I haven’t always dived in the UK. For many years I remained a firm warm water diver. However after a fabulous weekend in Plymouth I fell in love with what the UK has to offer. It’s not always like that – we’re not guaranteed a weekend of diving like you may in other areas but when it’s good it’s the best.
I instruct in the UK and I have to be honest, it’s not always the easiest of places to learn to dive in. However, the challenges that are part of the course, such as visibility and temperatures, give a fantastic introduction to diving. If you’ve trained in the UK then the challenges of a warm water dive will be minimal in comparison. That’s not to say that all diving abroad is easy – far from it. There will be local challenges to face such as currents and marine life.
I taught in a local inland lake this weekend. We were doing the advanced course and as part of that we did our navigation dive. The visibility was minimal; 2m at best and it led to a situation where the students had to navigate using the compass. Later, as we finished the dive, we used the sun to navigate. For all it may not have been the environment for an easy going fun dive, it was a superb experience for students to apply their navigation skills in the most challenging of circumstances.
The same applied to the wreck dive. The visibility was far better but there were still greater risks to identify and students were able to see the risks for themselves. Sometimes, if the first dive you have learning a skill goes really well it may instil a false sense of confidence in students. The greatest thing the students learned, other than the skills themselves, were their own limitations. How they felt during the deep dive experience and how they would make decisions if they were diving on their own.
The courses are the same skills regardless of where you learn, but don’t be too quick to rule out the UK as a place to learn. It may appear to be a bit more of a challenge than a nice warm water location, but it also offers a range of experiences that may support your dive development in an even stronger way.