I admit that my fanaticism is extreme, and it always amazes me how someone can stop diving. Some people have understandable reasons. Some just don’t like the water. Some suffer from claustrophobia in scuba gear. There’s another reason I hear all too often, but it always comes up. The dive was not what I expected.
This statement deserves a closer look. Going back to our driving analogy, it’s like saying, “I stopped driving because it doesn’t get me where I want to go.” Like many people who choose adventure sports, aspiring divers often have a somewhat romantic notion of the activity. They see themselves as explorers of the liquid element who have never been there before and discover the wonders. Unfortunately, many people experience something completely different. Example: I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance about social activism. As in many of my other conversations, the topic revolved around diving. He told me that he wasn’t interested in diving, but in more adventurous and less crowded activities. This, of course, piqued my curiosity.
My friend told me that he had always loved being in the water and had always wanted to learn how to dive. He was always interested in watching TV shows about the underwater world. He did well on certification courses and enjoyed learning how to dive in the pool. When he made practice dives at sea (see), the weather was bad, but he passed the exam brilliantly. When he received his diving certification after those dives, he was so excited that he immediately signed up for an exotic trip.
I wondered what could have gone wrong. My friend told me that the misadventures of this trip started back at the airport. The group of lloretdiving.com he was traveling with was very large and noisy, and the group members seemed more passionate about visiting the famous bar on the island than the dive itself.
When the group arrived at their destination, the situation deteriorated. The local dive operator was not prepared for such a large group. They soon ran out of rental equipment and had to borrow it from another operator to make up the shortfall. My friend ended up with a BCD that was too big for him, and a regulator that he didn’t trust, although it didn’t cause him any problems during his dives.
The first night the group had a big party at the bar, and the next morning almost everyone showed up for the dive in bad shape.
The boat was crowded and chaos reigned. My recently arrived buddy was surprised that some of the divers in the group acted like they had never seen scuba gear before and had trouble even putting it on.
The dive leader gave the group strict instructions to stay together and follow him. Since only a few divers had computers, the divemaster planned the dive for the entire group and demanded strict adherence to the schedule. The biggest disappointment for my friend was probably the dive itself.
The dive site was a small shallow sandy reef. Most of the corals were dead or damaged, and because the group was very large, there was so much sand that it was hard to see anything. All I could see were the fins of the divers in front of me.