In only a couple of weeks life as a dive instructor will have me back. I will be working in the Comoros, between Mozambique and Madagaskar. A new level of remoteness for me. Needless to say I am super excited to get back into the water!
This might surprise you, but this has not always been that way. Actually, diving wasn’t of particular interest to me in the beginning. I always liked all kinds of different activities, noteably the ones that involved adrenaline (or at least a rather fast pace). As much as I appreciated and loved the underwater documentaries, diving itself always appeared boring to me and besides: I was sure passing a licence was gonna be around 20000 Dollars and would take three months. Little did I know it was so easy…
My first ten dives or so didn’t go too well. At first, I wasn’t sure why and I couldn’t really point my finger at it. Quite frankly, I had no idea what I was doing or what was going on underwater. In retrospect, I know exactly what it was that caused my problems and discomfort: I was simply lacking good gear. And of course the experience to realize this.
Why having your own gear is a game changer
Had I known how crucial it was to have my own mask, I could have avoided the countless times I had to purge my mask underwater or had a fogged vision. Let’s be honest: pretty much everything sucks if you can’t see properly. This item is by far the most important part in regards to how much you will enjoy your dive. And I kept getting the shitty ones, who had been in constant service for years and would have never fitted my face in the first place, even new. I just assumed this was normal.
I could have avoided freezing. I was shaking on a regular basis. I simply could have bought a hooded vest or at least ask for better exposure protection, but I thought being cold is just kind of part of it. And everyone else seemed okay with the temperatures. I had no clue about the different thicknesses of wetsuits.
I could have avoided getting cramps, due to tight fins. My feet are just weirdly shaped I guess, but they also never had the right sizes.
In short; Having my own gear (especially the ABC, so the basics) changed everything for me, instantly.
Once I felt comfortable, focussing on my buoyancy was so much easier and immediately affected my experience for the better. All of a sudden, this indescribable world opened up in front of me. How could I have not been captivated by it sooner? Fuck, why did I start diving so late in the first place?
Why we love diving
Everybody I know who dives, dives for a different reason. For some of us, it is simply about the quiet and peace below. Meditation. To escape from the busy life and loud noise that surrounds us in our daily routine. Underwater, the only thing we hear is our breathing. Or the occasional tank banger who tries to catch our attention…
Many of us dive for the lack of gravitational pull we experience underwater. The three dimensions we can finally move towards too. We truely are in zero gravity down there (when our buoyancy is right) and as close as we possibly can to being in space. Even better: we don’t have to be good at maths or superheroes to get there. Even just beeing on the boat, meeting likeminded people or just watching the waves and patterns is for some people reason enough to enjoy diving.
Most of us agree, that the sea life in all its colours, form and splendour is making diving what is is. Big animals like dolphins and sharks attract some, macro life such as shells, slugs and seastars others. Some appreciate the absolute weirdness and mind buffeling structures of the corals and their surreal colours, for some it’s just about the textures and topography. Even the best efforts of Photographers and Videographers worldwide can not transport the bizarreness down there, or the feeling of gliding through this element (well, molecule. But that sounds less sexy).
The landscapes can change as drastically as on main land, and every dive it appears we are exploring some untouched scapes on a foreign planet.
We know way too little about this place and its inhabitants. Every dive we start raising more questions, often questions we didn’t know we had. About our origins, how we got to where we are, and how it so happens that we are slowly but surely destroying this magnificent womb, that was kind enough to spawn us into existence in the first place.
It is at this level under the sea, where all the escapists, naturalists, explorers, adventurers, philosophers and idealists meet. And they all speak the same language. If they need to speak at all…