Updated: Dec 3, 2020
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I finally took the plunge. Chris (my fiancé) and I have been talking about wanting to get me certified for SCUBA diving for the 10 years we’ve been together (he’s now been certified for 20 years) and I’ve been interested for even longer. We recently had 2 days off together and decided to take the first steps.
We started off looking around Fort Lauderdale, staying local but struggled to find anything that didn’t seem outrageously priced for a beginner and that I liked – it has to be pink! Chris took to the internet and wound up on Amazon – as we always do – and found a Mares set. While it wasn’t pink, the pricing seemed reasonable, having included the regulator, computer, gauge, and octo. However, we had the remaining question of size to figure out, so we took a trip to Diver’s Direct and found out that the one we were looking at was not a women’s BCD and would be WAY too big for me. I tried the Aqua Lung Soul in XXS and it fit perfectly....at a price outside of our intended budget. I then tried the Aqua Lung Pearl, which I liked the design of better and was available in a package, but they only had a XS and I was conflicted about the sizing - it felt big compared to the Soul. Not wanting to regret my purchase due to size, we found out that the Key Largo store had the XXS in stock, although they struggled with availability for the complete package due to delays from Aqua Lung related to Covid 😒.
The next day, we made a road trip out of it. It had been so long since we’d been down in the Keys, and even though I never wish to live there again, I am always excited to visit. With low expectations of the visit to Divers Direct, we decided to putz around and tourist for the day. We passed a local dive shop, Scuba Outlet, in Key Largo, and decided to check it out, even doing a circle to get back to it. It was the most organized dive shop I have ever been in and with an impressive selection!
The gentleman was attentive and knowledgeable, and understanding of a female’s needs, and listened to my desire for Pink :). For just a little more than the Aqua Lung Pearl package at Divers Direct, I ultimately got the Tusa Tina BCD with an Oceanic gauge and computer (a brand Chris knows and respects), and a Hollis Air2 (we've never heard of the brand, but it saved us from having to find the replacement for an octo). Chris even found a new computer for himself.
Starving from the drive down, we stopped for lunch at Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar, a restaurant right on the water that Chris had originally proposed as the location for our first date, that I still had never been to. The food was good and the views were even better. Being on the ocean, seeing the mangroves and palm trees, and boats in the water – nothing beats it, it’s just so peaceful.
After lunch, I was so excited that we went back home and I jumped in the pool to try my new gear and start practicing. I’ve started the book work through Padi and am excited for my new #divelife 🥽!
Got any good recommendations for dive sites around South Florida? Although Chris has 2 decades of experience, it’s almost all based in the frigid waters of Michigan. I know the Keys are littered with them, but where else should I check out? Let me know 🙂