Breathing under water, floating weightlessly, exploring a world previously hidden to us and being eye-to-eye with incredible sea life, that’s only a few things we appreciate about diving.
Although we have done a fair share of different water sports, it was usually limited to above the water surface. Sometimes you would hear from friends and colleagues who went scuba diving during holidays and had the best time. We somehow always thought that diving is difficult and not easy to pick up. For some reason we associated scuba diving with a highly technical sport that needs years of practice and requires a big budget to get started. Well, as it turns out our impression was wrong!
Most cruisers we met along the way are active divers, have their own gear and many even carry dive compressors onboard. Through an online cruisers platform called Noforeignland.com, we met a German couple, Annett and Nico, who also spent some time in St.Martin and decided to try something new and became certified divers. It struck us how easy and quick it was to get the certification compared to the wrong image we had of the sport. Knowing that we would stay on the island for a little longer, we stopped by the dive school, Dive Safari, signed up for the PADI Open Water certificate and brought the books back to the boat to study the theory before they taught us the practical skills.
We absolutely enjoyed reading through the books and learning new things. We quizzed each other and discussed diving related topics, techniques, and equipment over drinks and dinner. It was very stimulating and having only read the theory increased our curiosity to finally go beneath the surface and to breath underwater for the first time. We also had a few question marks in our minds. Mostly related to equalization techniques or safety procedures. Don’t we all know the pain in our ears when diving down too quickly and for hours it feels like your ear is clogged? How can we avoid that in the deeper depth you reach when scuba diving? We were excited to learn more and how to dive safely, which then also helps us when we go snorkeling or free diving.
Being taught the basic skills in a controlled environment (it was a normal, shallow swimming pool for us) helped a lot to get confident with the gear and answered all the questions we had. And off we went into the open ocean to explore reefs, wrecks, rocks and the incredible sea life of our planet.
Skills and knowledge we acquired helped us feel more comfortable when swimming, snorkeling or free diving. Previous unease around larger or generally misconceived sea creatures faded and we better understood and appreciated the under water environment more. You could say we got healthily addicted to diving, with a tank on our backs or without.
Saying this, diving might not be for everyone. There are things that could make you feel uneasy at first but you will probably get comfortable with quickly if you want to give it a try.
Once down below you can only communicate in body language. There is this silence surrounding you, which is the opposite of quiet. Your senses are also limited depending on the conditions. You experience an environment, which is not natural for human beings and therefore you rely on your gear and skills. Being down below will teach you to stay calm, control your breathing and think before you act. But to be fair, isn’t all this similar to offshore sailing? Don’t these challenges make the whole experience so special and exciting?
Both hobbies taking place in the same environment, they fit together perfectly and we are happy that we tried something new, which enriched our journey and even lives.
In my opinion our blue planet shouldn’t be called Earth, but Water. By traveling this water world by sail boat and looking beneath the surface shows us the hidden beauty of nature and we are very grateful to be able to explore every little part of it. My main motivation to share this experience is to point out that it’s always good to keep learning and exploring new things in life, no matter how hard you think it will be, just try and enjoy and learn from the experience.
What is the last skill you’ve learned that maybe even pushed you out of your comfort zone?