Local Scuba Diving – It’s an Adventure … Just add water!
By John Flanders, Academy of Scuba – (DiverWire.com) The visibility may not be the best. It’s a little colder than you want it to be. There’s not a whole lot to see. But, it’s Saturday morning. It was a hellish work week. You are sitting in 60 feet of water blowing bubbles. No phone. No bills. No bosses looking over your shoulder.
This is your adventure, your vacation, and your little piece of paradise. It may not be the adventure of a lifetime, but it is definitely your adventure of the moment. And, while it’s not Cozumel with 80 foot visibility and 80 degree water, your local dive spot is paradise, today. All you had to do was add water!
As an Arizona diver, I hear it all the time. Where do you guys dive in the desert? As I have repeated over and over again, we have plenty of options. But, not every weekend is conducive to heading to California, Mexico or the proverbial “St. Somewhere”. For us Southwest Sand Sharks, our attempt of visiting Margaritaville, often includes a quick trip to a local lake and listening to that old Jimmy Buffett Compact Disc.
Splashing into the local waterways, no matter where you live, is vital to becoming a great diver. No matter how many cards you have collected through your training career, it is essential that you practice your underwater skills. Even the most adept scuba diver will find their skills “rust” if they stay out of water too long. Practice, practice, practice has to be the mantra of a diver looking to take their diving to the next level. Jumping in warm tropical waters twice a year just isn’t enough to truly master the art of Scuba diving.
Lakes, rivers, quarries, ponds and creeks often litter the pages of land-locked diver’s log books. And, while it may not be the best diving in the world, many of these “lake dawgs” covet their private little dive site. These dive sites become the meeting place of the local dive communities. Where strong bonds amongst the dive community are solidified and the folks who frequent these dive sites seal their position in the dive world. Moreover, the opportunity to blow bubbles and log some serious bottom time more than makes up for the lack of visibility.
Local diving is what you make of it. While many may scoff at the local dive site, many find the challenge and adventure that each dive can entertain. Maybe you will find the next treasure left behind by a surface locked lake visitor.
How does a diver unfamiliar to the area discover local diving?
There are many options for learning how to dive a local area. The most common method is to stop in at one of the local dive shops and hire one of their Divemasters to escort them to the local lake. However, many “do-it-yourselfers” look at other options for learning about the local dive area. Many divers frequent the various online message boards to learn about local dive sites and/or find local dive buddies to show them the ropes. While this can be a great social option, you have to live by the credo, caveat emptor.
Another great idea for immersing yourself into local diving is to find a local Scuba social or Diver Meet and Greet. Many of the local divers use these forums to connect with other divers and find new dive buddies. This is generally better to get to know divers before heading out to the local dive spots. Additionally, you may meet up with a group to help guide you into the local waters.
If you are ready to take the plunge, improve your skills by adding a more disciplined dive schedule to your life, and find the exciting areas to dive in your neck of the woods; then call in sick, find a dive buddy and head out to the local dive site. It’s time to blow some bubbles, get excited about diving and meet some great people. Local diving is where it’s at … Where are you?
Dive safe and have fun!