The underwater world is quiet. Whether I am diving in the Caribbean or venturing into ancient flooded caves, the moment I drop below the surface of the water the clamor of modern life fades away. I am in foreign world, where strange creatures float and where the rules of physics that govern my everyday existence no longer apply. Gravity disappears. For the duration of the dive I am an explorer, using my skills and equipment to navigate an environment few humans are privileged to experience.
In a way, divers are like astronauts – they can escape their terrestrial existence! Unlike space travel, the training to safely explore the underwater environment takes only days. The relative safety and ease of scuba diving makes it a great way for many people to escape their busy lives. Underwater, you cannot be reached on your cell phone. The latest Facebook updates will have to wait, and Twitter is silenced. Life goes on pause and you are simply alone with the water.
To dive safely, a person must focus on his immediate surroundings and actions. A diver must manage his dive gear and monitor his depth, time, and air supply. Unusual aquatic life and the bizarre environment consume his attention. Underwater, a diver has no time to worry about his surface obligations. The stress and distractions of the above water world are silenced. For this reason, many divers find being underwater meditative.
Someone told me once that all divers are trying to escape from something. Maybe that is true. Whatever drives us to voyage into the underwater world, whether it is a need for escape or a simple penchant for exploration and adventure, diving provides us a welcome break from our everyday lives. We emerge from the water refreshed, and ready to tackle our obligations on land from a new perspective.
Do you dive to escape or for some other reason? Here is what about.com divers have to say:
“I have to say it is a great escape. I am not really sure what I am escaping from but it works.” — One of the Mikes
“I personally can dive a mud hole and just blow bubbles to get away from the world. After about an hour I might want to join the rest of the world — or maybe not.” — The Other Mike
“Loved the post and can thoroughly relate to everything except that diving is quiet. Maybe it is quiet in terms of leaving behind the “noise” of the terrestrial world, but not quiet in terms of an absence of sound. My exhalations on open circuit, the sounds of parrot fish scraping algae off coral, other fish clicking noises, and the grunt and squeaks of marine mammal all make for a full-throated underwater symphony. In the Florida caves I often hear the “heartbeat of the cave” — the low frequency pulsing of water and diver exhaust bubbles moving through the labyrinthine pours of limestone. Delightful sounds all, but definitely not quiet.” — Kristi Draper
“Absolutely right. One of my most memorably miserable dives was down in the Bahamas when the dive boat captain thought it would be nice to lower an aquaphone into the water and play rock music for the divers below. A number of us said we were ready to abandon ship and swim back to Florida if that happened again.” — Richard