I learned to scuba dive in the most idiotic way possible, IMHO.
In March 2011, I travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where I snorkeled on a dive boat. I was astounded by then number of divers who were more mature and larger in size than me. “If they can do it and not die, so can I,” I told myself.
A few months later, I began my scuba training close to home in Vancouver, British Columbia.
I was too stupid to realize it would be EASIER to learn to dive in warm water, in say, Mexico or Fiji or Southeast Asia.
Nope, I had to do it the hard way. In 48 degree F (8 C) green water and in a bulky drysuit with twice the amount of lead needed to weigh me down compared with warm water diving.
I passed the requirements and headed south to the turquoise water. Diving in B.C. only occasionally, and only because I had impulse bought cold water dive gear.
After a horrid cold water dive trip two years ago, I blew a raspberry to the cold, green water. I was sick of the heavy gear, of diving from shore and routinely falling on slippery rocks. I was hopeless putting on my fins. My equipment didn’t feeling right and I hated having to rent tanks and return them to the dive shop the same day – when I was tired and bruised. It was a hassle. On top of all that, I was having shitty dives because of buoyancy problems. I was also too cold underwater and too hot on the surface in all my thermal undies.
Travelling to hot places to dive in warm water was a lot more fun. (Underwater time in warm water: 50 to 60 minutes. In cold water: 35 to 45 minutes).
I blame my wonderful, scuba diving orthodontist for getting me back into the green water this year. Held captive in the chair in his clinic, he would regale me with stories of great dives in our neck of the woods.
Even Jacques Cousteau liked diving in B.C. (remember him and the Calypso?).
So I’m back at it. I’ve replaced some of the problematic gear and bought a tank of my own. The dive shops in Victoria, Vancouver and Burnaby are fantastic. Now, that I’ve spent even more money, I’m determined to dive in my backyard. I’ve also given up shore diving. Although it costs more, I’m boat diving now.
The vessel is called the Topline. She’s docked at Horseshoe Bay, a 30 minute drive from downtown Vancouver. The owners also do kayaking and snorkeling trips. I’ve made three trips in recent months. More are being booked. Glad-ish to be back in the chilly Pacific!