It's a fairly basic principle of self-preservation: Don't jump into deep water with heavy weights strapped to your body.
And yet, there I was, preparing to jump off the back of a dive boat into the Caribbean off the coast of Roatan, Honduras, staggering under the weight of a heavy tank attached to my back. Of course, that heavy tank was filled with oxygen, attached to a regulator in my mouth, and I was wearing a buoyancy vest that would pop me right up to the surface. Still, at that particular moment, the whole let's-try-scuba-diving project, from jumping off that boat, to pulling myself down a rope 40 feet below the surface to encounter who-knows-what living under there -- well, it just seemed the height of insanity.
And it was insane -- as in insanely fun. After a few moments of descent, I found myself kneeling on the white sand 40 feet below the surface. Accompanied at all times by a dive instructor, I pushed off into what seemed just like an aquarium, and was soon hovering above coral reef, swimming among schools of bright fish, and over a cliff of coral canyon, all through the water that was the bluest blue I had ever seen. It was like flying in slow motion. When I surfaced from my "discover scuba" experience after an hour, I knew I wanted to do it again.Of course, I'm not alone. About 500,000 people get their scuba certification each year through the major certification body called PADI, and more receive certification through other scuba organizations. If scuba diving has always been on your to-do list, this is a great time to check it off: Many dive destinations offer great deals on dive packages through December.