Thursday, February 02, 2006

Online scuba instruction and training?

So I need to respond to a phone call I received last night which involves a specific inquiry I've been asked once or twice a year lately. The gist of the inquiries involve a specific online scuba training program offered by a specific business, not scuba certification agency, whose name I shall not mention. This business has a website promoting inexpensive online training that will give you a referral form for your open water course that is good "anywhere". BEWARE of such claims, do your homework. I told the guy on the phone to be careful, as I have been warned by PADI about a specific shop offering such a program - that indeed was the shop he'd run across.

There is a legitimate online open water training program offered by SDI (one of the large training agencies - by training agencies I mean structured organizations which produce training programs and have shops and instructors specifically affiliated with them worldwide - not an individual business), but so far this is the only one and I believe they make no clamis that ANY Instructor will honor it, it's an SDI program.

Most all of the scuba certification agencies do offer some sort of computer based self study, such as CD ROM or DVD instruction, SDI offers this and the online option.

I do know for a fact that PADI (the world's lagest scuba training agency) has at least at one point instructed their Instructors not to accept the referrals from the particular business this post is about. I corresponded with them about this last year and they said they had lawyers working on getting these guys to knock off with their claims.

So this post is not a plug for SDI, just a warning that if you are looking into online open water scuba training, do make sure that it is backed up by a specific recognized training agency with affiliated shops and instructors worldwide which offers that program. Also do remember, that most all agencies offer self study programs via book, CD or DVD... you have lots of options for legitimate dive self-instruction.

OK, rant over.

So here's another surgeon fish. I know it as a Naso Tang (Naso literatus) from the aquarium trade. It's also called Orangespine Unicornfish, Lipstick Tang, and probably another name or two. Notice the prominent twin set of orange spines on these guys. Surgenfish are primarily herbivores and spend their days scouring the reef of algae.

Several years back while on an intro dive just outside of the harbor, I saw a veritable river of these guys grazing it's way down the reef in a big school. I'm not talking a dozen or fifty, I'm talking a 6-8 foot wide and 80-100 foot long school of these guys, I figured at the time 600-900 of them in the school and I could've been underestimating the numbers. I can't think of a time that I've seen more than 8-10 together in all my other dives here. I guess it was ono of those one time occasions, I wish I had a camera of some type in hand. It's still one of the more amazing encounters I've had here.

Have a nice day,


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