Antigo residents experience scuba diving

ANTIGO, Wis (WSAW)-- Residents of Antigo got a chance to try scuba diving this weekend. Klein Scuba offered a class to introduce people to diving-- starting with the pool. Divers old and young gathered at the Clara R. McKenna Aquatic Center to begin the certification process.

They came to learn the basics, and get a taste of what it's like to dive in a real body of water. Taylor Waidelich, a student in the class, wanted to try diving after snorkeling in the Florida Keys.

"My family elected to do this with me, so we're all just learning together," he said.

Only about one percent of people are certified to scuba dive. And new divers learn quickly why that one percent just can't get enough.

The equipment the divers wear weighs about 50 pounds, but they describe feeling weightless underwater, like floating in outer space. But for many divers, it's a way to explore parts of Earth many never see.

Phil Klein, who owns Klein Scuba and has been diving since the 1970s, said, "We're able to go down the line and see an entire shipwreck-- from stern to bow-- and see things people have never seen before, except when they are floating on the surface."

And for some, it can allow an escape from Wisconsin winters.

"Diving is a good sport to take up to go somewhere warm in the wintertime. So I actually do a fair number of Carribean and tropical waters in the winter months here," said Master Instructor John Waring.

The next step for these divers will be to do an open water dive at Wazee Lake.