After the completion of your diving training and subsequently preparing for your first dive, there is a sense of nervousness and excitement. But within minutes of jumping into the ‘deep blue’, that anxiety seems to cease and you are overwhelmed with a sense of tranquility and peace. The idea that you are experiencing a whole new world within our own – a place of undiscovered adventures.
All those who have not attempted to scuba dive cannot even begin to fathom the sheer beauty. But when entering this new world, we are put out of our comfort zone and have to adapt to the new surroundings. As such, scuba divers tend to pick up a few new habits and behaviors. Below we have listed 10 things that change when you start scuba diving and we believe that if you have been diving before, more than a few of them will apply to you!
1. You Use Scuba Diving Hand Signals in Everyday Situations
Due to the fact that verbal communication is nearly impossible when scuba diving, the use of hand signals are imperative for divers’ communication. Especially when starting off and you are paired with a dive buddy, you will often develop hand signals for common communication. So what happens after the dive and you and your buddy head back to the real world? The dynamic completely changes when you are out together. The great thing is, when you are put in a situation where you need get a message across from a distance or in a noisy place, you can communicate via these very hand signals. From being at a concert and wanting to see if your buddy wants some food or a drink to camping in the outback and trying to find wood for a fire these hand signals give a great new avenue for getting a message to each other.
The more experience you acquire with diving, the larger your repertoire of hand signals becomes. In fact, it is not uncommon for divers to use the “hold” sign in their daily life, only to have your dive buddy respond back by giving the same signal. When you can communicate with someone on that level, it leaves them with a smile on their face.
2. You Obsess About the Condition of Your Ears
One of the most important skills you acquire whilst scuba diving is having the ability to equalize your ears. You would be able to tell if a mate is preparing for a dive as he most probably will be pinching his nose and breathing out to check if his ears are working in between each bite whilst out for lunch.
With ear woes being the most common reason for someone to pull out of a dive, is it any wonder why people who regularly go scuba diving are obsessed with the condition of their ears? Anything that could affect them from the external world they will usually be wary of. This can stem from air conditioning being on too high, going out for dinner with a friend that has a cat they are allergic too or even cancelling going to the footy because the mate you are going with has a cold.
3. Dive Gear Begins to Accumulate in the Spare Bedroom
If you have made the ‘dive’ already into becoming a scuba diving fanatic then over time your gear will begin to multiply. Even though you know exactly what equipment you have at home, sometimes the idea of having a different variation or model of the same piece is too good to refuse. When first starting diving it’s all about getting your first kit to call your own, but much like car enthusiasts and fashionistas, modding your scuba set for different types of dives is a part of the fun.
There is a day for most scuba divers in which they go into the room with their scuba stash and realize as they can no longer easily find the item they are looking for!
4. You Become a Conservationist
When you start diving regularly and return to the world below you begin to feel a deep connection to it. Most people who take up scuba diving, even if they have only been exposed to it for a short duration, will begin to respect and want to preserve the environment around them. The longer you dive, the more you learn about the underwater world – it is hard to deny that many of the underwater ecosystems and coral reefs are in real danger.
It is much easier to ignore a problem when you are not physically exposed to it. This means that for many non-divers, they haven’t actually seen a damaged reef or noticed changes to the ecosystem. it is hard to fully comprehend the magnitude and severity of the situation. As such, divers will usually pick up trash on the beach if they walk past it or remove fishing lines and other debris from the reef. Most importantly, scuba divers usually become more vocal about their environmental thoughts to all their friends. Even though it is a real shame that the there is a decline in underwater ecosystems, having divers educate others in a positive and constructive way is a huge plus and wonderful consequence of taking up diving,
5. Your Vacation and Weekend Plans Change
If you do become a serious diver you will notice that quite a lot of your holiday time is dedicated towards the pursuit of diving, so much so that your trips tend to revolve around where your next diving destination will be. I mean, why would you go to Las Vegas for a week when you could go to Hawaii and live in a beach front hut for a fraction of the price? Although there are perils that can come with a diving holiday such as seasickness and food poisoning, these issues are far outweighed by the remote locations and surreal dive destinations that a scuba diving enthusiast searches for.
In fact, for people that fall in love with scuba diving a lot of free time goes to planning and dreaming about these outings. Whilst cars around you are stuck in traffic, you will probably be reminiscing on a previous dive or curiously thinking about where to go for your next dive. Getting drunk on a Friday night and going clubbing becomes a lot less appealing when the prospect of waking up for a sunrise dive is around the corner. This may sound crazy to those that are not scuba diving fanatics, but trust me, it’s true!
6. You Comfortably Discuss Bodily Functions with Strangers
When you are with your scuba diving buddies it is not uncommon to have some funny but somewhat disturbing (for an outsider) conversations about diving issues. Discussing how you go to the bathroom while on a dive or situations where you needed to get rid of pee from your wetsuit underwater may not be your normal coffee conversation but it makes for a great chat as well as a somewhat educational experience.
On the topic of education, divers will very commonly educate themselves by themselves, on the go, and the team they go out diving with overall. Often divers will discuss most physical conditions from ear health to indigestion on a boat prior to a dive, sometimes with divers they have just met.
7. You Become Part of a Diverse Club of (Usually) Like-Minded Individuals
The passion of scuba diving brings people together from completely different backgrounds. As a diver you meet people from all walks of life ranging from different ethnic groups to people employed in a wide variety of career; divers will be exposed to people that they might otherwise have never associated with. It is actually not that uncommon for a retired lawyer to discuss life and share stories with a barista and actually find out they have more of a connection than they would have initially thought. Sometimes these odd pairings can actually lead to fruitful lifelong friendships, on the basis of their strong connection to this singular hobby!
8. Your Retirement Plans Change
If scuba diving does become a lifelong passion, then inevitably your retirement plans will change. That house with the white picket fence and tire swing hanging from the tree sounded like a fantastic retirement plan until you picked up that scuba diving gear. Now, you will be looking to retire with a completely different set of expectations. Being near one of your favorite dive sites or accumulating enough financial resources to allow you to visit dive sites regularly will go into your retirement planning process.
If you absolutely love diving then it would not being surprising to sometimes be thinking of escaping to a tropical island and call it home ‘once and for all’ when you have finished your working career. In fact, you may decide to become a dive instructor yourself and live in paradise for the rest of your days!
9. You Become Annoyed by the Misrepresentations of Diving in the Media
Once you start scuba diving you will definitely see a discrepancy between how the media represents the diving industry and what it is like to actually do underwater scuba diving. Especially in the entertainment industry, you may watch a TV show and at its end, be thinking to yourself: A real trained scuba diver would never do that! Or, sharks don’t actually attack people under water like that!
And if you are watching that movie with a non-diving buddy, you will definitely want to be setting the facts straight! “Why wasn’t his dive buddy with him, it was his first dive?” Your mate will probably turn and around be like “who cares, it’s only a movie”, but to yourself you will be thinking, I care, yes, I care.
10. You Become an Ambassador for the Sport
When you start scuba diving regularly it will become one of the milestone experiences of your life. It becomes ingrained as a part of your identity – as though you yourself become one of the denizens in the underwater world. You will want to tell your friends and the people you meet all about your dives and how they are missing out on one of the greatest experiences on the planet!
Stories of adventures and close calls, unbelievable creatures that you encounter and weirdly beautiful locations and reefs you have seen. You will truly become an ambassador for the sport!