Making the decision to do something out of your comfort zone, especially something that can kill you, should never be taken lightly. If there was ever a reminder of that for me, it will be this past weekend, and my quest for my Advanced Open Water Diving Certification with PADI.
Last year I decided to take the first courses to get certified as an Open Water Diver, for recreation. My “pool work” was done in Eugene Oregon with Eugene Skin Divers, and my Open Water 5 dives were done off the coast of Kona Hawaii. Smart move on my part. After completing and passing my certification, I found that I had gotten bitten by the bug, I was hooked, and wanted more.
This year while planning a three week vacation this August in Belize, a major dive capitol in the world, I examined my dive choices there. With awesome night dives, and of course the Blue Hole Dive, some 140-150 feet, I decided maybe I should take the next level course, Advanced Open Water. There I went, off to my computer, studying and taking exams, learning everything about deep dives, night dives, search and recovery, navigation, all cool stuff. Then it was time to do the actual diving under those situations, with underwater tests and tasks.
The problem lies in the fact that I had decided to do this here in Oregon, so it was completed, and I would be ready to dive any dive in Belize. That meant doing my 5 advanced challenging dives, in the cold waters of the Puget Sound, Washington. Not only was it cold water, but I would have to wear all that gear, including two heavy wetsuits, hood, gloves, boots, etc, and not just my bathing suit like in Hawaii.
Can you hear the echo “stupid” in the room?
The first couple dive adventures with tasks were challenging, difficult, but I found myself pushing thru. The third dive was going to be the night dive, at 10 PM, and was the dive I most didn’t look forward to. Diving at depth, at night, in current is a challenge, especially when not in tropical waters where you can actually see something. WTF was I going to see in the Puget Sound at night.
Getting geared up and cautiously walking down the ramp in the dark, to get into the cold water got my heart pumping for sure. Then we were in and gliding down to about 50 feet, and along the way, with our intense beamed flashlights, we saw a rainbow of colored aquatic growth, starfish, octopus, and giant grouper fish. I believe because of the fact that I was concentrating only on that small beam of light and nothing else, it quickly showed me why divers love night diving. Things happen during the night that just don’t during the day. I have to admit that I am now hooked on night diving, and already signed up for a Belize night dive with sharks. More about that later, if I survive.
One of the final tasks for deep diving certification, was the Sunday morning dive to a underwater platform 100 feet down, where we would spend ten minutes examining how things change in that pressure. Things like how color changes, rubber balls shrink, and plastic bottles can expand and explode, like our lungs if we don’t equalize pressure correctly. I wasn’t to worried about going to that depth, however, something you must be concerned with is keeping your buoyancy correct. If you add to much air in your suit, you can have an uncontrollable assent to the surface without a safety stop. At this stop 20 feet from the surface, you give the build up of nitrogen time to dissipate. If you don’t do this, or blow past the stop,
You can die.
I completed the deep dive and after doing it I realized one thing for sure. Unless there is something I really, really want to see that’s at 130 feet (my new PADI limit), I will be truly happy to dive as a pleasure, recreation diver up to say 60-80 feet down. There’s lot’s to see down there in that range, without putting my life at risk, and lots out there to see and do.
So my thoughts for you are go out and see and experience new and exciting things. Challenge yourself to things you never thought you would ever do. But, keep one thing in mind,
We are here to live..