Top 5 myths about Scuba Diving

Jun V Lao, Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Scuba Instructor
Discover 5 myths which will change your perceptions about Scuba Diving

I had a fun conversation with a prospective open water student yesterday and it hit me,  some people just because they did a try dive suddenly feel they are experts about scuba diving. I remained quiet, heard him out, its but natural, he was excited and I exactly felt the same way he did after I did mine...(similar to feeling like the hero character after watching a movie). I assumed too much and was quite the ignorant fellow too during my first few months diving. In the age of facebook where a post can be quickly swallowed as fact, I'm sharing some realities based on my experiences as a giddy tourist diver for many years...

1. Your Scuba Tank Contains 100% Oxygen

Jun V Lao, Photography, Scuba Diving
A dive center is not a hospital, those scuba tanks are filled with compressed air, the air you breath daily, not 100% 02
A scuba tank contains compressed air, just the regular air you breath which is 21% Oxygen and 79% nitrogen. This should have been discussed while taking your first try dive but some participants really don't pay attention or more realistically couldn't remember since you are introduced to a plethora of new things. (We are human, we can only absorb so much in one session). So next time you bump into a someone who shares he dove with Oxygen, you can politely correct him/her and share its just compressed air

2. You Dive really Deep to see more fish

Jun V Lao, Underwater Photography, Scuba Diving, Scuba Instructor
Manta Ray hovering at 30 feet, taken at Manta Point, Nusa Penida Bali
Scuba diving has always been associated with going deep. Don't take this too literally. Pretty Ocean wildlife can be observed best from 10- 30 feet. There are exceptions on going really deep, like see a certain species of shark or wrecks resting well beyond the norms of recreational diving, but most of the time, you'll just see sand and rocks, do that after taking the necessary certifications for going beyond recreational depths (open water- 60ft). As an underwater tourist though, hovering at the 10 ft- 30 ft depth will enable you to dive longer, plus Nemo, Turtles, Shoaling fish and a plethora of other marine wildlife hang around this depth. Every diver is different, but if you want a touristy fun dive, you need not go really deep for fish.

3. You must always hit your objective

Jun V Lao, Underwater Photography, Scuba Diving
I was supposed to shoot a giant seahorse at Sunview, the dive plan, but current hit us, I went with the current, look what I found, a huge baitball or rainbow runners, a serendipitous moment...

While dive pros usually joke about another dive pro for being an idiot not getting their group to the intended dive site, the ocean is the ocean, currents can come at the least expected moment which makes it difficult to reach a site for divers on holiday. Currents are like typhoons, will you go out of your house just to buy a soda when you know an unidentified flying object can hit your car or you anytime, some would, most wont. If current hits, glide with it, miss your target, you'll be glad you did because not only did you conserve your precious energy (a must while scuba diving), most of the time, you surprisingly see something different and special. Don't fight nature, miss the objective, go with the flow and enjoy the drift...

4. I need tons of gear (scuba toys) to be safe 

Jun V Lao, Underwater Photography, Scuba Diving
free yourself of useless scuba toys, they are merely distractions....Dive Light
less toys < more fun dives
Through my many years diving, a quick observation about new divers is they pay more attention to buying brand name gear equipment, hang so many scuba trinkets on them they look like a christmas tree underwater. They spend so much on gear they don't need so they think they look good topside and at the end of the day don't have enough funds to join real underwater adventures, and they sell these toys at a whopping loss after months of being dry. Also, having too many gear on you while diving are distractions, diving is fun, but bring down less toys...keep it simple, LESS IS MORE, dive light , free yourself from the hassles and have a safer and more fun diving experience.  

5. My Dive Master is solely responsible for my safety during a dive

Jun V Lao, Underwater Photography, Scuba Diving
A typical fun dive scene, follow your DM but don;t expect him or her to be your nanny, rely on yourself, your buddy and vice versa
A dive master's main responsibility is to orient you about the dive plan, the dive site and lead the dive, not be your personal nanny underwater. There is a reason you paid a lot for your scuba instruction, it trains you to dive safely, independently but ALWAYS with a dive buddy. If you got through school by paying or sweet talking someone for your diploma, it doesn't work that way in diving. Learn the skills, be attentive during your open water course, summarize key points, know where you are weak and work on it, find a dependable and knowledgable dive buddy and have more fun diving knowing you can independently do it as a team. Your dive master is but a guide, can help you remember, assist if your likable enough :). You can always go back to your scuba instructor, he or she will gladly remind you of those seemingly little things taken for granted but important with your growth as a diver. If you think your not being given the proper advice, hit me up lol... Again, buy less toys and dive more, repetition+experience is your best teacher.

This post was intended for those interested to get into diving. For those living and breathing the scuba diver life, it's hard to understand that scuba diving for the majority may occupy just less than 1% of a persons lifetime, but it is the reality. Scuba diving can become a lifestyle, but its really just one of the activities people choose to get away from it all, lets leave it the way it should be, a fun recreational sojourn for anyone looking for a new adventure. Its not how much you train or what gear you have, its all about enjoying your time underwater, learning something new and making new friends in the process...

BUT I CAN'T SWIM

A Discover Scuba diving session does not require you to know swimming... but if you enjoyed it much and want to progress into a certified open water diver, you should learn it... we are creatures of necessity, we easily learn when we are committed... :D

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