I got the bug for scuba diving several years ago when I tried a “Discovery Dive” in tropical water. A week after I got home from that vacation I found a local dive shop in the Seattle area (Underwater Sports) and signed up to become Open Water certified. That was a fun class, although we started with 8 students in the class and pool, and on the first day of our open water dives, four people (half the class) dropped out. To be fair, the water here is a balmy 48 degrees so some couldn’t handle that condition. On top of that, the wind was blowing pretty hard causing the water to be quite rough and choppy. The four of us that continued braved the cold, wind and chop, and completed the open water certification.
I then did some fun dives, and decided I wanted to become Advanced Open Water certified. I went back to my same instructor and talked with him about doing that, and combined getting my AOW with also learning how to use a Dry Suit, and getting Dry Suit Certified. Trying to do the AOW navigation dive in Puget Sounds dark and murky water really made it critical to learn how to use a compass, since visual cue based navigation was impossible.
I then did a good number of fun dives after this both in Puget Sound and in tropical places like Kona, Hawaii. While in Hawaii, I decided to get myself certified for Enriched Air (Nitrox). That was a fun class, and now when travelling I almost always prefer to dive Nitrox.
While in the Philippines, I decided to get my Underwater Photography certification, which was quite fun, and I got to use my first DSLR underwater, which was quite cool.
Next up for me will be Rescue Diver certification, which I am hoping to take in Feb of 2012, depending on my instructors availability to teach the class. Additionally, I would like to get Underwater Videography certification sometime in 2012. I will only need one additional specialty after these two certifications and I will qualify for the Master Scuba diver certification because I am well over 100 dives now.
After this, I will need to decide if I want to consider going down the Pro path and become a Dive Master.
Anyway, for now, in 2012, my goals are Rescue Diver, Underwater Videography, and then one more cert so I can get my Master Scuba Diver Cert.
What was your path to certification? (or what will it be?)
Make sure you post on the site for others to see.