Sometimes, the best things to see underwater are at deeper depths. For example, the coral “walls” of the Caribbean are a riot of color. The coral walls that ring many of the islands rise vertically from the bottom out of thousands of feet of water. As you drift over the edge of the wall, the water turns a darker, deeper mysterious blue. Sometimes it looks almost purple. Open ocean fish, known as “pelagics,” swim along the face of the wall, giving you a glimpse of sharks, eagle rays, and other seldom seen creatures. Swimming along a vertical coral wall, with no bottom in sight, is a sensation very much like flying.
In the far Pacific, there is an island called “Chuuk” (formerly known as Truk), that was the site of a major battle during World War II. In 1944, American planes ambushed 50 Japanese ships that have remained on the bottom there since that time. Now, covered with soft corals, the slowly deteriorating remains of these wrecks lie at depths ranging from a few feet below the surface to over 200 feet down. Scattered along the decks and passages of these ships are dishes and cookware, lamps, navigation instruments, and even the skeletons of crew members. Many divers consider Chuuk to be one of the true “pinnacles” of the diving world.
There is something about deep diving that is irresistible to many people. There is an intensity to this type of diving that isn’t found on shallower dives, where the light rays flicker over white sandy bottoms. As you look up at the hull of the boat, more than 100 feet above you, you get a perspective on your depth that can’t be achieved in shallower water. Your regulator sounds different and the exhaust bubbles chime in tones that only a deep diver hears.
Why do people engage in deep diving?
As we can imagine, there are many reasons to dive deep. You may want to see a particular reef or to photograph a special wreck. A marine biologist may want to dive deep to observe a particularly rare species of fish, while a cave diver may want to explore a previously unknown cave.
Deep diving by itself has no purpose. Divers use deep diving skills to take them to unique and unusual dive sites, and to have experiences that they cannot accomplish in shallower waters.
Some divers are under the mistaken impression that by participating in deep diving they will “prove” themselves and their capabilities. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you are considering participating in deep diving to feed your ego, you should look for another activity. Reckless deep diving endangers yourself, your dive partner, and other divers who may need to come to your rescue in the event that something goes wrong during your dive. You must have the proper “mind-set” to participate in deep diving.
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