Learning to Scuba Dive in the Puget Sound

After finding out that you just can’t get certified to scuba dive in a day in Maui last year, we opted for a “Discover Scuba” session where they hold your hand and introduce you to scuba, in order to get a taste of scuba in Hawaii. That was pretty cool but before our Mexico trip this spring we wanted to get certified so Chelsea treated us to Seattle Scuba School’s open water course here in Seattle as a Christmas present.

The nice thing about the Seattle Scuba course is that there is no class room time, instead you get a DVD and study on your own ahead of time. Or in our case, cram the night before the pool dive :). The pool dive was on a weeknight, from 6-11 and covered the basics of how to use the equipment and then we got in the pool.

The pool was the Safe n Sound pool in the China Harbor monstrosity. (Yeah, who knew there was a pool in that building!) In the pool you learn how to handle the equipment, clear your mask, control your buoyancy, etc.

Once we completed the pool we had a two full day session in the sound. You’d meet at the store at 9, get to the West Seattle dive site, Seacrest Cove #1 around 10.

Once there we did two dives each day, each about twenty minutes in length, with about an hour in between the two dives. Diving in the Puget Sound, in the winter, is cold. Though apparently it isn’t much warmer in the summer. For us the water temp was around 47’F. To battle the cold they decked us out in full wet suits, with hood, gloves and booties. Getting in the water is definitely chilly but you sorta get used to it. The biggest challenge is that with all the gear on it’s hard to do anything (like put your mask back on under water.)

Don’t get excited, we didn’t see much underwater. Just a few crab, some old toilets and a lot of garbage. Apparently there used to be beautiful kelp forests but the run off from West Seattle has taken it all out. Visibility was at best 12-15 feet…

The ratio of students to instructors/dive masters was 2:1 which felt like the right ratio as each day something would crop up with one or two divers and one of the instructors was able to take care of the situation (leaving the rest of us freezing on the bottom :) ). After the two dives (we reached a max depth of 50 feet on day two), you grab a late lunch to go, head back to the shop, and review some course material.

After suffering through diving in Seattle I’m looking forward to contrasting the experience in the warm waters of Puerto Escondido in Mexico next week :).

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2 Responses to Learning to Scuba Dive in the Puget Sound

  1. Andrew Mattie says:

    12-15 ft viz isn’t that bad for a first dive — at least in my extremely limited experience. My wife and I learned how to dive late last year, and our first-dive visibility in the local Laguna Beach spot was only 5-7 feet. It was cold too, but definitely not 47 degrees cold. Ouch!

    Ah well, enjoy Mexico!

  2. Bria Ball says:

    Glad you guys completed it, and definitely update us on Mexico. They do say that if you can dive in Seattle you can dive anywhere :)

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