Is Scuba Diving for me?
Posted on 20/02/2018 by Brian Varon
Is scuba diving for me?
Does the idea of scuba diving sound interesting to you, but are you unsure of giving it a try? Then we have good news for you. You are not alone, we’ve all been there!
Before we became scuba divers, we could all hear the JAWS soundtrack play behind us from invisible speakers each time the water would cover our knees. You are entering another world, so it is natural to feel afraid of the unknown. However, eventually your fears of imaginary horrors are calmed and diving every day becomes a source of relaxation. Not convinced? Fine, let us clarify the misconceptions about scuba diving and address the real things you need to keep an eye on underwater. We’ll show you that scuba diving is not an extreme and scary sport made for fearless heros, but that it is closer to meditation and being connected to nature. Alright, let’s jump into the scary deep end.
Let’s make this easy. Every single animal in the water is more scared of you than you could be of them. Afraid of sharks? Falling coconuts cause about 150 deaths annually. That’s 10 times more than deaths accounted to shark attacks. A general rule for sharks is, if it is not a great white, you should not be afraid. Lucky for us, or unluckily for adrenaline junkies, on Gili Air we don’t have them on our waters.
Vast, Dark Open Water
We don’t go diving in the blue (what we call areas of ocean where you don’t have any point of reference), instead we dive to see coral reefs between 18 and 30 meters deep. All dive sites are well mapped and you always dive with a guide. See it as going out for a walk in the park, but instead of trees there are corals and instead of walking around you are swimming. Even at 30 meters depth, unless you are night-diving, it is incredibly bright down there. Corals need sunlight to grow, so it makes sense that it can’t be dark.
People think scuba diving is claustrophobic, while in fact you are entering the most open space in the world. You will realize that scuba diving is not a sport aimed at sweating like a turkey on Christmas Eve, but more about meditating, relaxing and about controlling your breath and mind. You are weightless underwater and completely present observing the nature around you, this is why you don’t have time to think about the problems on the surface. Scuba diving is a therapy and this is, for many, the main reason to dive.
Now that you know that you won’t be eaten by the kraken, let’s talk about the things that really matter underwater. These are the things you learn to keep an eye on during your dive courses on Manta Dive Gili Air. Here are the top three.
Decompression sickness is complex so we won’t go in depth with it here, but this is what you need to know. Air is roughly 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. On the surface your body does a great job at off gassing the nitrogen inhaled. Decompression sickness occurs when your body doesn’t release the nitrogen inhaled, due to the change in pressure underwater. However, if you stay well within your dive limits there is really no reason you should be concerned.
Because the pressure underwater is greater than on the surface, one breath underwater contains more air volume than on the surface. That means that if you take a full breath underwater and come back to the surface without releasing it, that air will expand in volume as you rise, which may cause lung overexpansion. Luckily for us, the way to prevent this is by never holding your breath and breathing normally, which is not that difficult.
Scuba diving, as any other sport, makes you use a lot of energy. Even if you simply float along in the current, your body uses energy keeping itself warm. The problem is that, because you are constantly wet, people don’t think about staying hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, reduced focus and alertness and could lead to making poorer decisions underwater. Luckily it can be easily avoided by drinking lots of water before and after the dive. Ask our instructors at Manta Dive Gili Air and they will happily assist you.
So as you can see, there is a much bigger risk associated with how air influences your body underwater thant with an animal attacking you. The expected fear of being attacked by an animal is because your brain is not too great at dealing with uncertainty, so it creates false fears. Fear is the main source of superstition. So, if you are interested in scuba diving, don’t let fear stand in your way. Have any other questions about diving? Go ahead and e-mail us or send us a message on our Facebook page. Do something that scares you, challenge yourself and do something really cool in your life - try scuba diving today.