The Scuba Fix

ARE YOU LONGING FOR SOMEONE to look you in the eyes and utter those three precious words? The words that will lift your heart and make you feel glad to be alive?

Oh, it’s been such a long time. Too long. Sometimes you just need to hear those three words to feel that everything is right with the world.

We’re going diving! As I write those words, a thousand imaginary emojis leap from the page and dance around my head. Diving is joy. And we all need some joy in our lives.

Let’s be honest, this pandemic and lockdown experience has been a bit of an eye-opener.

No “real-life” socialising, no travel, and obliged to spend way more time than usual inside our own homes. The scariest part? It’s certainly not Covid. It’s that we’ve been locked up with the person who can hurt and annoy us the most: ourselves.

I’ve learned a few things during lockdown that have surprised me.

I’d never thought of myself as religious but my fridge has become an Oracle. When my mind is distracted – that’ll be several times a day – I find myself performing a ritual.

Standing in front of the fridge, bathed in light from the open door, I stare inside as if this will reveal some deeper spiritual insight.

It’s futile. But at least my shopping list is always bang-on accurate.

Less of a surprise is my continuing addiction to news. Working from home, it’s far too easy to form a 24/7 relationship with newspapers, radio and TV news, and social media.

Which leads me to the real revelation from lockdown. The seemingly infinite capacity of people to whinge about their hard-done-by-ness is seriously annoying me.

So, I breathe… and I think instead about diving.

DIVER April 2021

AND WHEN I WENT THROUGH my memories of different dives in different places with different groups and individuals, I realised that people just don’t complain about stuff when they’re diving. It’s actually quite miraculous.

Before the dive, there’s the anticipation. It’s an adventure!

Everyone is busy checking that they have everything, assembling kit, sometimes needing a bit of help. Perfect strangers will donate an O-ring or help to fix a fin-strap.

The excitement always builds on the journey to a dive-site. You would be there only if you really wanted to be there. Even when the wind picks up and the chop from the waves smacks you clean in the face, the thought of complaining will never cross your mind.

On the dive you’re just there; you’re in the moment.

Of course, it would be difficult to whinge with that reg in your mouth, but it just doesn’t occur to you.

Even if you don’t encounter a dolphin. Even if the vis was less than perfect. Even if you missed the wreck – you’re here and it’s all good. There’s no complaint.

And after the dive, everybody has a satisfied kind of glow. Some are chatty, full of tales of their dive. The mug of hot tea is heaven. If you managed to lose your torch, you shrug. If your drysuit wrist-seal leaked so badly that you’re soaked to the armpit, you just laugh.