Several people have asked me about getting PADI qualified in Oman since I decided to give it a try recently. I thought I’d share this info with you all in case any of you have considered going scuba-diving but weren’t sure about how to go about doing so. There are 5 steps (3 actually-the first 2 are optional) which I think you should consider when thinking of getting your Open Water Diver Certification.
1) Do Your Homework about the dive-centres in your area. Which ones are more professional and take safety seriously? Have any friends who got PADI qualified in Oman? If so, where? How was their experience? For most people, the most crucial question seems to be, “How much will it cost?” There are plenty of dive centres in Oman which quote different prices, (anywhere between 150 and 200 rials) but several of the “lower range” prices have hidden costs that come out only after you have applied and paid for some of the course. (Course manuals and “certification costs” as 2 quick examples) Dive centers offering the PADI Open Waters divers course include: (click on link to reach the respective website)
- Omanta Scuba (at the Beach House at the Intercontinental Hotel) Tel:+968-2469-3223 (I’m biased towards these guys as that’s where I got certified!)
- Eurodivers (Capital Area Yahct Club in Sidab & Barr Al Jissah Resort) Tel: +968 9503 6040
- Dimaniyat Diving (in Jahawarat Mall in Shatti)
- Bluezone Diving (located at Marina Bander Al Rowdha) Tel: +968-2473-7293
- Global Scuba (at Civil Aviation Club, 18th Nov. St., Athaibah) Tel: +968-9931-7518
- Muscat Diving & Adventure Center, Al Azaiba Tel: +968-244 85663
- (If you know of others let me know so I can add their websites and phone number to the list!)
I recommend calling and checking out all the differing prices as sometimes the quoted price can change depending on who you’re talking to!
2) Consider Doing a DSD (Discover Scuba Diving) which will make you more prepared for doing the course as well as taking away a lot of nervousness you may otherwise have. (Click here for my DSD experience – Part I and Part II)
3) The Educational Segment of the Course requires a bit of study.
You can do it in about 8 hours at a dive centre but best to get the PADI Open Water Diver Manual to study on your own before going into the centre for more detailed instruction. There are 5 modules or chapters in the book and the first 3 are quite commonsensical but chapters 4 and 5 require more help from instructors. Some dive centres lend you 2 DVDs (with a total of 5 videos) that you should watch to reinforce the material in the manual while others have you watch them in the dive centre. I recommend buying the DVDs (around 10 OR) so you can have a copy to review over and over if need be.
This is Stan Berlin, instructor and part-owner of Omanta Scuba (another Canuck from Vancouver!) pictured marking my final exam! (94% – not too bad!) Stan was great teaching the course as he’s a great storyteller and knows how to explain difficult scuba-diving concepts well to the uninitiated.
There is always the option of doing the education part online at www.padi.com and then bring the printed final exam results with you into any dive centre. It should be around $130 US cheaper with that part of the course out of the way.
4) Confined Dives-(Learning all Essentials from the 5 modules) This part of the course is normally held in a swimming pool or body of water such as a cove with “swimming pool like conditions” (not too deep or rough). I was not able to get any photos as they obviously want you to focus during training and don’t want you to be distracted by cameras. We did this segment from 8:30am to about 3pm in one of the Intercon pools. 2 tests which were administered at the end of a tiring day required us to swim 200 meters without mask, snorkel or fins (you can also do this test with mask, snorkel and fins over 300 meters) and then to tread water on the surface of the pool for 10 minutes. If you cannot do these 2 tasks, it would probably be best to take swimming lessons before thinking of taking the Open Water Course.
5) Open Water Dives - going over all material and practises learnt in the confined dives. We did 2 dives at Bandar Al Khiran and a final dive at Jissah near the Sea-Arch.
Me and my instructor, Keith Fernandes, in Mermaid Cove at Bandar Al Khiran on the last day of my PADI qualification. The first dive was at a depth of 12.4 metres for 43 minutes with a visibility of 6 metres. The 2nd dive was at a depth of 7 metres for 25 minutes (after a surface time of 27 minutes).
Scuba diving is a serious thing especially when it comes to safety, but it’s also great fun and most PADI instructors are sociable and know to have a lot of fun. A pic of 2 Omanta Scuba instructors,Keith and Jez, having a good laugh while Maneer, another driver for Omanta Scuba, leads us onto the 2nd divesite for the day – Jissah.
As you can probably make out from this photo, the last day of my qualification was cloudy one and the sea was quite rough. As we waited at Marina Bandar Al Rowdha at 8:30am, it wasn’t sure at first whether we would call it off or not due to the rough waters. What you don’t see in this post unfortunately are the beautiful schools of baby barricuda, moray eels, butterfly and angel fish, groupers and clown fish, just to name a few of the amazing sea creatures we saw in the Barr al Jissah area. This dive was at 16 metres for 30 minutes with a visibility of 5 metres.
My instructor signing the first official entries in my Diver’s Log.
My new Diver’s Log and Training Record. Never leave home without it!
I can’t believe I’ve actually finished my PADI Open Water Diver Course! This has always been on my list of must-dos and I’m so glad that I finally decided to just do it! A big thanks to everyone at Omanta Scuba and especially my instructor, Keith Fernandes!