I was first open-water certified for SCUBA back in 2004 at Lake Ouachita, Arkansas while attending summer camp nearby, and subsequently did some dives off Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. After a 12 year hiatus and a looming trip to the French Polynesian islands, I decided to get advanced open-water certified as a refresher. Trips to Catalina Islands off Long Beach, CA have followed as well.