I fell in love with diving back in 1997 in a small pool at “The Dive Shop” in Tucson Arizona of all places. After being bugged for 2 years by my husband to take up scuba diving together I finally relented to a free “Discover Scuba” session one Saturday morning thinking he would get it out of his system and I could finally be left in peace. I could not have been more wrong about my expectations for that day. I was seduced by the song of the sirens the moment I took my first breath underwater. Being the wife of a young enlisted man with two little ones both still in diapers, we struggled to make our new found passion happen, but somehow we did it.
Even then though, as much as I loved it, I felt no reason to “push limits”. I had worked hard to pass every skill I earned and having driven in a convoy down to the Sea Of Cortez for our Open Water Dives, there was so much beauty in the calm turquoise waters at 40 feet, what else could one possibly need? I had become a diver, and I was content with what I saw…there was no need to go deep, seek out sharks, penetrate wrecks, dive in the cold or anything else for that matter.
Fast forward to 2014. My company, a tour operation dedicated to dive travel (which I quit a good job at American Airlines to start) is approaching it’s tenth anniversary this summer. My babies are now a college Freshman and a high school Senior both embarking on a Marine Biology degree. Personally I am now also about to celebrate ten years as a dive instructor, have lost count of the number of dives under my belt and as I now live in Ohio own a dry suit and carry an ice-diving certification card (amongst others) in my purse.
Despite all of this, until relatively recently, whenever the topic about Rebreathers came up, I instantly dismissed it. I would nod politely, and listen with a little interest, but I always looked at them as a mix of both “brave and crazy”. Yes, I had shattered multiple personal diving barriers, but this was a serious limit and one I only saw few people with a genuine need to push. But a couple of years ago a casual conversation on a dive boat changed things. Up until then, it had always been the technical side of things that I heard as the main reason CCR divers ventured into the bubbleless world. For a few others it had been those extremely serious about photography and wanting more from their shots, but they never really elaborated how a rebreather changed things. However, the diver my husband (now an avid underwater photographer) was deep in conversation with that day, didn’t just stop at the virtues of silent diving and the tremendous difference it made to his photos. Up until this point, I had heard all this before. What opened my mind for the first time, was when this particular gentleman went into great detail about how much closer he could get to the various creatures underwater. He told my husband that as open circuit divers we are amazed how many animals are not afraid of us and the close encounters we have with them. He then continued that because we only had terrestrial experiences to compare it to, in his opinion “we had it all wrong, and we hadn’t seen anything yet”. He spent most of our surface interval explaining how much more intimate his time spent with critters had been, how “diving silent” allowed him to truly swim amongst the fish, infiltrate schools and, no longer a noisy bubble-blowing animal, when on closed-circuit he truly became one with the ocean in a way that open circuit divers can only dream about.
Now he had me intrigued! Marine life – not just cruising past the pretty fish, but being with them, observing their everyday routines, and learning why they do what they do is my most favorite part of diving. Don’t get me wrong, there are a multitude of reasons why I love scuba, why it took a hold of me so deeply that it changed my career, and influences my every day existence and now that of my offspring. But if I had to single out one element that grabs my heart and makes me starry-eyed when I tell yet another person how they simply must become a diver, it is being in the company of the incredible life system that awaits us just below the surface and I cannot get enough of being as much a part of it as I possibly can.
We won’t get into details today, I have taken up enough of your time for now, and I am writing this on the balcony of my apartment at beautiful Buddy Dive Resort when the sea and sun is calling me. But I wanted to provide you with the background for my next adventure, as I am out here with a purpose. This coming week will see both Deep Blue Adventures announce the “soft-launch” of our latest services offered to the diving community – rebreather dive travel, and also for both personal and professional reasons, my husband and I joining the ranks of those “brave and crazy” divers under the instruction and guidance of non-other than the President of Silent Diving himself.
During the coming days, I will be diving open circuit with my children, getting a friend’s teenage son certified and maximizing as much time as I can on the beautiful divers paradise called Bonaire in addition to taking level one of my rebreather certification. With a full schedule I don’t know how much I can blog, but I am going to try every day, even if it’s just a snippet. I will be honest and I will share with you as best I can my journey and what I personally experience. I am both excited and apprehensive, but mostly I am curious and I can’t wait to see this for myself. I appreciate your company during this time and look forward to having you along for the ride!