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kbev
05-11-2012, 11:20
I'm hoping someone on here can help....

I need to do my completion dives for my OW cert. I am planning a trip to Ocho Rios (not meant to be a dive trip but very well could turn into one). I have looked at the PADI website and found a dive shop in the area. Which leads me to my two questions...

1) Has anyone been to Ocho Rios and aware of the dive shop / instructor that I can set up completion dives with?

2) Can any instructor certify me with completion dives?

Any help is greatly appreciated

PlatypusMan
05-11-2012, 11:50
Contact your local instructor for the answers to this; he/she should have made clear to you just how the referral works and provided you with clear paperwork to that effect.

Based on your post I am assuming you are looking specifically for a PADI shop--contact the one you have learned of via email with your concerns and see what they tell you.

scubadiver888
05-11-2012, 13:20
For PADI, you can do all the class and pool work at one shop and the open water dives at a second shop. The first shop will need to give you a referral letter. If you want to mix PADI and some other agency it gets a little trickier.

seriousdiver
07-03-2012, 18:20
Have you already taken the trip? How was the dive shop? If not when are you planning on going?

I'm looking at Jamaica for my OW certification at the end of August/early September.(went there for vacation and would like to go back, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

It's either getting certified locally, doing the blackbeards cruises, or finding a place in the Caribbeans.

scubadiver888
07-03-2012, 20:33
Have you already taken the trip? How was the dive shop? If not when are you planning on going?

I'm looking at Jamaica for my OW certification at the end of August/early September.(went there for vacation and would like to go back, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

It's either getting certified locally, doing the blackbeards cruises, or finding a place in the Caribbeans.

I was certified in Jamaica. Spent two weeks at the Grand Lido Negril and got one on one certified with a really good instructor. He was certified to teach for 3 different agencies and had been diving for quite some time. Five years later I decided I wanted to dive more than I could afford to go to the Caribbean. So I found a local shop and signed up for Advanced Open Water. Most the good stuff around here is below 80 feet.

I had pretty good buoyancy control and quite comfortable in the water. Caribbean water in a 3mm shorty that is. Switch to a 7mm wetsuit with a 7mm vest, hood, 5mm gloves, cold water fins and a LOT more weight. I was worse than the first time I went diving in the Caribbean. It was not pretty at all. By the end of the AOW I was doing well again but still not comfortable with all that gear, 5 to 20 foot visibility, 45F water and current. Not to mention freighters and small boat traffic.

If you plan on diving locally, get certified locally. If you are just diving in tropical waters. Get certified in the Caribbean. If you change your mind after certified, take a refresher course locally. If you are up for it, get certified locally and dive the Caribbean. If you learn to dive locally, you'll find Caribbean diving easier and more enjoyable.

Also, Jamaica isn't the best place to get certified. If you are staying at a Sandals or Grand Lido, the staff are a lot better but you'll pay for it. There also isn't a lot to see underwater in Jamaica. Go to one of the locations known for diving if you want to learn to dive: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Bonaire, Curacao.

P.S. kbev hasn't logged back on here since the day they posted the original message.

seriousdiver
07-04-2012, 07:44
Just curious, what year did you get certified in Jamaica? My understanding is that they've done a bunch of revitalization efforts when it comes to their seas since the hurricane.

Thanks for the response, my guess is Jamaica is still better than a muddy lake as far as getting certified goes!

It's a toss up between Jamaica and the Bahamas, such difficult life decisions!

scubadiver888
07-04-2012, 08:26
I got certified in 2001. It wasn't bad back then and I have been looking to go back to Jamaica every so often. My wife really likes the island but doesn't scuba dive. When we plan a trip she picks an island which has great diving and great stuff for her to do as well. Back in 2001 the island had some okay diving out at Negril. Around 2006 it wasn't good at all. I have heard about the revitialization of MoBay and understand things are better. However, Jamaica just isn't a dive destination. It is a great island with some great things to see and it also has scuba diving.

If I wanted to work in the Caribbean as a scuba instructor, I would not head for Jamaica to find work. The best instructors want to work at the best dive locations. These locations are going to have plenty of work because divers flock to them and when I'm not working, I have some great places to dive for my own pleasure. All the instructors I met in Jamaica were Jamaicans. They locals who like to dive.

Bahamas is a great place to dive. Not sure if it is going to be the best bang for your buck but it has a lot more to offer underwater than Jamaica.

I've never been to the western Caribbean but a lot of guys I talk to say the diving there is much better than any of the places I've been in the Caribbean (Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, St Kitts, Dominica, Martinque, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba). I've been told I have to get out to Roatan, Belize, Cozumel.

seriousdiver
07-04-2012, 09:41
I keep hearing great things about cozumel, but isn't it getting overcrowded with tourists/divers? I guess it's unavoidable to find a spot with good diving and that isn't super crowded.

Interesting that you say Bahamas isn't a good bang for your buck, what would you recommend as far as finishing a certification?

Blackbeard's cruises seems like a good value for an entire week of diving and flights to the Bahamas are pretty cheap.

scubadiver888
07-04-2012, 10:19
I keep hearing great things about cozumel, but isn't it getting overcrowded with tourists/divers? I guess it's unavoidable to find a spot with good diving and that isn't super crowded.

Interesting that you say Bahamas isn't a good bang for your buck, what would you recommend as far as finishing a certification?

Blackbeard's cruises seems like a good value for an entire week of diving and flights to the Bahamas are pretty cheap.

I found after I got certified in cold water, my buoyancy skills and task loading was far better than it had been after 5 years of diving in the Caribbean. When I went back to the Caribbean to dive I was amazed at how much more I was able to see. The diving became so easy that it left me with more time to look around and see more.

So I usually recommend anyone living up north to give local diving a try as you'll enjoy Caribbean diving so much more.

If local diving is just not for you (and I know some people who think I'm nuts to go from Caribbean to Canada for diving), see if any shops can do your open water in the Caribbean. My shop is a licensed travel agency as well as a dive shop. They do the class and pool work here then arrange trips to the Caribbean. For anyone getting certified the instructor goes down with them and certifies them in the Caribbean. For everyone else it is just a fun dive vacation in the Caribbean.

Maybe some local shop in your area does a similar thing. Other option is do the class and pool at home and have a shop recommend a shop in the Caribbean to finish your certification.

I always recommend the class and pool work at home because you might need a little more time in the pool to master some skills plus doing everything in one week is really rushing it. You'll get better training if you have the entire week to do just the check out dives. I was certified in Jamaica but it took me 2 weeks. The places who do it in 1 week are really cramming things in. There won't be a lot of time for extra information or refining your buoyancy.

Even if you are going down for 2 weeks, the shops down in the Caribbean try to cram everything into 1 week so they can maximize the number of students they have. Most instructors are paid by the number of students they pass. I was lucky to be at a resort where the staff were paid an hourly wage. I actually had 3 instructors helping me.

Maybe pricing is different from Canada. I haven't looked this year but previously it was 25 to 50 percent more expensive to stay in the Bahamas than other places I go.

seriousdiver
07-04-2012, 13:09
Well Blackbeards looks interesting because it's lodging+diving+food for an entire week for <1k.

I'm going to get my classwork/pool done at home and probably do that for my certification.

I am looking at Jamaica as well just because I loved it when I went there for a week last year... even if the diving isn't as good as other places in the Caribbeans it's still probably more enjoyable than a muddy lake.

scubadiver888
07-04-2012, 13:26
This is a good reason to go to Jamaica. If you want to spend time top side and you just want something nicer than Mud Lake, Jamaica is an excellent choice. Personally, I hate when my wife gets back from a day trip and tells me about all the stuff I missed while underwater. I'd be torn if I went to Jamaica.

The Blackbeard trip looks pretty good at less than $1,000.

seriousdiver
07-17-2012, 12:08
So does anyone have any contact information on getting certified in Jamaica?

I'm really leaning towards going back to Jamaica, loved the land-side of vacationing there and I'm actually leaning towards Jamaica more than I am towards the Bahamas..

Thanks.