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Scuba Diving Assholes of Surly


CHIEF

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First time I went was about 11 years ago. Went to Cozumel for a buddy's 40th birthday, and got talked into the free "timeshare" dive in the pool, where they pitch a dive from the shore later that day. One of the guys with us was a certified divemaster, so we ended up with two divemasters in a group of five. The dive company was pretty shady, said we didn't have to dive from the beach, threw us on a boat, and headed out past Tormentos Reef, right south of the cruise ship pier, first dive was at about 105 feet, way deeper than an uncertified diver should have ever gone, but I was hooked.

Last summer, CHIEF Jr., Mrs. CHIEF, and I got our certification, here locally, and went back to Cozumel for six days worth of diving in December. Hotel and ten dives was crazy cheap, like $650 per person. Our stateside instructor was friends with a divemaster at Aldora Divers, so we went with him. Mrs. CHIEF was always apprehensive about diving. I was the one that taught her how to swim when she was in her 20's. But Dario, her divemaster, was patient, never got flustered or excited, and made the overall experience wonderful. Diving is now something we have started planning vacations around. We have purchased everything except BCs, regulators, and tanks. We are looking a Roatan after the pandemic dies down.

I know Rage-a-holic is a diver, I see him on the Scubaboard. So what badass places have the Surly assholes dove?

CHIEF

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I’ve been meaning to take classes and get certified, I think it’s going to be my Christmas present to myself.  Girlfriend is certified but we haven’t don’t a dive trip because I’m lame.  Would love to follow this one.

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A buddy of mine learned to dive while we were working together. One night in the control room he was talking about a trip he was going on and I called him a skin flute in a wet suit. That name stuck and he was called that from then on. /csb

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Roatan is badass for diving, if you end up there I'd recommend Sun Divers.  The sand fleas suck, but otherwise it's a great spot. 

Also dove in Mexico, Florida, and New Caledonia.  Caribbean is my preference.  Pacific was badass for big fish and sharks, but even I got cold in a 7 mil with hood.  My better half wore 2 wetsuits and still complained.

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done it in brazil, zanzibar, sorta-illegally in iceland, various spots around asia - philippines, vietnam, malaysia, indonesia, etc.  great barrier reef, which was the biggest disappointment because the reefs were destroyed. 

 

everyone says sipadan malaysia is the hot spot, so i want to do that sometime.

also really wanted to dive this austrian lake that gets flooded in the summer, but never got around to it.  and i think recently they stopped the practice.

 

Green-Lake.jpg

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Never certified, but I dived a few times at Possum Kingdom. All they asked for was cash. I have a problem going beyond 20ft or so. My sinus feel like they are going to explode. I tried everything to clear them but no go. I'd love to dive Belize.

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Been certified since 70's when diving was a lot different - pressure guage was optional etc.  Caymans, Cozumel etc. Used to go to the Keys every summer in high school. Dad got into it at NASA in 70's. Neutral Buoyancy was in Huntsville and he worked for NASA. They taught scuba to some of the engineers and they were "lifeguards" for astronauts a few days a month. Lots of trips to quarries and odd places around South and even dove down to Sealab off Panama City. Haven't dove in a while and miss it. Still have some of my 70's gear for retro.

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Certified¬†since 1999 and I also use Scubaboard (longhorndvr) ūüėÄ.¬† My 2 boys were certified a few months ago at Mammoth Lake and I have taken them back a few times there and to Athens and Lake Travis.¬† They are getting their AOW in early March so they have it before we got to Coz for Spring Break...¬† I have been to a lot of places mentioned already.¬† I plan to take boys to Bonaire for some shore diving but that will wait.¬† Will probably go out to Flower Gardens soon after Coz trip.

 

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My vintage Scubapro Jet Fins and US Diver Rocket fins seem to still be in a box somehwhere after moving back here in 2017. Which is odd becuase they

were hanging in closet next to BC and wet suit bth of which are in a closet now. Gonna be pissed if I lost those moving. Jet Fins were my dads and had tons of dives with astronauts in them

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Certified about 20 years ago.  Started my instruction on the Great Barrier Reef and wrapped it up in Maui on the way back home.  We dove some spot off Lanai called the "Cathedral", a volcanic room that let's a small piece of sunlight in from an upper chamber that shoots to the sand on the bottom.  Pretty cool.

What wasn't cool was my final session.  This is where take your mask off, put it back on and blow out the water with your nose. Within about a minute of going down I did that. Only half the water came out, so it was still at eye level.  Did it again and it barely moved.  Instructor gave me the OK signal and started coming toward me.  He grabbed my shoulders, looked at my air gauge. Eyes got really wide, like when Dreyfus pulled the tooth in Jaws.  We started ascending and I suddenly realized I couldn't breathe, so I pushed him the fuck away and went for the surface. Luckily we were in probably only 30 feet of water off Lahaina harbor, so I made it pretty quick.

Got to the surface and he yelled, "You're out of air!"  The boat was within shouting distance, he said the same thing. "He's out of air!"  His girlfriend, responsible for giving me an empty tank, put her hand to her mouth and probably muttered "oh my god."

The jabroni tried to spin it as if it was my fault I didn't check the tank before getting in, while alternatively apologizing profusely. 

PSA always check your tank before getting in.  

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I was certified when I was 15.  We used to go to the Caymans and dive every summer.  There was some great diving right by Georgetown.  It was called Eden Rock.  The best places to dive don't require you to go much past 60 feet.  If you go any deeper it requires decompressing, which sucks.  It's cool to say you've dived over 100 feet, but there isn't as much to see and most of your time underwater is spent holding onto the decompression platform.

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2 hours ago, Mach 1 said:

Certified about 20 years ago.  Started my instruction on the Great Barrier Reef and wrapped it up in Maui on the way back home.  We dove some spot off Lanai called the "Cathedral", a volcanic room that let's a small piece of sunlight in from an upper chamber that shoots to the sand on the bottom.  Pretty cool.

What wasn't cool was my final session.  This is where take your mask off, put it back on and blow out the water with your nose. Within about a minute of going down I did that. Only half the water came out, so it was still at eye level.  Did it again and it barely moved.  Instructor gave me the OK signal and started coming toward me.  He grabbed my shoulders, looked at my air gauge. Eyes got really wide, like when Dreyfus pulled the tooth in Jaws.  We started ascending and I suddenly realized I couldn't breathe, so I pushed him the fuck away and went for the surface. Luckily we were in probably only 30 feet of water off Lahaina harbor, so I made it pretty quick.

Got to the surface and he yelled, "You're out of air!"  The boat was within shouting distance, he said the same thing. "He's out of air!"  His girlfriend, responsible for giving me an empty tank, put her hand to her mouth and probably muttered "oh my god."

The jabroni tried to spin it as if it was my fault I didn't check the tank before getting in, while alternatively apologizing profusely. 

PSA always check your tank before getting in.  

Jesus Christos man. That’s nightmare material. 

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19 hours ago, troph said:

Jesus Christos man. That’s nightmare material.

As I mentioned I started in 70's and the requirements were a lot different. I learned from some ex navy divers who taught the course and they added a free ascent from 50-60 feet as part of open water. You also had to pass a blackout test in the pool where you has a blacked out mask and the instructors did things like turn off your air, flood your mask etc to see if you would panic. I looked back at my old textbook once and you had tests on partial prssures and had to know how the different regulators worked by drawing diagrams of the stages. No idea if they were just adding things but it did help you to not panic if things went south

 

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I am officially mad now. Went thru the entire house and no fins to be found. No clue what happened to them a couple years ago when I moved. Did find a pair of US Divers Graphite Comp Pro that I forgot I had but I am frustrated that I can't find Dad's old Scubapro Jet fins. Those things are timeless - 50 years later they stll sell the identical model.

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Cool thread, I certified 20yr ago, dove for a year or two, and haven't dove for 18yr at least. Wife had a friend invite her and a group of friends to get certified just a few months ago, and she enjoyed it, so I'm now looking for a refresher course so we can dive together.

I actually wouldn't mind some of the panic drills AuinHsv mentions above - I wasn't very comfortable back when I dove (hence only diving for a year or two and stopping), and a big part of that was knowing the ways things can go wrong and knowing how unprepared I was for them. Doing some drills would really help me, I just need to find an instructor that I'd trust to work with me and to save my life if I mess it up. These days I don't even know if many instructors will do it due to liability unless you were doing Rescue or Self-Sufficient Diver?

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9 hours ago, Sam Lin said:

Cool thread, I certified 20yr ago, dove for a year or two, and haven't dove for 18yr at least. Wife had a friend invite her and a group of friends to get certified just a few months ago, and she enjoyed it, so I'm now looking for a refresher course so we can dive together.

I actually wouldn't mind some of the panic drills AuinHsv mentions above - I wasn't very comfortable back when I dove (hence only diving for a year or two and stopping), and a big part of that was knowing the ways things can go wrong and knowing how unprepared I was for them. Doing some drills would really help me, I just need to find an instructor that I'd trust to work with me and to save my life if I mess it up. These days I don't even know if many instructors will do it due to liability unless you were doing Rescue or Self-Sufficient Diver?

Find the closest dive shop that reps the org you certified with PADI,SSI,NAUI etc....  They will have on site pool or access to pool and they will have a lot of instructors who will do a refresher and it isn't that expensive to do it.  Or if you have a friend who is experienced they can take you out, the C Card never expires.  As for panic, do in the 15 foot pool and learn to relax, it gets easier the more you dive.  For me being underwater now is one of the most relaxing things I do.  As for Covid, the shops around me in Katy are really busy, people are getting out and doing things outside and it looks like a lot of people want to get certified now.  My kids were certified a few months ago and it was crazy at local mud hole - Mammoth Lake where they did their open water. 

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About to head off to bed, but hope I remember this thread...

Wife and I got certified during engagement and then dove twice a day 4-5 days of our honeymoon.  It was awesome - both the training (it was our thing to do for us not friends/family/whatever before the wedding) and then of course the payoff in St. Lucia.  Over the last 18 or so years we have been diving every couple of years, mostly when we are in Maui (let me throw some quick love to Mike Severns Diving, love the entire crew).  It's one thing that has really been our "thing" as a couple, in that we so far have almost exclusively shared it together.  That said, we look forward to bringing the kids into the experience soon as both will be in high school as of this summer.

BTW, refresher courses are great.  I used to think that they were only for helping my wife feel better about things (she has tendencies toward claustrophobia), but I've picked up tips from some of those instructors over the years.  While yes, they have made my wife a more comfortable diver, I have had to become a much calmer diver to not run out of air well before her in the last few years! 

Looking forward to being out there in some clear water soon!

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At this time last year, we were just getting back from Cozumel. A Norther came through and Guillermo, the owner of our dive shop, sent a boat around to Chen Rios on the east side of the island before the Port was closed so we could dive the east side on our last day. One of the boat drivers slept in the boat all night in the rain. So on our last day, there were only 7 of us that got to dive on the entire island. Got some good pictures:

This is CHIEF Jr., our photographer, he used a GoPro Hero 6:

JEFFREY-jpg.png

Of course you can't go to Cozumel and not take a picture of a sea turtle:

turtle-2-jpg.png

We saw about 30 Lionfish, but this was by far the biggest SOB we saw, that coral is over 2 feet across:

LIONFISH-JPG.png

But the best thing we saw, was when I was hanging back a bit, everyone else had swam past, I looked into a hole and saw a nurse shark, as I got closer I realized there were two of them, so I banged on my tank, to get everyone's attention. So we camped out a bit and watched, we wanted to see them from the front, but the  front of the hole had three lion fish and two spine lobsters blocking the way. We signed to our divemaster, Dario, asking if they were sleeping? He shook his head, and made the universal sign of a round hole with a finger going in and out:

SHARK2-2-jpg.png

SHARK1-2-jpg.png

Definitely my favorite dive trip to date.

CHIEF

 

 

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coral size
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I miss diving like I miss my motorcycle, two things that I enjoyed taking seriously to do safely...but young kiddos tend to make you refocus priorities.  Got my advanced cert in PDIC as a teammate at work was a certified instructor, did all my training dives in Travis (including the dam for my deep dive) and for a period of time there every trip I’d take a day to dive as an outstanding way to experience wherever we were.  
 

Now it’s been 7 years and I’d need a pool ride to feel like I was ready to hit open water again.  Just the basics like getting buoyancy worked out, shedding gear, controlled emergency ascents, mask clearing, etc.  I was always calm and comfortable in the water, but practice makes perfect...just like riding, if you have the basics under muscle memory then you can avoid task saturation if things get a little intense. 
 

I feel like a lot of my competency (7 years ago) in the water was due to training in Travis.  The murk, thermoclines, kicking up silt, watching for regarded boaters on the surface, etc made me a better diver in the clear warm places like Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta and Bali that I later dive.  If you can stay comfortable when you’re suddenly freezing, lose sight of your dive buddy and have to watch your bubbles to stay oriented then not much will phase you in the gulf. 
 

The wall dive at Cozumel was an unreal experience that I’d like to do again, but those currents were serious business and I’d want to do it after a few refreshers...a few weeks before we got there a woman was caught up, busted her depth big time as they curve over the wall, ate up her air panic breathing and ascended too fast requiring a chamber ride.  
 

I’d probably be more inclined if my wife took it up again, but on our honeymoon in Bali she got vertigo and had to puke in her reg...that was that for her.  It’s definitely not for everyone but I encourage my friends to try an intro pool dive to see how they handle it because it really opens up your vacation destinations as another way to explore besides just drinking on the beach.  

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Got certified while at UT in the swim center pool (1991). Got certified again when my youngest was ten so she could dive with me and I needed a refresher.

Belize has some great spots. Really liked the Caymans as well. I’ve done Cabo, Cancun and Isla and they are decent starting with the latter. Hawaii was ok...currents basically stopped Mrs. Tailgate from diving again there.

Love to dive almost anywhere...but obviously great visibility wins every time. But, just being underwater and hearing your breath is a meditation for me I don’t get above water. Galapagos is high on my list of nexts.

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hey fellas - help a sista out - needing a good place to start for me - I'd prefer online self paced classes.  I also though want to get my kids going.  what's the deal for kids?  mine are ages 16, 13 and 12.  I'd rather not leave anyone behind.  I'm poking around the internet, google is my friend, but would love pointers from folks I trust.   I think for open water I'll do San Marcos or Balmorhea when it opens back up.  not interested in Lake Travis and don't want to do it on site on vacation. 

I would *love* to take my kids on a scuba vacay in 2021 if the world opens back up.

I sent the guys at https://www.scubaland.com/ an email so we'll see what they have to say too.

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On 12/24/2020 at 11:47 AM, troph said:

hey fellas - help a sista out - needing a good place to start for me - I'd prefer online self paced classes.  I also though want to get my kids going.  what's the deal for kids?  mine are ages 16, 13 and 12.  I'd rather not leave anyone behind.  I'm poking around the internet, google is my friend, but would love pointers from folks I trust.   I think for open water I'll do San Marcos or Balmorhea when it opens back up.  not interested in Lake Travis and don't want to do it on site on vacation. 

I would *love* to take my kids on a scuba vacay in 2021 if the world opens back up.

I sent the guys at https://www.scubaland.com/ an email so we'll see what they have to say too.

Your 13 and 12 year old can't go below 60 foot. East side of Coz is perfect. The pictures I posted above were all in water less than 60 foot. Your 16 year old can dive below 60 foot as long as an adult is with them. Below 60 feet is going to have a decompression stop at 15 feet for 5 minutes, under 60 feet, they can go all the way to the surface, no problem.

CHIEF

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hey fellas - help a sista out - needing a good place to start for me - I'd prefer online self paced classes.  I also though want to get my kids going.  what's the deal for kids?  mine are ages 16, 13 and 12.  I'd rather not leave anyone behind.  I'm poking around the internet, google is my friend, but would love pointers from folks I trust.   I think for open water I'll do San Marcos or Balmorhea when it opens back up.  not interested in Lake Travis and don't want to do it on site on vacation. 
I would *love* to take my kids on a scuba vacay in 2021 if the world opens back up.
I sent the guys at https://www.scubaland.com/ an email so we'll see what they have to say too.

Go to Grand Cayman. There are plenty of great dives to do in shallow water. Like I mentioned earlier, there is no reason to dive any deeper than 60 feet. If you conserve your air well, you can stay down for an hour without having to decompress. There are some great dives that are easy to get to in the Caymans starting with Eden Rock. There is also a wreck just off of Seven Mile Beach that is easy to get to and has lots of dive companies with daily trips there.

This is on the Eden Rock dive.

7d902543b8f463c7a99e733b0015897c.jpg
679b2ee20b7615b5740164425125a50f.jpg
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On 12/18/2020 at 5:20 AM, RPM said:

Never certified, but I dived a few times at Possum Kingdom. All they asked for was cash. I have a problem going beyond 20ft or so. My sinus feel like they are going to explode. I tried everything to clear them but no go. I'd love to dive Belize.

My oldest son dived the reef off Belize about 17 years ago. He & his gf stayed at at little ‚Äúresort‚ÄĚ on a tiny island out of sight of the mainland. They rode out there on a 20‚Äô Boston Whaler.

He said they dove down about 100’, but the reef dropped off into darkness... looking kinda scary.

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 Have dives off of Oahu, Florida panhandle, Key Largo, Puerto Rico, Cali, and Puget Sound. Cozumel as a civilian. Some of the coolest diving though was cave diving some freshwater springs just west of Ft Walton/ Destin area in the panhandle of Florida.

 Got my cert through the USN Dive school in Panama City, FL in '83. Had 5 RECON Marines and a Corpsman (SCUBA buddy) in my class that had just left Beirut and the peacekeeping mission there. They lost a lot of friends when those MFrs (early al-qaeda) blew up the Marine barracks. 

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  • 1 month later...

Both my wife (no pics) and I got certified in 2005 as open water, Divemaster & Instructor in 2008. 

Dives:

US: Texas - Blue Lagoon, Lake Travis, Lake 288, Florida - off the Coast of Naples/Marco, Key Largo, Key West (Vandenberg is a great artificial reef - on a normal year I dive it 4-5 times), Maui - best was hammer head dive off Molokai

Canada - Lake of the Woods, Ontario - not for pleasure was resetting lines that broke off anchor

Caribbean - Jamaica - Negril (1st dive and many since), Barbados, Bahamas, Antigua (heard whales during dive), BVI, Cozumel - if you dive there do a cenote dive on the last day great dive and rinses your gear in fresh water.

Best Dive - Hammerheads in Maui

Scariest dive - regulator popped and free flowed at 80 feet on descent to Vandenberg, buddy (Mrs Oglilthorpe) was close and grabbed Octo ascended safely. It was incredible how the training kicked in. Went through 2800 psi air in 4 minutes on my tank. Went up for short surface interval, went back on different reg.

Easiest Diving - Negril -  great viz, little current, decent reefs

Regarding online certification it just takes the place of the classroom instruction, you still need 4 dives over 2 days with an instructor for certification, at least with PADI - I would recommend online to anyone interested. Also, I would suggest getting certified at a resort that you can borrow equipment from, otherwise the dive shop you work with will make you buy Mask, Fins, Snorkel, Weight Belt and sometime weight that will cost minimum $250. If you don't like diving you are stuck with the equipment.

 

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8 hours ago, Ogie Ogilthorpe said:

Both my wife (no pics) and I got certified in 2005 as open water, Divemaster & Instructor in 2008. 

Canada - Lake of the Woods, Ontario - not for pleasure was resetting lines that broke off anchor

 

Lotw is at 1000'  Did you input the elevation change into your dive computer? 

 

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10 hours ago, PRONG HORN said:

 

Lotw is at 1000'  Did you input the elevation change into your dive computer? 

 

No it was a single dive to about 30-40 feet for about 20 minutes so it wasn’t necessary, just had to find an anchor and reattach a mooring line with a shackle, we had a good idea of where the anchor was so it was relatively quick.
 

2 thermoclines, one at about 8 feet and one at about 25. Second thermocline was around 50 degrees, only wore a 2mm vest. Took a some time and a few beers to thaw out

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We are all signed up for lake Travis 60 feet certification first week in June. Hoping to go to Mexico for a first dive the very next week with my sons.  I’ll admit, not looking forward to 60 feet in murky lake water.  I am looking forward to checking off some of these dives y’all are talking about though. 

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I was able to find my cert (from 1999!) on Padi web site and request a new card and e-card. Browsing equipment, it seems the split fins have drifted back out of style? Also, I'm seeing a lot of barebones BC vests now, much smaller and less bulky than the full BCs I saw back when I dove. Any other equipment trends in the past 20yr? Prices have come way down on some stuff, as should be expected.

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3 minutes ago, troph said:

We are all signed up for lake Travis 60 feet certification first week in June. Hoping to go to Mexico for a first dive the very next week with my sons.  I’ll admit, not looking forward to 60 feet in murky lake water. 

Do the class work from home and do the in water somewhere fun.

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29 minutes ago, conVINCEd said:

Do the class work from home and do the in water somewhere fun.

Exactly, that's what another guy that went with us did in Cozumel. First two days he was with the instructor, last four days he was with our regular group.

There is also Wheeler Branch in Glen Rose, which is about a 160 mile drive, but visibility is about 60 feet. All the DFW shops do their open water dives there. They have platforms, an old helicopter, all kinds of good shit. Best of all, no boats.

CHIEF

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43 minutes ago, troph said:

I think we are just going to get it out of the way.  it will blow donkey balls but it's just an hour or so swimming with the Great Dane sized catfish, how bad can it be?

I was going to do mine in a place where it was significantly cheaper, but COVID happened and that ruined those plans.  If I had already completed the online portion I would probably do my dives at a local lake like you are doing.  I never got that far, so it’s just on hold for me.  

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38 minutes ago, conVINCEd said:

I was going to do mine in a place where it was significantly cheaper, but COVID happened and that ruined those plans.  If I had already completed the online portion I would probably do my dives at a local lake like you are doing.  I never got that far, so it’s just on hold for me.  

fuck COVID worse than OU.

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