I desperately want to get my scuba certification! Any ideas whether it would be more cost efficient for me to get certified in FL or should I wait until I get to the islands?
I think it is better here. A lot of shops on STX have really small classes (many times one-on-one) and a more personalized experience. In Florida, you'll probably be in a class with several other people (which, IMO, is not as great). Maybe do your book-work online (padi.com), and then do the dives down here. Also, some shops here don't even use a pool for training--the confined water training is done in the flat shallow water next to shore (much better than nasty chlorine pool, and better for learning saltwater bouyancy).
Since you are moving not visiting I would suggest doing it all on island.
I would also suggest either Jenny at N2Blue, Mel ( a lady ) at Sweet Bottoms, or Beth at Cane Bay. Don't settle for anyone else.
I have worked with all three and they are all very good.
N2Blue does not have a pool so everything is done by the pier. However the West end is usually the calmest.
Sweet Bottoms i think(?) uses the pool at Carmabola where their shop is, but they may sometimes go to Cane Bay beach if it too rough at their beach. (?)
Cane Bay Dive Shop has a pool on site.
You can do your PADI open water and advanced open water couse online in one week. Do the confined water dives and open water training dives in a few days. You can bang those out before you arrive in th VI. Then if you want to advance to rescue diver and beyond and you're living there you can take your time. GL
I did the on-line course before moving to STX. When I got to STX, Jon Kieren at SCUBA took me through Confined Water, Open Water, and Advanced Open Water. Later Jon helped me with a number of specialty certifications. Jon and SCUBA have my highest recommendation. http://www.stcroixscuba.com/about/our-staff/
Edward in Georgia (Republic)