Padi Open water – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Padi Open Water – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios, Jamaica I needed a short vacation in summertime 2010, so I went out tot the travel agent for something a bit different and not too expensive. They came up with the brilliant idea for Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A small place in the north on this beautiful island. Tourism wasn’t very much in that time of year in that little place, so I booked some excursions and did some little trips on my own. Till I discovered the little shed on the beach, named Garfield Diving Station, what had scuba courses and more.

I thought it would be a nice idea to finally get my official divers license. I already had done many scuba dives with friends, but never did an official course. It was affordable and the equipment looked very decent to me, so I took the chance.

The dive instructor Christopher was a very nice and helpful person, so I had something nice to do for a few days.

He gave me the book that afternoon, so I could start study and answer the questions in the first few chapters that evening. The next day we first started in the bay, in shallow water.

Soon he saw I could do more and easier than the average beginner, so we did the rest of the exorcises in deeper water, where the view is much nicer than in the sandy bay. Especially the Ocho Rios wall is a very nice dive site. Much better than you would expect when you only had done some snorkeling in the bay before. Also the ship wreck and Jacks Hall are absolutely worth to go see.

Not only the course was absolutely worth the money and effort. The dives were absolutely beautiful.

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The PADI Open Water diver course is the world’s most popular scuba diving training course, giving you a license to scuba dive anywhere in the world.

Every year, over half a million people worldwide have got their PADI, with training conducted at thousands of dive sites around the world.

PADI Open Water Diver Course Schedule

The PADI Open Water diver course schedule is flexible and we can adapt the itinerary to fit around your personal travel plans. The standard PADI Open Water courses schedule is as follows:

Day 1: Start: Orientation Afternoon: Knowledge Development (theory)

Day 2: Morning: Confined Water Training Afternoon: Confined Water Training Swim Test

Day 3: Morning: Knowledge Development & Final Exam Afternoon: Open Water Training dives 1 & 2

Day 4: Open Water Training dives 3 & 4

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Dive site: Ocho Rios

Location: Jamaica

Type of dive: Wall, wrack, reef

Maximum depth: 40 m

Level: beginner to advanced in case of current

Water temperature: 27 – 29° C

When to go: You can dive here year-round, but the best time is from December to April, with top conditions in February and March. In May, June, September and November there’s some more rain than average , so the visibility can be a little less than perfect.

Ocho Risos, Jamaica
Dive Sites in and around Ocho Rios

Jacks Hall

This medium-profile reef has finger coral, brain coral, star coral, an occasional elkhorn coral on the shallower end, and a variety of sponges. Drifting with the current you pass over a section of reef, followed by a sand chute, another reef section and another sand gully and so on. Nurse sharks frequent the area and can often be found napping in the sand. Avg. Depth: ~30-50 ft. (9-15 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 50 ft. Distance From Shore: ~20 mins

Top of the Mountain

Near Dunn’s River Falls, a massive underwater mountain plateau rises up from the sandy ocean floor to 60 ft below the surface. The top of the reef is covered with many different species of soft gorgonians and small coral heads, consisting of sea rods, sea plumes, sea fans, brain coral, star coral, and clusters of smooth flower coral. Look out for golden hamlets that frequent this area and the rare yellowcheck wrasse. Hiding in the coral heads are glasseye snappers, graysbys, and squirrelfish. Avg. Depth: ~60-80 ft. (18-24 m) Skill Level: Intermediate Max Dive Depth: 80 ft. Distance From Shore: ~15 mins

Sandals Reef

Staghorn coral, star coral, brain coral, sea fans and many more coral fish. Mountainous coral extending up to 10-15 ft. Avg. Depth: ~30 ft. (9 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 40 ft. Distance From Shore: ~3 mins

Maffessanti Reef

Close to Sandals resort. This is a flat reef system and a shallow dive for beginners. You will also find Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans. Avg. Depth: ~40 ft. (12 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 40 ft. Distance From Shore: ~3 mins

Fish Reef

Just less than 5 minutes from the Sandals resort. Some things you might see are Green Moray Eel, Eagle Ray, Puffer Fish (Porcupine Fish), Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans. Avg. Depth: ~50 ft. (15 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 60 ft. Distance From Shore: ~3 mins

Middle Reef

This is another flat reef just 5 minutes from the Sandals resort. Some things you might see are Scorpion Fish, Sting Ray, Lobster, Eagle Ray, Star Fish, Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans. Avg. Depth: ~50 ft. (15 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 50 ft. Distance From Shore: ~5 mins

Middle East

Just 3 minutes from the Sandals resort in Ocho Rios and this reef is filled with Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans. Avg. Depth: ~40 ft. (12 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 40 ft. Distance From Shore: ~3 mins

Ocho hammer

Ship Wreck (The Catherine or The Kathryn-Caverns)

Just 10 minutes from Ocho Rios this is an old minesweeper, which was sunk in 50 ft. of water some time in the 1980s along a cavernous reef system. The ship is approximately 120 ft. in length. From the surface to the upper most part of the ship, it is 20 ft. Filled with Barrel Sponges and Sea Fans. Some things you might see: Sting Ray, Sergeant Major, Flaming Scallop, Nurse Shark, Caverns, Lobster, Eel, Sea Snake, Hamlets, Snapper. Avg. Depth: ~50 ft. (15 m) Skill Level: Novice Max Dive Depth: 50 ft. Distance From Shore: ~10 mins

Ocho wreck 2

Ocho Rios Wall

A wall dive in nature. Boasts a variety of corals and marine life. However, due to the presence of fresh water in the vicinity, there are a number of seaports in this area. Snappers, butterfish, etc along an occasional sea horse are a small amount of the different varieties found here. Other things to see: eels, turtles, sea fans, barrel sponges and gorgonians. Avg. Depth: ~80 ft. (24 m) Skill Level: Advanced Max Dive Depth: 100+ ft. Distance From Shore: ~5 mins

Barracuda Reef

Things to See: barracudas, eels, nurse sharks, snappers, lobsters, crabs, barrel sponges, sea fans. Avg. Depth: ~60 ft. (18 m) Skill Level: Advanced Max Dive Depth: 100+ ft. Distance From Shore: ~10 mins

Jamaica Wall

A French-like reef at 60 ft. Things to See: Atlantic spade fish, chubs, turtles, sharks, barrel sponges, sea fans, gorgonians. Avg. Depth: ~60 ft. (18 m) Skill Level: Advanced Max Dive Depth: 100+ ft. Distance From Shore: ~10 mins

Dickies Reef

This reef is relatively flat, however it tapers off very gently down to 60 ft. Things to See: barracuda, lionfish, sting rays, crabs, lobsters, parrotfish, butterfly fish, chromis, damsels, barrel sponges, sea fans. Good for night dives. Avg. Depth: ~40 ft. (12 m) Skill Level: Advanced Max Dive Depth: 80 ft. Distance From Shore: ~5 mins

Dunn

Just 10 minutes in front of Dunn s River. And you’ll find Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans and Gorgonians. Avg. Depth: ~70 ft. (21 m) Skill Level: Advanced Max Dive Depth: 100 ft. Distance From Shore: ~10 mins

Devils Reef

Just 3 minutes from the resort. Some things to see are Turtles, Atlantic Spades, Eels, Jacks, Nurse Sharks. Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans and Gorgonians. Avg. Depth: ~90+ ft. (27 m) Skill Level: Master Max Dive Depth: 100+ ft. Distance From Shore: ~5 mins

Dunn’s Deep

A more advanced portion of the Dunns dive. This one is about 10 minutes in front of Dunn’s River filled with Barrel Sponges, Sea Fans and Gorgonians. Deep dive, over 100 ft. Avg. Depth: ~100 ft. (30 m) Skill Level: Master Max Dive Depth: 100+ ft. Distance From Shore: ~10 mins

Ocho coral

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MicDiver©

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