There’s an old saying that goes, “When fishermen can’t go to sea, they mend their nets.” And while not all divers are fishers, one thing that unites us all right now is that we can’t go to sea. It’s a frustrating and uncertain time, and most of us are keenly feeling our gills as they dry up for want of a dive.
We at DeeperBlue.com don’t have any special magic for getting you into the water any sooner, but we do have some suggestions for how to make the most of the time you’re spending on the shore. Now’s the perfect time to catch up on all of the housekeeping, the brushing up, and even some of the dreaming that we often let fall by the wayside when we’re juggling the demands of everyday life and our passion for diving.
Deep Clean Your Kit
For those of us that own our gear and dive regularly, cleaning is (hopefully) a regular step in the process. But aside from the obligatory hose-down or soak after a long day of diving, we may put off the deep-down, top-to-toe cleaning that keeps our environmental protection and life support equipment lasting dive after dive. Now’s the perfect time to clean out the bladder of your BCD, to lubricate the countless zippers on your boots and suits, and to mend any nicks or small holes in your neoprene. Stay tuned for an upcoming DB feature that’ll walk you through the process from beginning to end.
While you’re treating your gear to some intensive TLC, it’s a great time to look over everything with your keenest eye. Check to see that your o-rings are in good shape, that your BCD is holding air, that your gear-retractors actually retract. Replace the batteries in your lights and your computer, and the bands and tips for your speargun. Go through your save-a-dive kit to make sure it’s fully stocked. Do you need some zip ties, a couple of bolt snaps, or some grease for your o-rings? Use the money you’d normally be spending on fills to shore up your emergency supplies.
If you’ve been thinking about taking your dive education to the next level, you can start the learning process without leaving your house. Most certifying agencies in the industry have the classroom portion of their classes available online – both RAID and SSI have announced e-Learning opportunities. Get up to speed on the theory, so that when the lockdowns lift, you’ll be ready to hop right into the pool or giant stride into the deep. Many agencies are offering discounts on their electronic training materials right now, so be sure to ask around.
While you’re at it, consider going over the course materials from the classes you’ve already taken. Spend your time away from the ocean refreshing your knowledge of technique, safety procedures, and even theory. If you can’t remember the difference between Boyle’s Law, Henry’s Law, and Dalton’s Law, now’s your chance to get it all straight.
One of our DeeperBlue.com team, Bethy Miller, is an instructor with a great story of how she mastered the frog kick. Determined to get it down and cement it into her muscle-memory, she hauled out her inflatable exercise ball and set it up in front of the tv. She put on her fins, got herself into a streamlined dive position, and practiced her kick, over and over and over. All her hard work has paid off — Bethy’s been deep in some of the craziest caves around, which requires the most precise finning technique to avoid silting out the space.
Now’s a great time to take a page out of Bethy’s book and work on your own kick patterns. When the bans all lift, rather than having to cope with atrophied skills, you’ll be hitting the water like a pro.
Freedivers – Work on Your Breathing
Even if you can’t get to a pool, lake, or ocean, you can still hone your skills from your couch. When you’re feeling lonesome for the ocean, work through your static tables. There are loads of free apps that’ll help you keep track, and by the time it’s beach season again, your bottom time will be amazing! Also, consider taking a breathing course like Dr. Stig Severinsens Breatheology.
Instructors – Design New Specialties
Are you a local pro in some kind of niche diving? Is there an unusual dive in your area that requires special skills to properly enjoy? Put that expertise to good use, and spend your lockdown time finally putting together that specialty course you’ve been dreaming about. Between packed teaching schedules, fun dives, and the rest of our lives, this is one of those ambitions that often gets shelved for a future moment when we finally have the time. Well, the time to make your special mark on the dive community has come!
Underwater Photographers – Clean Up Your Hard Drive and Do Some Editing
If you’re like many of us here at DeeperBlue.com, you have a passion for underwater imaging, and many terabytes of photos to prove it. But not all of them are winners–some are blurry, others have no discernible subject, and remember the time you accidentally had your GoPro set to ten-shot bursts? It’s a safe bet that you have hundreds, maybe even thousands of photos that are never going to make it to print. With all this downtime, why not grab a drink, make a comfy spot on the couch, and get rid of all that detritus clogging up your hard drive? You’re sure to run across amazing images you forgot all about, which you can add to the queue of other great shots that are just waiting for you to find the time to edit them…
Plan Your Next Dive Trip
If you could dive anywhere right now, where would you go? Which destinations or dive experiences are on your bucket list? Right now, you’ve got the freedom to dream as big as you want. While away the hours researching the best locations, dive shops, and experiences for your trip. Ask your dive buddies about their favorite places and can’t-miss dives. Dream big. Once travel opens back up, airlines, hotels, and resorts are going to really want your business and be willing to make some great deals. Make sure you’re poised to get back in the water with a huge splash!
Get Involved in Conservation
As a diver, you’ve probably heard of or seen plenty of organizations that are committed to ocean conservation. There are some really great causes out there, and maybe you’ve been meaning to check them out to see how you can help. Now that you’ve got plenty of time to surf the internet, why not pick a few causes that interest you and look deeper into them? There are plenty of things you can do from home, from buying merch that supports a cause, to writing to your state representative to protest or support a new law. Maybe you’ve got some photos of manta rays stored away that you could submit to a manta tracking program. There are so many ways for you to give back to the sea that’s given so much to you. Even if you can’t go out and change the world, there’s no reason you can’t stay in and do it.
We know that it’s tough to be grounded when your veins are full of brine. Staying home and caring for ourselves and loved ones is the most responsible, generous, and proactive thing we can do right now. It may not be the season for us to go to sea, but we’ve got plenty of nets to mend, and future adventures to plan. Use the time wisely, so that when the tide turns you’ll be ready for it to carry you all the way home.