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Trying Something NEW: 2013 Will Be “The Year We Dive Different”

(DiverWire) DiverWire contributing writer Lisa Mongy is an SSI Instructor based in South Florida. She’s been diving for more than 20 years and has some inspirational thoughts for divers heading into 2013.

After a trip to the amazing Atlanta Aquarium, my son, also a diver, was commenting on a large, impressive tank with a variety of fish he’d never seen before. Growing up in an aquatic family this was somewhat rare to him. After a little investigation and some chat with aquarium personnel, he found the reason: the tank was primarily filled with pacific fish. My son, a Miami native, told me, “It dawned on me all at once. I’d been diving in only one ocean my whole life.”

As the New Year begins, the world has been abuzz with talk of resolutions. As with most things in life, my mind came to the question: what about diving? Silly or not, (it was silly) we spent 2012 with the end of the world looming. 2013 comes with a new lease on life. Recessions are receding, there’s even a new robot on mars. And so I’m throwing down the gauntlet, or dive glove, if you prefer. 2013 is the year to dive different. Try something new.

Where to start? There’s always the simple answer: take the next step. Been cruising with a standard Basic Open Water certification? Maybe it’s time to go for your Advanced Open Water. Already Advanced? How about Rescue Diver or Dive Master? Is this the year you get serious and go for an Instructor’s Certification? People of every age have been going back to school recently, so why not divers? Upping your certification class can open a new world of diving experiences, and remind you of why you got into diving in the first place.

The other idea is to do a complete flip. Been a tank diver your whole life? Maybe it’s time to learn about the freedom of Freediving. Have you only been in the ocean? Explore the depths of the Great Lakes or take a class on Cavern or Cave Diving. Getting back to aquariums, did you know that most rely on a large team of volunteer divers? Maybe the way to swim with that sea turtle that’s been eluding you is to get into a tank and help out serving one afternoon snacks? Or you could venture out of the tank and volunteer with marine mammal rescue, helping with the many whales and dolphins in need. You have more options than you realize to do something new.

To help get you on your way, I’ll be starting a new series of articles in the New Year, focused on shedding some light on some of these and other new and interesting diving experiences you might not be privy to. Last year, when I when looking for antiquities, I found myself fossil hunting (Hunting for Historic Shark Fossils), but this year I have my eyes set on buried treasure. Want more than a four hour tease on a morning boat trip? Let’s explore life on a live-a-aboard dive charter. Enjoy watching the Discovery station on your new flat screen TV? Jump in for yourself and hear the songs of a beluga whale pod off the coast of Canada, calling you to share the water with them. Excuse the pun, but there’s an ocean of possibilities.

The key is to be open to them. Many of the things I’m looking forward to in 2013 came from tips or tales from other divers. That wonderful time after a dive, as the boat makes its way back to dock, is the golden hour for divers. It’s a time to talk and reflect, share stories and hear something new. Make use of it! I find bringing a post-dive snack to share can often get the conversation going (Hello, hot chocolate anyone! It’s an excellent icebreaker in the winter). Or, wherever you find a kindred aquatic soul, relish the moment. It could be while exploring a marine exhibit at your local Museum of Science, during breaks at an underwater film festival or while discussing the new innovative Sinking World Art Exhibit. Didn’t Hillary at the salon mention she went snorkeling in Italy on her vacation? Ask her to tell you about it!

And so in closing, I’m asking the same of you, dear reader. If you have an exciting, or interesting new dive experience that must be known to the world at large, let me know! You can send an email to, and put “Dive Different 2013” in the subject line. We have a slew of wonderful content lined up, but that doesn’t mean we’ve heard it all. Not by a long shot. And even if we don’t hear it from you, make sure someone does.

Share your diving experiences whenever you have a captive audience, because you never know when someone else is looking to dive different.