Before diving into the school's practice pool, divers learn the basics of breathing through a regulator, clearing water from a mask, and adjusting the pressure buildup during descents. After that, swimmers will become underwater explorers. Learn to dive under the watchful supervision of an experienced, PADI-certified instructor. Craig Gillespie is a pro diver with webbed feet for toes and gills for eyes. He has logged more than 30 years of dives, during which time tens of thousands of would-be flounders were taught the ways of scuba diving.
Craig Willemsen wears a lot of hats at Silent World Diving Systems. The instructor certifier, tech instructor, and store owner has spent the last 40 years swimming with schools of fish all over the world. After his first trip in 1972, Craig developed a passion for diving, exploring international waters and teaching others advanced techniques that they use to follow in his flippersteps. With more than 6,000 dives under his belt, his dedication to diving and education has earned him one of the highest SSI instructor ratings and the SSI Platinum Pro 5,000 Diver and Instructor Award.
Craig leads Silent World's team of certified instructors who strive to teach students the art of underwater exploration and also broaden their knowledge on a variety of related subjects. At any given moment, they may be leading students in open-water dives, pointing out local diving sites that match their skill levels, or matching newcomers with the right gear and Zodiac-themed wetsuits.
To learn about the wildlife of Puget Sound, you could go to your local library or pour through pictures online. Or you could see it up close during a trip with Exotic Aquatics Scuba and Kayaking. True to their company's name, the staff immerses adventurers in the scenic locale through SCUBA dives and kayak tours. While divers submerge themselves in dreamlike sites to look for octopi and rock fish, kayakers paddle across Eagle Harbor in search of otters and seabirds.
At the PADI-certified Bubbles Below center, instructors help to illuminate the art of breathing under water for divers of all skill levels. Beginners can drop in for discover scuba lessons, which familiarize students with the fundamentals of safe diving. Certification programs prep more experienced practitioners for unassisted open-water plunges, and local dives invite advanced explorers to stop by, strap on some flippers, and get some practice for their next underwater board meeting.
Designed for ages 12 and up, the intro to scuba class swims students through the basics of scuba diving during an hour of classroom time, then plunges fins first into the pool for two hours of guided practice. The center's certified trainers, who are collectively responsible for A-2-Z's dive center's five-star rating from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, watch over all submerged lessons in breathing, swimming, and mastering the art of buoyancy. Classes are kept to a max of 4–6 students, granting all learners the mask-to-mask time needed to develop their underwater confidence and to neatly avoid accidental mergers into the human hive mind.
Outer Island Expeditions' fleet of kayaks and boats safely cruises at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour through frothy crests ebbing amid the striking sights and wildlife of the San Juan islands. Venturing as far as 50 miles into Canadian waters, whale-watching excursions foster personal rapport between patrons and boat-side orcas, gray whales, or humpback whales trying to learn human etiquette for future espionage missions. Tours of Stuart Island's Turn Point lighthouse begin aboard a 22-foot Kodiak skiff, which buoys patrons through 16 miles of waters inhabited by sea lions and porpoises before they disembark and hike to the lighthouse's historical museum. Fishing charters set sail in search of ocean creatures and potable salt water from all of Outer Island Expeditions' four launch points: Smuggler's Villa Resort, Semiahmoo Resort, Lopez Island, and The Willows on Lummi Island.