My husband and I got our Open Water Scuba Diving Certification last year. We did our 4 certification dives in Key Largo, FL and have also done dives in Cancun. So, we are still total newbies. We missed our opportunity to go diving in Key West earlier this year so I was even more excited to get back in the water in the Dominican Republic. Scuba Diving in Punta Cana was an experience – some of it good, some of it bad and some of it just plain annoying.
In the Dominican Republic, we stayed at the Iberostar Punta Cana which happened to have a dive shop on the property. Score one for convenience! Because of this I didn’t actually research dive shops – I just went with the one that was there, Dressel Divers.
We booked and paid ahead of time, but still had to fill out paperwork once we arrived. Everyone was very friendly and bi-lingual. I heard numerous languages happening and thankfully they all spoke English (still haven’t mastered Spanish yet!)
We booked 2 dives on 2 separate days. Each dive was only a one tank dive with a 5 minute boat ride out to the site. This was a first for me (I’ve only done 2 tank dives). While I enjoyed that it didn’t take up my whole day, I guess I would rather do a second dive once I am all geared up.
The dive guides were great. We especially loved our first guide (I was in vacation mode so I have totally forgotten names!). She was from South Africa and Scotland I believe, and she was just great – friendly, helpful and chill.
The dive on the first day was a reef dive. There weren’t a ton of fish but the coral formations were beautiful. We had a great dive and had fun playing around with our new underwater camera!
My dive on the second day sucked. It was one of those dives where you are just counting down the minutes till you get to go get back on the boat. It’s too bad because this was my first wreck dive and I was really looking forward to it.
I had lots of newbie technical difficulties, which made the dive totally un-enjoyable. But, I guess that happens sometimes (or maybe it’s just me?)
My first problem was equalizing my ears. For some reason it just wasn’t happening the way it usually does. As anyone who has ever done a dive, this is a huge deal. I was able to get them equalized well enough to do the dive but they were never quite right. Then, almost immediately, my mask fogged up – CRAAAAAP! I could see out of a few small little spots, but I couldn’t really enjoy anything I was seeing. THIS TOTALLY SUCKS. On top of all of that, I still haven’t mastered buoyancy yet. I always feel like I am either fighting to stay down.
So, this was all diver error – nothing against the dive shop.
As I mentioned, I was in vacation mode on this trip so I don’t remember names. There was a photographer that came on each dive to document it (to of course sell you photos and videos). Fine, I get they are running a business. Our second dive consisted of the instructor, a new instructor along to observe, a photographer, us and one other diver. We brought our own camera and so did the other diver. This should have been a clue to the dive shop photographer to just ease off and enjoy the damn dive.
But, no. This guy was the most obnoxious human with a camera that I have come across in a long time. Every time I turned around he was in my face. EVERY. TIME. He came up under me, he hovered over me and he showed up next to me. Unfortunately there is not a scuba diver sign for “Get the fuck out of my face”. Sigh
It didn’t help that this all happened on my bad dive, but I confirmed I wasn’t over reacting when my husband and I compared notes and he came up with the same conclusion about this guy.
Dressel Divers, if you happen to read this…tell your photographers to back off a little – especially when someone has their own camera!
I’ll Keep On Going
So, while my experience scuba diving in Punta Cana didn’t go exactly as planned, I will dive again. I really enjoy the experience of “floating” underwater. I love the peace that’s down there. I just need to get more comfortable with the technical aspects, but that will come with more training and more diving. I would also not hesitate to dive with Dressel again, despite the cameraman from underwater hell.
What are some of your favorite spots to dive in? We could use some ideas!! Happy Diving!
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