Homer's Travels: Almost Finished ... Unexpected Results

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Almost Finished ... Unexpected Results

Scuba has been on my list of things to do for several years.  On Monday I finished the class/pool portion of my scuba certification classes (called Open Water Diver certification).  To complete my certification I have to perform four dives within a year of completing the class work.

DiVentures holds certification dives in a flooded quarry near Atlantic, IA.  It takes a weekend to do the four dives.  I hope to fit it in before our South America trip but it may be better to wait until I get back ... the water will be substantially warmer in July or August.

"So ... now that you've completed the first part of the training, what do you think?"  My instructor asked me this after the last session.  I had to pause before I answered.  Frankly, I'm not sure how I really feel.  I thought that I would get more excited as I took the classes but that is not what happened.  Obviously scuba diving at the bottom of a fourteen foot pool doesn't come close to the diving in the real world.  The skills we learned were relatively easy.  Things like clearing your mask underwater, recovering a lost regulator, and sharing air if you have the misfortune of running out of air.  As I progressed through the five class sessions I couldn't help feeling like scuba was not for me.

The thing about scuba are the potential risks involved.  It is a fairly safe activity but, when something does go wrong, you can have serious consequences ... drowning being one of them.  You mitigate these risks by knowing your equipment intimately and always diving with a buddy.

To know your equipment means you must buy your own equipment.  You can never fully understand rented equipment.  Scuba ... it isn't a cheap activity.  You also have to travel to fully experience scuba.  I can not see myself spending money just to fly somewhere to scuba dive.  I don't have resources to support that even if I wanted to.

I hike alone.  I camp alone.  I bike alone.  You can't scuba alone.  For me, this is a limiting factor.

There is one more thing.  When I was a little kid at the Lake of the Ozarks I loved to swim.  When I was in the water I was in my element.  After we moved to Guatemala I swam less and less.  Some of this was a lack of opportunity but a lot of it was me.  I just didn't want to swim as much as I used to.  I swam some when I was in college but after I graduated and entered the real world swimming just didn't have the hold it once had.  Case in point, the In-Laws have a lake house on a small lake in Iowa.  In the almost nineteen years of our marriage we have visited the lake many times and I have never gotten into the lake.  I'd hoped that the scuba class would rekindle the feelings I once had when I was younger.  It did not.

So, Have I wasted the money and time to do the classes?  No, I still don't think I have.  You never know if your are going to like something until you try it.  I will complete the certification later this summer (yes ... I am fighting the urge just to blow it off) because there will be chances to use the skills someday and the certification is for life.  Maybe a return trip to Zanzibar or an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.  A trip to Belize or the Mediterranean.  One never knows what lies around the next corner but at least I will be ready if the opportunity arrises.


  1. Scuba diving is scary as heck! I'm glad you're going to finish, because I think you would regret it if you didn't. You're keeping it open as an option! But if you say, Nope, not for me! Well, you'll KNOW, because you gave it more than a shot. You dont have to dig everything :) i loved swimming too. I still love swimming, but you know, I've swam through enough of strange kids' pee that the magic is just kinda gone for me too :)