Posted by jon on January 16, 2002 at 12:32:30:
In Reply to: Want a major change!! posted by Dave on January 16, 2002 at 10:26:49:
What part of the UK are you in? I grew up in Wiltshire and, like you, wanted to dive ever since I was a kid. I moved to California in 1986 and started diving in 1994. It's been a wonderfully rewarding experience. I dive every chance I can (about once a week, usually) and love every second underwater.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to follow your passion, where ever it leads.
First, you need to get certified to dive (obviously). British Sub-Aqua Club is known around the world as one of the best training agencies anywhere so you can't go wrong with them. PADI is bigger (on a world wide level) and more "user friendly" but the training isn't nearly as complete.
Once you've got your certification, you can start studying marine biology in a formal academic program, as Neil suggests. Alternatively, you can become an amateur naturalist, and study marine wildlife on your own. A third way to go (perhaps the most expensive) is to get into underwater photography. This will give you an amazing appreciation for flora and fauna, as well as animal behavior.
Let me know if you have any questions and please look me up if you're ever in Southern California. I'd be glad to show you around above and below water.
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