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16TH February 2010

Culture - Explorer - Leftovers

Watch the Gauge or Enjoy the Dive? Analogies, even underwater.


Rottweiler extraordinaire Netscape came to her end, taking it with dignity and grace. Much like Mom did last year. (Where does this courage come from?) I’ve noticed that the number of my friends on the other side of the golden reeds has been growing. I could have hardly made a list ten years ago. Now I have plenty of friends there, and more new ones keeping getting added. I just never know when, or who with any certainty. One point Dad made rings true, if you have friends on both sides, it’s not so lonely a passing.

I’ve also taken the summer to teach my wacky niece to scuba dive (way under age) in the pool out back. I gave her a short course on the dangers and excitement of being underwater, an we take a tank down to share. If you want to see the definition of wide eyes, check out an eight year old when she breathes underwater the first time. We mostly play ”coins of the world” or tic-tac-toe until the air runs low. As always, we plan our dive, dive the plan, check our air, and ascend with no complaints when it’s over. at what point do you quit counting hammerheads?

When I first began to dive, it was all about the gauges. How much air is left? What’s our depth. How far am I from my buddies if I have an issue?. How is my buoyancy? My equalization? My BCV? Where’s the boat? How far did we drift? How are my dive partners faring? How much air again, and again and again. I was running so many calculations and working so hard, I would blow through 3,000 psi in 35 minutes and be done.

Of course, I was in the Galapagos getting the crap scared out of me by hammerheads, bulls, white tips, thermo climes and nasty surges, so that sucked up some extra air as well.

But somewhere around dive #50, I hit a very different zone. My skills improved to the point of being quite natural with what was quite foreign during dive #10. I now know I have 55 minutes under, because that is generally the boat rule. And I know that time can be cut short anytime if something goes bad. The choice I do have is what I accomplish when down there. If I do all the things a good diver does, I have 55 minutes of pure bliss in the most beautiful natural habitat on the earth, the sea. I can fill my time with as much exploring, learning and observing as I can take. So I don’t complain when time is up, and we ascend to the surface. (The calming affects of nitrogen absorption may help a little as well).

always come up on time...So, why is a life to be so different than a dive? We all have a timer on us. We all jump in knowing one day were out of air and headed back to the boat. It really boils down to what we make of our dive. Gauges are important, but they are not the reason we dive. We dive to learn, to explore, and to enjoy. My mom would sometimes say ?it is not the number of breaths you take, but the number of times your breath is taken away?. Indeed.

If you go
» Suunto, if you need a gauge
» Captain Saam, if you want a great, over the top instructor

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