhere offshore. That`s for advanced divers looking for adrenaline challenges. Not my dive style!

• Good to know what your fellow divers are looking for. I carry a pointer and tap my tank if I find a micro opp like nudibranchs or secretive shrimp.
• It`s good to know the limitations of your camera rig. I shoot for motion and wide with a small, fixed light. It`s limiting. My dive buddies carry the big rigs and lights to catch micro subjects worthy of a cover shot. I thrill in the hunt for movement and color.
• The best dive buddies and dive masters share when we spot something and wait turns to shoot. This crew was generous - another exciting plus on the trip.

The expert crew and catamaran from the @marco_vincent_dive_resort are the best I`ve encountered in nearly 500 dives around the world.

Footage: Go Pro 8
Music: Alone by Mike, VN subscription. Are you an adrenaline adventurer?
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Nothing like diving with whale sharks before breakfast! And it`s always a thrill to have wild animals come close. These juveniles show up daily for handouts from the local fishermen. The limited number of visitors are coached before boat assignments and limited to a few morning hours.

We rolled into the village after dark the night before and prepped for a pre-dawn shore dive. It was a great choice, or we`d be bobbing on the surface with dozens of snorkelers - still a fine experience but not for video. Sorry, it`s so dark. Rain started as we stepped in, and the sun only broke through as we stumbled out. I still feel blessed.

Thanks to JR Divers Tan Awan, Cebu. Would you swim with whale sharks?
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Fiji Sharks are so smart. I became a fan on my first shark dive years ago. I sat on the bottom watching as they took turns grabbing fish heads from an outstretched hand (The diver wears a chain mail glove.)

On that earlier dive I watched next to pioneering underwater filmmaker Chuck Nicklin - in his 80`s and still diving! His excitement was contagious and calmed my nerves.

This time I brought Chuck along. He passed away last year and I had permission to bring his ashes. I think he`d be pleased.

Many thanks to Roz Nicklin and @diverdave for making this possible. @Aqua_Trek too.
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"What`s that drumming?" We walked out of the Hong Kong customs and turned to catch these Dragon Dancers in action. Chinese New Year celebrations are winding down but the troupe`s balance and coordination is a wonder whenever or wherever the dragons show up.

#hongkongdragon #explorehongkong #dragondancers #yearofthedragon2024 #tripwellgal #travelstoke #chinesenewyear2024 #epicjourney
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What a treat! We found out how Samoans traditionally make coconut cream and then use it in most everything. I`ve always loved coconut milk but had no idea how great freshly made can be. Samoans don`t usually use dairy products and I didn`t miss them the week I spent on island.

Thanks to Candymann and David at Tisa`s for the fantastic Umu Feast.

Do you try traditional foods when you travel?
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Happy Lunar New Year! Loved seeing the Dragon as Singapore rolled out their Gardens By The Bay Light Show and show tunes filled the night. (Different music theme monthly!)

You can watch each night at 7:45 & 8:45.
Kung hei fat choi! Happy Year of the Dragon!

A graceful and generous Singaporean friend helped me find the perfect spot for the show. Afterwards, we walked for hours while she explained life in this amazing city. Her government-issued fitbit watch said we took over 18,000 steps! I believe it. It took my feet days to feel normal, but I`d do it all again.

Do you trust the "kindness of strangers" when you travel?
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#singapore_botanic_gardens #gardensbythebay #Lightshow #lunarnewyear24 #yearofthedragon #visit_singapore #walkingtours #urbanart #nightout #publicart #travelgrams #tripwellgal #traveltuesday #LYN24 #LYN
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Travel Notes & Beyond