I’ll start by saying I did not always have a love for swimming out in the open ocean…I was more of a ski-slopes and mountain lake sort of woman. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a good beach vacation and the opportunity to snorkel around and see some cool fish, but scuba-diving seemed…scary. This mind-set changed entirely after taking the leap and getting dive certified while stationed with my husband on Guam!
While I could list a myriad of reasons why I recommend getting dive certified on Guam, here are my top five:
- Affordable class rates
Guam is one of the most cost-effective places to complete your PADI Open Water Certification. With rates starting at $219 this price point is pretty amazing when you compare it to other locations! Typical rates elsewhere (ie: Hawaii, Mainland US) can be in the $550+ range. Now, just because certification is less expensive in Guam does not mean your training is any less thorough. You are completing the same standard PADI coursework and being instructed by someone who has completed PADI’s IDC Program (Instructor Development Course).
- Some of the best dive sites in the world
Living on Guam, you will have some of the most incredible dive sites at your fingertips and they won’t take hours to get to. In fact, some are literally a 10/15 min boat ride from shore. Whether you are into diving wrecks or are more interested in exploring beautiful stretches of coral reefs – this island has it! Right inside Apra Harbo, you can dive down and explore the SMS Cormoran & Tokai Maru – the only place in the world where you can touch ships sunk in WWI & WWII at the same time! Another dive unique to Guam is the Blue Hole, look it up and you’ll see where it gets its name from.
- FREE guided shore dives every weekend
MDA offers free guided shore dives on the weekend! This offers a safer way to explore new dive sites that you are not familiar with and learn tips from divers that have navigated the area before. It is never a good idea for you and your buddy to try out a new dive site without any guidance, so these guided tours are a great way to expand your knowledge of dive sites around the island.
- The water is SO warm
While some may opt for a wetsuite at times, they are definetely not needed for Open Water dive excursions. With water temps between 80-84 degrees fahrenheit, you’ll find yourself pretty compfortable (even in 120ft of water). I personally like to wear leggings and a rashgard/sharkskin to keep my skin protected, but that thin layer was all I ever needed, even at night!
- Awesome way to make new friends
Diving is such an easily accessable water sport on Guam that you may find yourself out in the water multiple times a week, especially if you decide to invest in your own gear. The dive community on Guam is very welcoming and informative. The dive shop owners will begin to recoginze you and depending on how often you sign up for boat dives, the captains and deckhands will get to know your name. More importantly, you’ll make friends with other dive buddies that love to get out and explore!
It took a little encouragement from friends and my spouse to sign up for the Open Water Dive class. So if you are apprehensive, you are not alone! I was pretty nervous, but I am so so happy I took the plunge…pun intended! Diving became a regular weekend activity. There is nothing cooler than greating the sunrise with a relaxing shoredive to start your day.