The breeze rustles through the palm trees as you store your gear on the boat and get everything ready for today’s dive. Once in the water you have the feeling of almost being weightless as you glide effortlessly and gracefully through the warm tropical salt water.
As you enter the open-top Sea Cave you start to watch three playful Hawaiian Monk Seals swimming overhead. As they watch you they become curious, and finally venture down from the surface to investigate.
For what seems like hours the playful seals gracefully glide past, seemingly performing an underwater ballet with you. They rub their whiskers on you to investigate you almost like a dog sniffing you. They stare inquisitively at you only inches away, cocking their heads from side to side. From time to time sipping off of the air bubbles released from your scuba system so that they can stay down longer with you. You then realize that you are one of the fortunate few that will ever have the opportunity to swim with or even see the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals this close in person.
Scuba diving is an experience like no other. Once you become comfortable underwater, you start to feel at one with nature. On a Drift Dive, the feeling of floating where the sea takes you underwater is like no other, it is one of the most free feelings I have ever experienced.
Unfortunately living in Hawaii everyday you start to take it all for granted. You begin to just think of it as just another day like any other. You no longer notice the breeze as it gently drifts through the palms, or the slight salt mist in the air. You no longer appreciate the gentle tropical flower scents all around you.
I have lived in Hawaii for the past eleven years, and I do not know when this transformation happened to me. I did not even realize that it had happened until I started scuba diving this year. The more I dive the more I start to take notice of things again, like a veil is being lifted off of my senses. I start to appreciate again that yes, I truly do live in Paradise.
Today a dive buddy of mine asked me why I am writing this blog about my diving activities. I teach food safety through the Hawaii Foodservice Academy, I teach First Aid, CPR, & Prehospital Emergency Care courses through Oahu CPR TRaining, and I still take time to dive and write a blog about my diving.
I thought about it for a moment, and the answer just jumped right out at me.
If someone out there who has been through a traumatic event in their past that has scarred them and changed how they live their lives happens to read this blog and is encouraged to overcome their fears and take back control of their lives like I am, then they are why I am doing it.
I let my fears control my life for 25 years before I decided to use SCUBA diving to overcome them. Since I started diving back in January my whole life has changed for the better. Now thats not saying that my fears are not still there, believe me they are there, but I do not let them control me anymore. I am now in control for a change, and it feels great!
If I can help just one person to overcome their fears through diving, it will be worth it.
The majority of my diving is done from boats, so I decided to add the PADI Boat Diver Specialty as my next course which I completed today.
Shore diving seems too much like work fighting the surf, then a long surface swim just to get out to where you want to dive. Diving is supposed to be fun not work, so I rarely shore dive at all.
The boat diver specialty is good for someone who doesn’t dive from a boat very often. It teaches boat diving basics, proper entry and exit techniques, boat safety, etc.
Here in Hawaii we do a lot of Drift Diving because the currents are so strong in many areas that it is the best option for seeing a large area underwater quickly. You just enjoy the view as you float along with the current.
Since we do so much drift diving here I decided to make Drift Diver my next PADI specialty, which I completed today.
Today I completed the Deep Diver Specialty course and I have several other specialties and classes that I have already scheduled over the next couple of weeks.
My fears are still alive and well and it is still a challenge to overcome them with each dive, but I am not giving up.
I decided to become certified in SCUBA diving through PADI and after confined water training and 4 open water dives obtained my Open Water Diver certification today.
It was difficult working through my fears of not being able to breath throughout the course, butI trusted the instructors and set my mind to it that I was going to complete this course and overcome my fears.
I havent quite overcome them yet, but I am not allowing them to control me any longer.