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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hopkinson

Another day at the office

It's like another day at the office, only the office is the waters of Roatan and the Meso American Barrier Reef system, the second largest barrier reef in the world, which is just chock full of incredibly diverse marine life. And the work is teaching another hominid how to breathe underwater, and more importantly, how to relax and have fun while breathing underwater. Which I guess kind of makes it the anti-office. That's what Roatan is like, though.

But, like the UDC (Utila Dive Center -- the amazing PADI Career Development Center where we did our DiveMaster internships what feels like lifetimes ago) t-shirt says, Leave Only Bubbles. Diving is a little more complicated than that, but not really. I mean SCUBA diving is basically about just taking it easy and breathing compressed air underwater. In and out, through the mouth. Mostly.

So yeah, for those non-divers reading this, it's not oxygen in our tanks. That would be bad. Like, potentially fatal. It's just air. Same as we all breathe on the surface. But it's compressed because it's in a closed cylinder and it gets exposed to the pressure of the depths. But it's Just air, like what we normally breathe. Unless you're doing NItrox or Tec in which case you're on special blends of gases.

Course, my former student, now having exhibited mastery of a wide range of skills, isn't ready for Tec yet, but his improvement in buoyancy, trim, and overall awareness in the past few days is utterly AMAZING. He's now comfortably fun diving, literally doing things he could not have imagined doing just a few short days ago, like watching me nail an invasive lionfish on the north side of the island yesterday.

Some students go from A-Z in no time, others trudge along at a snail's pace, others proceed in fits and starts, a little here, a lot there, none at times, then all at once. To paraphrase PADI, every student learns at their own rate.

I've had some students that seemingly don't need an instructor they're so good, and I've had others that are so challenged it seems like they're never going to get certified. Most fall into the middle, into the gray area where they're good enough to get by but not amazing by any yardstick, caught in the trap between proficient and perfection. My latest student was a combination of both, great at some things and a bit challenged by others. But aren't we all challenged by some things? What he was all the time was game, by which I mean motivated, determined to learn how to dive.

It's really all you need. The desire to do it. People with all kinds of disabilities dive. People with all kinds of physical limitations dive. People without arms dive, people without legs dive. Some seemingly dive with half a brain. Because I know that's how SCUBA divers (and to a lesser extend, free divers) seem to people who have never done it before. Like we're crazy. I mean, who would want to breathe underwater, right? You'll never know until you try it, though.

It's like opening a door to another world, one that you didn't even really know was there.

A world that's threatened, some would argue one that's dying. I'm not going to say go see the reef before it's gone, but maybe you should. Take a look at the pillar coral in this picture below. Some of it is healthy, but some is not.

It doesn't have to be in Roatan. Or in the Caribbean. There's reef all over. It's gorgeous here, but the same can be said for quite a number of places around the world.

Go see it while it's still there and help spread the word that we need to help save it.

Because seeing pictures of the reef, hell watching 4K videos of the reef isn't the same experience as coming face to face with the Meso American Barrier Reef in all the sheer majesty that it exudes. The reef is a cathedral to creation that people often overlook, a natural testament to the glory of this world.

If you want to give SCUBA diving a try, we can do the Discover SCUBA program. If you want to get back into diving after an absence and need to hone your skills, we have the ReActivate program. If you want to dive right into getting certified, then we can do the Open Water program. We can also do more advanced courses if that's your thing. If you're already certified, we can just go fun diving, hitting some of the lesser trafficked sections of the reef where we'll be the only divers in sight. All courses are private, taught by certified PADI Specialty Instructors and custom-designed to fit within your island schedule. Come DIve With Us!

1 Comment

May 20, 2019

Great article Steve. Thank you again. I could not have progressed from student to Certified Open Water Diver without you and all your patience.

I’m looking forward to taking the next steps as an Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver, with City Dog Sailing.

Thanks again Steve and Andrea. And as you said it’s “another day at the office”


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