Carpe Divem: Seize the Dive

Carpe DivemYeah yeah we KNOW its cliché, but seriously, enjoy the dive you’re on. That’s why you’re in the water to begin with, right? Because you love it? There’s no bigger buzz kill on a dive boat or at a dive site than the diver who refuses to just enjoy the dive they are on and have compare it something “better”. Dive in the moment, there’s something great to be had in EVERY dive.

I got my open water certification in a sand quarry in Wisconsin. It was cold, the visibility was horrible, and yet it was possibly one of the most memorable dive outings of my life. I can remember how in awe I was to be surviving in a totally alien environment and how free it felt to be totally weightless. I could have hovered watching the cartoon-like blue gills guard their nests for hours if it weren’t for my instructor ruining it by asking me to remove and replace my mask. Even now, thousands of dives around the world later, I use those first few certification dives as my baseline. If I was able to enjoy diving to that extent in that cold, dark, near-lifeless sand quarry, how could I ever take any other dive for granted?

It’s a given that not every dive is going to match up to a night dive with manta rays in Kona, diving with a school of hammerheads in the Galapagos, or counting sea horses on the pier in St. Croix, but I have come up with a trick to get the most out of every opportunity I have to be under water. Anytime I find myself a little less than impressed on a dive, I try to find something unique about that particular dive and focus on that. When I still can’t find something worth noting, I try to just relax and enjoy the calm, quiet, weightless tranquility and wait for the dive to show me something. A great example of that happened to me recently while helping out with an event in Pennsylvania. The water was cold, dark, and I was mostly just in the water for moral support while some local instructors introduced new divers to different technical diving skills. For seven hours I was stationed in about 3 meters/10 feet of water watching students learn how to run reels for the first time. This was fun to watch for a while, but soon I became distracted by the largemouth bass that were hunting for crawfish under the rocks. I was so thrilled by this show that I was truly sad when the event was over and I had to get out of the water. This same type of thing happened to me recently while on a shallow reef dive in Bonaire. I was certain there was no way I was going to see something I hadn’t already seen when I spotted a frogfish hanging out on a sponge. After a few moments, I realized he was hunting and got to see my first live frogfish feeding. It was possibly the coolest thing I saw during the entire trip. It just goes to show that on some dives, you just have to relax and enjoy the dive for what it is…you might just be surprised by what you find.

So whether you are on the most amazing dive of your life in some faraway distant land or just testing out some new gear in your local quarry, don’t forget to “seize the dive”.

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