What do I think about while I am diving?

What do I think about while I am diving? To be honest….it is sensory overload, and that may be the appeal.

There is a whole mental checklist that keeps looping depending where I am in the dive.

At the beginning I find the decent very exciting. I deflate all air in my vest and slowly sink into my new environment. I am careful to equalize early on, so I don’t have any ear discomfort. I equalize by pinching my nose and carefully and gently blow resistance until I feel my ears pop. I’ll glance at my computer to check my depth and then look around to see if any other divers are signaling problems. By the time I clear 45 feet, I usually don’t have any more ear issues.

Now I am settling into the dive I do a checklist, how deep, how much air, how much bottom time, am I comfortable, do I have any issues, and I look around to check with my other divers.

About now I will tap in just the slightest amount of air in my vest to make me neutrally buoyant. Now I am weightless and this is a huge rush for me. Becoming neutrally buoyant is a learned skill.

Weightlessness is a wonderful sensation.

Now the slightest kick will push me forward and my whole world slows down to a float and lazy kick mode while I take in all the sights.

I might have a little water in my mask and I will adjust it and expel water I have taken on.

Mentally I run down a “what if” checklist and look and my gauges again, then look around to check on my other divers. We all signal OK.

Now I am really into the dive, the sensation and the all alone feeling. I can’t talk although I can hear very well. Sound travels well underwater but you loose all sense of direction.  Below 30 feet most colors start to fade to a grayish blue. At this depth red looks green.

By now we are at maximum depth and I do an air check and start thinking about when I will need to ascend.

I effortlessly move about exploring the reef, wreck, fish, cavern or whatever we are seeking. In the quarry, I like to dive the old forest and float through the treetops. The old trees are kind of pickled and preserved, without foliage, but there is seaweed and algae covering the limbs. I am careful not to touch anything, or I will kick up sediment and cloud the water.

This is the time I shoot lion fish, film, take out a flashlight and do what I came to do. Everything I take is attached to me by a clip or is stored in a pocket. Sometimes it is difficult to maneuver things but I stay calm and think it through.

By now we come to an agreement that we must get back to the exit point and begin a slow accent. A good safe ascent is a learned skill. Usually I try and get to a depth about half way from my maximum and hang around for three to five minutes. So if I dove to 80 feet I’ll hang at 40 to 45 for a while, to allow my body to rid itself of the extra nitrogen in my blood.

I can feel my sinus now releasing pressure and I can hear them squeak a bit. Sometimes my sinuses squeak so loud that other divers can hear it. It sounds like dolphins.  

I check air and dive computer and check other divers. My computer tells me if I ascend too fast and will send put an audible beep to tell me to slow down.

For me, this is the saddest part of the dive because it will be ending soon.  We reach a point at 18 feet when the computer starts a 3 minute safety stop. For the next three minutes we float at 15 feet and kill time to allow more nitrogen to exit our blood. If I am boat diving I’ll look up to determine how rough the water looks. This is a long three minutes but it is very important.

Finally we look up, ascend, and inflate our vest at the surface. When I hit solid ground I feel very heavy, and I breathe in the fresh air.  Man that was a rush!

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Rock Chef said...

I can see why people get so hooked on this sort of thing, but I know that it is something that I could never do.

Ken said...

Nice description. Only I thought you were going to talk about what your thinking while driving, hot dogs, chicken, rotisseries, Boston Butts etc, etc.

Unknown said...

Ken said Boston Butts.