Whilst sat in a hammock miles from home chatting to Mr Gonella online the suggestion of a diving special piece for the site comes up. I could talk about scuba diving for days I thought but what are the most important and wow factor things to say about it that don’t just sound like a dive geek muttering on.
I suppose the first thing is that its not everyone’s cup of tea but for some like me, it’s a total passion and really a doorway into another part of the planet that so many will never see or experience. It’s as crazy as going into space! You can’t breath without equipment, everything is slightly alien looking, sound and light are different sensations and of course you are weightless, flying through water. It really is quite magic.
When I say a doorway into parts of the globe, I genuinely mean it. There is so much life, diversity, history and genuine awesomeness under the surface of the ocean that words really cannot describe it.
Coming from a seaside town I guess there was always a natural interest in the sea. It becomes part of your daily life, a walk along the beach here, a bag of chips on the stones there, an attempt at surfing at the witterings that one summer and you realise that that seaside town feeling is really very global. Wether you are a bajo fisherman in the middle of the coral triangle in warm tropical waters hanging out on your long boat with a net, a Thai tot playing about on the shores of the Similans whilst your mum scouts for sea cucumbers to BBQ for tea or sell at a local market or a passer by on Southsea Parade pier watching a storm cloud come in or sunset close in with a hot tea, it’s all about a relationship and the different ones we all have with the ocean.
Diving is exhilarating, it’s fun, it’s challenging sometimes but mostly it’s different and it manoeuvres your life in unusual directions, to remote and fantastic places. Sat on a wreck at the bottom of a deep blue or weaving through huge schools of barracuda as a whale shark or manta ray cruises over you is just breath taking. It builds a feeling of responsibility to look after and preserve it, to see that all of these cool things last. You realise how vital the sea is and how totally crucial it is for it to be sustained. You can watch a documentary about coral bleaching or mangrove decline but when you actually see it for yourself, well it makes an impact.
The point of this short blog piece is not to ram conservation down your throat but more to say how totally wonderful it is down there and how highly I can recommend giving diving a go if you never have. We are super lucky in the UK with wrecks and quarry’s to learn in and even more lucky with the reefs around the world that we have access too. You don’t have to go abroad to appreciate it as an activity, in fact one place I can highly recommend to check out near by is Andark Diving and Watersports Centre, it’s literally just down the road and is brilliant!
David Attenborough once said that the most memorable thing about his entire career as a naturalist was the first time he ever went diving and think about how much that man has done and seen.
‘When I first started diving I wanted to just see coral reefs because I worried that one day in my lifetime they would be gone.’
You start to become an ocean trotter, wanting to spot certain things, like specific sharks or migrations of different types of fish and with that comes travel, because ultimately you have to go and find them. It becomes an ever growing, everlasting adventure. When I first started diving I wanted to just see coral reefs because I worried that one day in my lifetime they would be gone. That thirst to see them has only developed into a total desire and motivation to help protect them so that my children get the choice to have that experience one day too. Nothing would sadden me more than for them to never get that opportunity.
There are lots of ways that you can experience marine life but the best way by far is to immerse yourself in it! To find out more about how to learn to dive, contact your local dive centre and learn to do something amazing!
A journey through an archipelago that stretches over more than a tenth of the earth’s equator.
Written by: Chantelle Wyatt
Photography by: Chantelle Wyatt
Film by: Chantelle Wyatt