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Getting Bored with Scuba Diving? Here’s What You Can Do to Make It Exciting Again
By: Ron Sivonda
Being a scuba diver is a lot like being a computer scientist, a medical doctor or a lawyer. I would offer, anecdotally, that very reason is why you see so many working professionals who are divers. I bring this up because if you treat your diving like a second profession, and apply the same rules to it, then it is easy to combat becoming bored with it.
Think about when you become bored at work. It is most often when you are not being challenged. Reuban Yonatan, in his article titled, Does Your Work Excite You, states that many times people become bored in their jobs because they need a chance to develop and they feel stagnant. I think diving is the same way. Let me give you an example.
I had been diving for eight years or so off and on. I did it occasionally, but I was not what marketers would have called a “core diver,” meaning that I did it many times a year. I was a casual or infrequent diver. I literally only owned a mask and fins. I was bored. Now, I dive at least twice a month and multiple times each day that I go on a trip. What changed? I started treating it as a profession. I sought out development and challenges, which made me interested in diving all over again.
You need to find new, adventurous and exciting places to dive
Here’s the thing: You need to open your log book and look at how you have been diving for the past several years. If it is the same five cattle boats, the same Hawaii trip every year, or the same shore sites, you need to change that. You need to find new, adventurous and exciting places to dive.
Here in Puget Sound we look at old nautical charts, read historical books, and ask people for coordinates from their fish finders. We try to find new things to dive and challenging new locations. Sometimes, we don’t find anything other than a bunch of rocks or a pile a trash. Sometimes, we find the remains of an old fishing camp or a hand-carved canoe. Trying new spots that are not canned vacation spots is like climbing a mountain that nobody else has summited. Half of the fun is finding it and learning about it. So that’s my first rule: Find new stuff to dive.
An early 1900s Johnny Walker Scotch bottle the author found at a dive site he had never been to previously.
Change up your gear
Next, you need to change up your gear. I am not suggesting that you needlessly buy stuff either. Design your kit around what is bugging you. Maybe you are tired of bringing so much stuff. Maybe, you want doubles for more gas. Maybe, you are tired of being too cold. I am suggesting that you try new things. I have been diving a drysuit for eight years. Recently, I thought about how much I truly missed diving a nice streamlined wetsuit, like when I lived in Florida. I went out and bought a semidry suit, with a drysuit zipper and wrist/ankle seals. This enabled me to wear my old 1980s Scubapro Stabilizing Jacket again, which wouldn’t fit over a bulky modern drysuit. Furthermore, this enabled me to use my old regulator from twenty years ago because I did not need to run a drysuit hose either. My buddy and I went diving at one of our favorite spots, decked out like we used to dive like when we were both twenty years old. We got cold, but we had a blast.
Try an air-integrated computer, some doubles, a new type of suit, or even using dive tables like people used to back in the day. Maybe try some serviced vintage scuba diving gear. Make diving fun again and get back to why you loved it to begin with. My second rule: change your gear system around.
The author dives serviced 1960s scuba gear at Rockaway Beach, near Seattle, Washington.
Learn new things
My final piece of advice is to learn new things. I do not frequent Internet diving forums, but we all know the people who bad mouth instructors, diving instruction in general or how lax everything has been since people started wearing seatbelts (those darn kids!!) Pretend this is not about diving.
• What do you want to do when you want to learn how to race a car? You find someone to teach you.
• What about moving from top rope rock climbing to traditional rock climbing? You find someone to teach you.
Diving is no different. Divers are strange animals because we love to get together in a group, then complain about one another. “Did you see that person with the split fins and the octo-inflator? Well, he is just an accident waiting to happen.” There is nothing wrong with taking a class, or even having a mentor, teach you new things.
I have been diving since 2002 and this year I am taking trimix training. I have been a divemaster since 2009 and an instructor for four years, and I am still learning new things. This is not shameless advertising either. You can learn from members of your dive club, senior divers from your dive shop, or from instructors and other dive professionals. My point is to learn.
If you have been diving since 1977 and you still have an open water card with a polaroid photo laminated to it, then learn something new.
• Take a nitrox class.
• Learn how to dive with doubles.
• Learn staged decompression diving.
Learning how to decompression dive is one of the most exciting things I have ever learned how to do, and the Army used to pay me to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. That is my third rule: Learn something new.
The author returns from a two hour and two-minute technical dive.
In closing, you need to make diving an adventure again. That’s the big secret. I run into little kids all the time when I dive and they, without fail, think we are the coolest people at the park as divers. We swim down into the oceans, lakes, and rivers of the world and come back with tales of daring, adventure, and stuff that our spouses make us bleach and leave in the garage. Harness your inner 18-year-old with these tips, and I will see you out there on the water.
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