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Why do we dive?

Hi guys, this is Jill Holloway, not speaking and not on video for a change, and not diving until next month when our cautious re-opening begins and we can get back to doing what we love best.

What is it about diving that grips us all as divers, and draws us back to the ocean with such power?

I posted a series of questions on my favourite, unapologetically uncensored Facebook page, Scuba Divers Uncensored, 35 000 members all mostly dive shop owners, completely irreverent and as crude as hell.

It was a real revelation. I asked why the guys dived. All they had to do was pick a number. This was their response:

1 Adrenalin Rush 8 %

2 Love the Ocean 29% (a lot of them dive in quarries)

3 Social scene 6%

4 Feel good 4%

5 Just love diving 51% (many women chose this)

6 Other 2%

These percentages speak for themselves. The answer was primarily love of diving and love of the ocean. Many expanded on these- they love the solitude, the silence, the lack of demands, and the freedom of personal space. They love to be part of the ocean, part of the movement to save the planet, part of the unity of divers with a common goal.

To me the magic word here is LOVE.

PADI advertises scuba diving as a means to Go Places, Meet People Have fun, and only 5% of these guys chose that as a reason for diving. So, it looks as though the social scene is not a big priority. It's more than that. Once you are a diver, you have seen and felt things other people can’t understand.

Sure the camaraderie, the snacks and drinks, the new connections- all good. But the only people who do understand the grip the ocean wields are other divers.

My strongest reason to get out there despite the rough seas, cold days on land, early start is the anticipation. The prospect of euphoria. The knowledge that this is where we belong. Once you are in the water, the magic happens. We belong in the ocean, weightless and wet and warm and looking at beautiful things.

I have made a video exploring the reason why we dive, and it comes down to the feeling of excitement when you see a creature you have never seen. Or shot an event you have never watched before. Or watched as a terrified newbie slides down the rope into the ocean and first truly enjoys the magic. But it’s a deeply felt atavistic return to our primal roots.

So far as feeling good is concerned, I will never forget the guys I interviewed who dive for a living. All looking to be in their 30s, unlined, vital and vigorous. Yet Colin Ogden of Amory Diving (Nitrox breather) was in his 60s and looked around 45, Barry Coleman, 56 (dives on a rebreather) and looks 25.

I realized then that the beneficial effects of breathing oxygen under pressure is in fact virtually un researched. Many small beauty places sell an hour of breathing pure oxygen as a pick me up. There are plenty of rumors that ageing movie stars sleep in hyperbaric chambers. So clearly breathing oxygen under pressure has some benefits. As far as I’m concerned, under the ocean is the best place to be.

If you want to breathe oxygen under pressure, it helps to live on a tropical island, which is why I live in Mauritius, safe, virus free and plenty of clean air and of course plenty of Nitrox. Once you guys are free to travel it’s a great place to come.


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