Diving in Sri Lanka — from discovery dives to advanced diving certification

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Being able to breathe underwater, hang around with turtles, rays, beautiful coral and having the time of your life! All of this is possible if you master the technique of scuba diving. It’s not hard, it’s not scary, but it will literally take your breath away. Read on as Daniel tells you about his personal experience with diving and how you can become a divemaster too.

About Daniel & Diving in Sri Lanka

I remember my first dive in Dahab, Egypt. I was a bit nervous, just like everyone else at the start. But once underwater I fell in love, I had such an amazing experience that I decided I would like to become a dive instructor one day. Only 9 years later I started my dream job and I have been working as a dive instructor for 5 years already (Thailand/ Indonesia and Australia). Think about it, the world exists for 71% of water and only 29% of land. So imagine how much you miss out on if you don’t dive!

I came to Sri Lanka for kitesurfing, but once here I found out there is also a lot of diving opportunities! I immediately booked a trip with #1 dive school in Kalpitiya Diving Center. It’s owned by Samith (Sam) and his family. His father brought diving to Sri Lanka in the 70’s and it feelt like diving with royalty! The tour started in the morning with tea and a thorough briefing while the staff organized our gear. The reef is only 30 minutes away from the shore, but first we stopped by the customs check to pay a small national park fee — make sure you have a bit of cash (1500 LKR per person). The boatmen are excellent handlers so it’s a comfortable ride. Water and snacks are provided at surface intervals.

The diving was great, I didn’t expect much, especially because I already have around a 1000 dives and have seen most of the marina life out there. But wow! I have seen more octopuses in one dive here than in my whole diving career. The diving is pretty shallow (12-15m) so our dive times were 60 and 71 minutes which is great. We also saw a lot of big moray eels, a massive mangrove whip ray and loads of other cool stuff. On the way back, a pod of dolphins joined our boat and played in the wake, what an incredible experience that was!

Once back on land, Sam invited us to have lunch and a laugh with his family, he also showed us some of his Dad’s diving history. We had the most amazing day and I cannot recommend Sam and KDC enough. A really lovely all-round experience!

Diving 101

There are a few things you should know before you submerge yourself into the deep blue;

 

What is scuba diving?

It is literally the best feeling in the world! Diving allows you to breathe and move freely underwater. SCUBA means Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. This means that you can stay underwater for longer without having to surface for air. Diving has been around for a long time and advancements have been made along the way to make diving the popular recreational sport that it is today. You’re underwater, but still breathing, floating around, feeling weightless, while checking out the beauty of the underwater world. This feeling is exactly why I love diving so much. For me, it’s the closest feeling to being in space.

What do I need to go diving?

A smile, a good sense of humour and a fascination about the underwater world. We dive with a special gear set that includes a wetsuit, mask, fins, regulators, BCD and a weight belt. But you don’t have to worry about that, this is all provided by the dive school and you’ll learn how to use all that gear with them.

Is diving safe?

Diving is super safe. It is actually one of the safest extreme sports that exist. The reason for this is that everyone dives with a buddy, in the so-called buddy teams. Every buddy, including yourself, has a backup air system. Even if your backup fails, you always have your buddy’s backup system to rely on to make your way back to the surface.

 

 

How do I learn how to dive?

There are a few levels in diving. The more courses you do, the more interesting it becomes!

 

Discover scuba diving

This is like a try dive. You go 1 on 1 with an instructor for a dive down to a maximum of 12 meters. There is no previous diving experience needed, this is purely to meet the beauty of the ocean and to see if diving is for you. There is only a little bit of theory involved to prepare you for your adventure. This will not give you a diving license, but it is an amazing experience and it will give you a good taste for what diving really is!

PADI Open Water

Do you want to take things to the next level? Then this is the first level of certified diving.

At the end of the PADI Open Water course, you will be a knowledgeable and safe diver. You will be certified to buy or rent dive gear and you’ll able to dive with a buddy down to 18 meters. This course takes about 3 days and it is divided into three parts: theory, pool, and 4 open water dives.

Advanced open water

Most of people continue with this course after their Open Water certification. To become an advanced diver you get to experience 5 more “speciality dives”. Each dive has a different mission: night diving, wreck diving, deep diving etc. This course will get you down to 30 meters and you will learn how to navigate underwater.  After this course, you can call yourself an advanced open water diver!

I would highly recommend booking your next dive trip to Kalpitiya. Especially in the winter season (November until May) because it’s the best season to go diving here and you get the highest chance of seeing whales and dolphins!

Happy bubbles!