I’ve recently enrolled in a SCUBA certification course. Last night, I finished my pool skills and took my final written exam. The next thing to do is an ocean dive, which is something I’ll do in the next few weeks before the water gets too cold. (Don’t worry, I’ll have a wet suit and my instructor has been doing this for over 20 years so he won’t allow me to do anything dangerous.)

The logical question is why have I thrown down $500 for a SCUBA certification (and eventually a few hundred dollars in equipment) when I don’t even have a boat?

My instructor in action!

I have friends who do dive.
In an effort to get more integrated in Bar Harbor life, I thought the scuba crowd would be a fun social group to fall into. Diver Ed leads up the fun and the other divers are interesting, outdoorsy people that I’d hang out with out of the water anyway.

The certification is good for life.
Other than an occasional pool refresher (just getting in the water and testing my skills, which is free), I will soon have my PADI certification which is recognized worldwide. If I go on vacation somewhere and want to dive, I’ll be able to without going through the course again.

It’s good exercise and gets me outside.
Swimming around underwater for an hour looking at, say, a shipwreck is a little more interesting than running on the treadmill at the Y while listening to Shakira. (No offense to Shakira!)

It is getting me in the water again.
I used to love being in the water. Then my dad drowned and I didn’t swim for a year. I started pool swimming last winter, lake swimming this summer…being able to get underwater in the ocean is the next step for me getting almost as comfortable as I used to be.

I may eventually make money at it.
Whether it’s maintaining a boat mooring or something else, people apparently pay SCUBA divers to do things. Not something I plan on pursuing at the moment but it’s nice there’s an option there of the hobby being profitable.

So while a little impractical, I’m excited about my certification.

What about you? Have you ever taken a class or done some other professional development that seemed unrelated to your life but was really rewarding to you?