There is no doubt that scuba diving has been life changing for us. It has improved our emotional well-being, self esteem and confidence; given us a much stronger connection and appreciation of nature; and we’ve been lucky to establish new life-long friendships. But it’s also taught us a few things that we never expected.
To slow down
Our daily lives above the surface are often a frenzied, crazy, mess. As we chase success and fulfilment we get wound up in a more chaotic and faster pace of life, and somehow we think this is normal. Our lives above the surface are played out under huge pressure. The demands we place on ourselves can often be debilitating, but we seem to think that if we stop moving, we will fall behind and fail, right?
Below the surface though, the more slowly you move, the more you see and the better your dive experience is. Slowly and purposefully creeping along a coral reef rewards you with marine encounters and interactions you may never have had if you were moving faster.
With our fast frenzied lives above the surface, it did take us a while to master the art of being slow underwater, but once we did, the more we appreciated our time in the ocean, and the more present we were in each moment.
We’ve tried to bring this ‘slow’ back into our daily lives above the surface, and the same rings true. Whilst it’s not always easy to slow down, we find that when we do, we tend to listen more, and therefore learn more, and have better interactions with others. We’re also less stressed and distressed.
How to talk without speaking
One of the best things we love about diving is the inability to speak underwater. Yet, this doesn’t mean you can’t talk.
Scuba diving has taught us that communication is far more than just speaking or writing. Most of us are unaware that we actually communicate in many different ways even when we’re not speaking.
We’ve met divers the world over and rarely do we speak the same language, but as soon as we slip beneath the surface, our language is universal. The simple hand signals you learn as a scuba diver, combined with the language of gestures, facial expressions, and behaviours underwater, unites us and gives us a means of communication and connection.
This scuba language has helped us above the surface as well, especially when interacting with people of different nationality, language, and culture. It’s made us think more carefully about making an effort to keep our communication clear, simple and unambiguous, whilst incorporating more hand gestures and facial expressions, just like the simple scuba signals. In an ever growing multicultural city like Melbourne where we live, we find our daily cross cultural communications are now more enriching as we try different communication techniques and rely less on our voices.
The beauty of the ocean is far greater than what you see on the BBC
We’ve all marvelled at the BBC programmes about our oceans. Spectacular coral reefs, amazing animal encounters, David Attenborough...... you think you know it. I mean you’ve seen how beautiful it is on TV right? Wrong. While the BBC does a marvellous job at portraying the beauty of the natural world, nothing prepares you for your first dive to depth.
As you descend, you enter a world of slow-motion. It’s colourful, eerie, and mysterious, and it totally engulfs you. And, no matter how many times you slip into the blue, you never know what you’re going to see, or when you’ll see it. One day you’ll peer into a cave to find a giant painted lobster, the next day the same cave harbours an octopus curiously extending its arm to greet you.
From the moment you roll off the boat, you’re submerged into an astonishingly different world. You have a ringside seat within the worlds biggest aquarium, and you have no idea what the show will entail. This is ocean’s real beauty, its mystery. And you can’t get that from watching TV.
Keen to try scuba diving? We dare you. Visit PADI for information on courses near you.