Amongst the various activities I’m thoroughly missing, scuba diving ranks very highly. It’s an experience unlike any other, whilst Corfu was a spectacular place to learn. Exhilarating, whilst simultaneously therapeutic, scuba diving is so enjoyable, and one of the first things I hope to revisit once travel restrictions ease.
Learning in Corfu was entirely unique compared to the UK. Diving in perfect visibility and warm water made for a comfortable induction. The island itself is flawlessly beautiful in its own right, and it’s always difficult to choose between these Greek treasures.
That said, I’d love to learn to scuba dive in the UK, which would involve completing a dry suit orientation. Since obtaining my qualification, I have subsequently explored Madagascar, which was utterly stunning.
Different PADI Scuba Qualifications
If you’re looking to get involved with scuba diving for the first time, I’d highly recommend it. If you enjoy swimming, adventure, and wildlife, it’s the perfect combination of providing technical challenges and intense discoveries!
There are several different courses available, alongside multiple certifiers. Personally, my experiences have been with PADI, and have been exclusively positive. Check out their full catalogue, from open water beginners to dive masters, and basic refreshers.
My own journey began with Gatwick Scuba, who offer numerous qualifications with a high degree of professionalism. I initiated my theory education and conducted the first half of the open water section in their pool, to practice the most vital skills and become acquainted with the equipment.
At first glance, the prerequisites for scuba diving safely might be daunting. Most of the information is at least interesting, and intuitive, however, whilst the instructors at Gatwick scuba pride themselves upon leaving all students entirely self-sufficient. Preaching good habits, I can now handle and check all of my own equipment, should it be necessary.
I finished the remainder of my open water course, followed by the advanced open water qualification, in Corfu, with the wonderful Seaworld Diving Centre. This was a remarkable experience, thoroughly enriched by their charismatic and helpful team of instructors.
After qualifying, I was also lucky enough to enjoy the magnificent waters off the Malagasy coastline, and absorb the unforgettable clarity of the divine Nosy Tanikely national park.
You might enjoy:
Last summer, I was lucky enough to explore Madagascar with Frontier, on the small island of Nosy Be. The project primarily involved marine conservation, though I also participated in their forest rejuvenation scheme, all whilst fully immersed in the wonderful environment and culture. Most of my time was spent on a beach camp, the beds… Continue Reading →
Moving forwards, my next target is completing a dry suit orientation, to explore some of the resident UK sites boasting interesting wrecks and rock formations. Beyond that, I’d also love to try cave or ice diving.
Enjoying Corfu, Greece
Superlatives and images hardly do justice to the island’s spectacular beautiful. All Greek islands, Corfu included, are some of the best Mediterranean gems on offer. Non-divers have plenty to enjoy, ensconced in dream-like relaxation on impeccably white beaches, tenderly caressed by warm and soothing waves.
With almost guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the sparkling seas erupt in glistening blues and emeralds, as boats float upon crystal clear waters.
These outposts of paradise have persevered, remaining stunningly attractive.
Scuba diving in Corfu
Scuba diving is an unparalleled experience, and I can’t wait to plunge beneath the waves once more.
Conditions were generally very warm, with near-flawless visibility. Surface temperatures were normally mid-30s, whilst the water, except beyond 10m, were high-20s. When practising in Corfu, I used a borrowed 5mm long wet suit, which was a relief since at roughly 30m the temperature dropped to around 14 degrees.
Visibility was deceptively brilliant. We had somewhere between 30 and 50m, but there were often few vantage points to accurately gauge it. When training, this can be good and bad – it was distinctly more comforting, but could potentially ingrain detrimental habits, since it discouraged sticking closely together.
My advanced qualification included passing several courses – underwater navigation, buoyancy control, deep diving, wreck diving, and wildlife appreciation.
The latter involved concluding a theory test on appropriately interacting with different species (which is to say, the general rule is don’t). Under the supervision of my instructor, I was permitted to engage in a limited capacity.
Sadly, the Mediterranean is the most over-fished sea globally, with 62% of fish stocks dangerously close to total depletion. Populations are not so plentiful as in previous decades, though what remains is worth appreciating.
My most enjoyable dives were the deep and wreck exploration. Since I was attempting an advanced qualification, when escorted by an instructor I could dive up to 30m below the surface. Any further is perilous for all but master and technical divers, since the risks of oxygen narcosis increase, leading to potential delirium. Additionally, available air is exhausted much more rapidly under such high pressures.
The sheer isolation, the icy calm, the all-consuming silence, is worth the descent. For several moments, a deep, opaque blue was the entire world, until we stumbled upon a haunting shadow of former endeavours. A sunken wreck, approaching the diving limit at 28m deep.
Inside, visible through the former portholes, a large shoal of fish was resting.
Interestingly, I believe the improvements to my own diving skills are visible in these photos through comparing my body alignment. By becoming more lateral, it improves both swimming efficiency and direction.
Would I recommend scuba diving?
Perhaps my answer is already obvious: yes. I absolutely love scuba diving and can think of few things better. I’m so fortunate to have already explored the hidden worlds of Corfu and Tanikely reef.
There’s an unmatched tranquillity to diving, combined with the cerebral thrill of venturing close to the limits of human endurance. The potential dangers involved with scuba diving must be respected, but they are compensated for by the incredible experience delivered.
If you’re based around London and interested in getting involved at any level, Gatwick Scuba are a fantastic company. For anyone hoping to visit the Greek islands (specifically Corfu) and desiring to incorporate diving into your trip, the Seaworld diving centre is brilliant – all underwater photos are courtesy of their generously capturing them!
Thanks for reading! This was an incredibly enjoyable trip, leaving me desperate both to scuba dive and visit Corfu again. I regularly post other travel posts, alongside short stories and social commentaries, so explore more!
Enjoying my tales? Please consider donating! Literally anything will let me call myself a professional blogger…
Support Tom’s Tales of Woe!
Whilst you’re here, why not check out the latest posts?
As 2021 draws to a close, we have plenty to be thankful for. Simultaneously, much is alarming. Far from escaping the clutches of COVID-19, that particular virus seems poised to strike viciously against an apathetic population. Migrant crises are exploding on the Polish border and across the English channel. Climate breakdown is unrepentant, as are… Continue Reading →
If anyone missed it, the diplomatic pantomime of Cop26 has unfolded over this past fortnight. Well, I’ve been somewhat distracted, so a few weeks ago now. Proceedings were ushered in under the shadow of the UN’s latest IPCC report declaring a “code red for humanity. And, well, “We showed up” said Joe Biden, criticising China… Continue Reading →
This is not a climate change blog. It’s a website dedicated to discussing any issue that catches my attention, whilst also providing an outlet to share travel and short stories. For all my complaining, it’s fun. But I have noticed these past few updates rather obsessing over the climate change topic. Part of that has… Continue Reading →