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Scuba Diving: what, why, how, where, and when

I know it has literally been years since I published a new post (the delayed publishing of the Greece post notwithstanding). While management consulting tales could take a life of their own, I thought I would write about my newly acquired obsession hobby instead for my first post after all these years.

As I was starting out scuba diving early last year, I did a bit of research online to arm myself, and I found that most of the articles online were one of two extremes: either they were articles for people who'd never scuba dived before, or they were articles for people who'd done more dives than they could count. My goal here is to share a bit with you what I picked up throughout my journey from the former to the latter. Whether you have no idea what scuba diving involves, or you're an avid diver wondering what my take on the activity and the locations I've visited is, I hope you'll find something in this A-to-Z post of my scuba diving tales.

What, exactly, is involved in scuba diving?

You basically float and breathe underwater through a breather (called a regulator) connected to an air (as in atmospheric, breathing air, not necessarily just oxygen) tank that is strapped on to you. All the other complicated-looking gears serve to allow you to do just that - there is a spare regulator for emergencies, weights so you can go underwater as opposed to float on the top, an inflatable vest (called a BCD) so you can counteract the weights and float underwater - as opposed to be stuck on the ocean floor.

Why would one risk one's life by engaging in such an absurdly dangerous activity?

I've always loved the water, and the ocean. The idea of being able to explore more of it than what I could see on the surface or through snorkeling was compelling to me. Since 70% of the Earth are the oceans, scuba diving opens up so much more of the world to explore. It's an adventure into the unknown.

And the explorations - they are jaw dropping, breathtaking, otherworldly, I have struggled to find words to describe it. It is truly a whole different world down there - even 10-20 meters under the surface, there are landscapes - coral valleys and mountains and plains and formations and tunnels and so on, that stretch as far as the eyes can see - towards a horizon. The wildlife at sea is gorgeous and magnificent - fish of so many different colors and shapes, sharks, turtles, rays, colorful slugs, lobsters, octopuses, the list goes on. The best part is, unlike snorkeling or visiting aquariums, diving allows you to be closer to the vista and sea life, and float any which way. This means you can swim through a colorful coral tunnel with arches of soft corals hanging over you, while graceful eagle rays fly (yes, they fly) through the water above or right next to you. The first time I watched a sea turtle float over by my side to then graze on a coral, I was mesmerized - he was inches away from me and was so happily munching away on his lunch while I hovered right next to him.