The World’s Best Dive


by Dr. Thomas Powell

3 SDI scuba divers

photo by: Bill Downey

Dive instructors are often faced with many questions put forth by both excited new students and experienced divers. One question that seems to pop up regularly is, “what is the best dive in the world?” This question can be both impossible, and quite simple to answer. At first, most dive professionals may think through some of the most fascinating and interesting places they have traveled. Foreign destinations, exotic regions, or unique flora and fauna that may have inspired great memories. The problem is that even the most seasoned dive professionals or experienced divers, often only tell of the greatest or most interesting places they have been, while noting that there are still many new places to go. This reality suggests that the world’s best dive may in fact be the next dive, or the one you are enjoying now. #Excitement #TheNextDive

On the internet and on social media, we often see story lines for “the 50 greatest dive sites.” Who exactly made the decision about what 50 sites were the best? Do you always agree when you see these articles? Conversely, what makes these sites the best? Perhaps they are beautiful, convenient, or cost effective for travel? #GreatestDiveSite

Each time a person dives, we take what we see and build upon a standard based on past dives. As we travel, we always want to see something bigger, better, cooler, or more fascinating. Cavers may want to explore farther, or see a new type of geologic structure. Technical divers may want to go deeper, or explore a wreck that has always been just out of reach. Recreational divers may want to see that elusive animal or unique coral growth. Essentially, divers of all types seem to seek the next “big thing” or improve upon the past. This desire suggests that the best dive is always the one that comes next. #DeeperFarther #WhatComesNext?

In contrast, our most exciting dive is often the one we are currently undertaking. The people who love scuba diving often make scuba a lifestyle. Whether the dive is on a reef in the Caribbean, or deep into an unknown cave system, people look for excitement and enjoyment. People of this sort live in the moment and view the sport itself as a state of mind. When we venture underwater, divers often focus on what is going on and the overall aquatic environment. Other things slip away during the dive and even a bad dive becomes an experience or a story to tell. Perhaps the world’s best dive is the one we are currently diving, or the one we experience today. #TheCurrentDive #DiveNow

Finally, when a group of experienced divers were asked, “what is the best in the world?” The overwhelming response was, “the one you come back from.” This type of comment may seem somewhat grim, but this is a statement heard throughout the scuba industry. Any dive from which you return is the best type out there. The reality is that scuba diving is supposed to be fun and safe. The idea of not returning goes against both of these objectives. To add further confusion, the best dive may even be the one not performed. If a problem is foreseen or a dive gets called off, the involved divers can always get wet tomorrow. #TheDiveYouComeBackFrom #SafeDiving

For me, the best dive is the one coming next that I know will be enjoyable. Those who have experienced scuba diving and continue in the sport look forward to the next place and the next adventure. Scuba is a state of mind from which enjoyment can be derived at every turn. #WhateverComesNext, #ScubaStateofMind

- Dr. Thomas Powell
Owner/Instructor Trainer at Air Hogs Scuba, Garner, NC



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