Scuba Diving 101

January 2, 2010
Peace, silence, tranquility. It is often said that being one with nature is a life altering experience but finding opportunities to become one with nature are so rare. As a senior in high school, my parents would never let me hike the Appalachian trial alone or climb Mount Everest with no one but my trusty Sherpa. I did, however, find a way to be alone with nature that did not send my parents into a tailspin. I am a certified scuba diver.
Becoming a certified scuba diver takes hard work and dedicated study. You attend twenty hours of lessons spending half of your time in the classroom and the other half in the pool. The knowledge that it takes to scuba dive is overwhelming at first. There is so much to learn to keep yourself and those diving with you safe. After all, scuba divers are gill-less creatures entering a world of water that they were never intended to spend a great deal of time in. The textbook for scuba diving is over two hundred and forty pages long; you watch hours of informative movies that provide examples of your diving techniques, and you are testing weekly both on paper and in the pool. Training prepares the diver for the many things that could go wrong. You have to take and pass a final examination to become a certified scuba diver. A great deal of what you are tested on is knowledge of the appropriate use of scuba diving gear.
Scuba diving equipment is what keeps you alive in an environment void of breathable oxygen. After years of swimming lessons and learning to hold your breath underwater, you now must retrain yourself to use your gear in order to breathe under water. The scuba diving equipment is very expensive. Regulators and tanks give you the oxygen you need to stay alive as you explore the underwater world for an hour or two. Other gear includes a face mask, wet suit and giant fins that make you look like some type of swamp creature when you wear them on land. Swamp creature or not, with your gear in place, you are ready to enter a whole new world.
The underwater world has so many creatures you have never seen or heard about before, and as a scuba diver, it is a privilege to be immersed in this alien world. If you walk the forest looking for wildlife you are lucky to see two or three animals. Underwater, you see hundreds of creatures; the ocean is full of life. It is hard to believe that you will be safe with predators such as Barracuda with their large menacing teeth and long, oblong bodies swimming by and bumping into you to see if you are food. You see huge sea spiders, with legs as big as your hand, crawling along the coral; they have a surreal look to them. Sea turtles glide through the water effortlessly looking as though they are flying. Lobsters crawl along the ocean floor afraid of humans that want to consume them and run to coral openings for safety, screaming at you as you reach out to touch them. Starfish float by like fallen stars from the sky. Thousands of nameless fish swim by checking you out to see if you are friend or foe. Nonliving treasures are also to be seen including ship wrecks, and the occasional submerged police vehicle (that’s a whole different story).
Whether viewing the living or nonliving treasures of the sea, scuba diving is an experience you can never match on dry ground. On land, life is so crazy busy and hectic. Underwater, there is no schedule, there are limited sounds; you have time to really be one with nature, to be one with yourself. It is amazing how clearly you are able to think about things going on in your life when you are surrounded by sea life. Being one with nature is truly a life changing experience, especially from the depths of the sea.

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GodsStudent said...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 8:32 am
I love scuba diving! Good job with this :)
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