PADI Open Water Course @ Big Bubble Dive
The PADI Open Water Course (OWC) is one of the foundation qualifications of scuba diving. It’s an internationally recognised course that allows you to be identified as a certified scuba diver.
Before my time in Asia I’d never been scuba diving. I decided that I wanted to do something different and boy was it one of the best decisions I’ve made while backpacking.
The original plan was to complete the OWC in Koh Tao Thailand. This is famous for being the cheapest place in the world to complete your OWC. Unfortunately we hadn’t planned a long enough duration in Koh Tao to complete the 3 days the OWC requires.
Instead I researched into completing the OWC in Bali Indonesia which continently is another very cheap place to complete the OWC.
Through research online I found Big Bubble Dive on the island of Gili T, just of the coast of Bali. The island is notorious for buzzing nightlife and also the most diverse and well preserved diving sites in Asia.
I contacted Big Bubble in advance expressing my interest and letting them know which day I would like to begin. By communicating online with the dive shop before they as a promotion allowed me to have an extra free dive at the end of my OWC.
My instructor (Connor) over the 3 days took me through the theory, pool and ocean skills. I have to say the dive instructors were really friendly and very skilled scuba divers, all being Divemaster qualified or above.
In total I went on 5 dives over 3 days, seeing over 100 species of fish and witnessing beautiful natural and artificial coral environments.
The cost of the course was 5.9m IDR which works out roughly at £340 GBP.
Once completing the OWC you are added to the PADI network and this allows you to go on deeper and more advanced dives in other locations for cheapest than a non qualified diver.
So far in the trip I have used my OWC qualification and have dived in the Philippines. The cost of one dive being just £20 GBP.
I would highly recommend obtaining your OWC PADI qualification whilst travelling Asia, as it’s the best value in the world and it gives you an entirely different perspective to each location you visit.