Aug 01 2009

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Published by at 1:24 pm under Uncategorized

Okay, the headline may be a bit over the top. My daughter just finished her final open water dives for her SCUBA certification. (She took the course through her high school as last semester’s PE requirement, how cool is that?) I was out there to watch part of that. I used to be a pretty avid diver myself, and logged maybe 150 dives (don’t have my logbook handy for the exact number) before I stopped bothering to log them. Deep, night, cave, wreck, ice, reef — I’ve done most of it except mixed-gas, which wasn’t an option for sport divers in my day. But it’s been a while since then.

There hasn’t been much in the way of dive-related science fiction, unless you count some of Clive Cussler’s novels as SF, or James Cameron’s movie The Abyss. That’s changed some in recent years, with the likelihood of oceans under the ice of moons like Europa, and Alastair Reynolds and others have set interesting stories there. Certainly any terraformed planet is going to have oceans and lakes, with all kinds of exotic flora and fauna. (By the way, to get a real feel for just how alien life can be even on Earth, take a look at the marine invertebrates, sponges, worms and the like that live in our oceans — sometimes it’s hard to tell the fauna from the flora!)

Watching my daughter’s class gear up for their dives got me itching to get back in the water again, so I just signed up with a local dive store for a skills refresher (my doctor’s already signed off on it). That’s next weekend. The last time I was in SCUBA gear was over 15 years ago, in a neutral buoyancy tank at Space Camp (the UAT, Underwater Astronaut Trainer); I’m looking forward to this.

3 comments so far

3 Responses to “Dive! Dive! Dive!”

  1. Brad R. Torgersenon 03 Aug 2009 at 12:17 pm

    What kind of cost is involved in getting SCUBA certified?

    I’ve always wanted to do that!

  2. Alastairon 04 Aug 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Well, it ain’t cheap. Oh, the lessons themselves aren’t too bad, but by the time you buy the basic gear (you can rent everything, but you’ll probably want at least your own mask, fins and snorkle for best fit, comfort etc) and rental for open water dives, it’s getting up there.

    It can probably be done for about $500, including gear rental for the open water dive (it’s usually included with the pool part of the class). Some places will have fairly inexpensive intro sessions to try it out.

    Of course like any sports equipment, there’s no upper limit on what you can spend, but figure a couple of grand if you want all your own gear. (If you’re an avid diver like I was in my younger days that pays for itself vs renting.)

    Check your local dive shops, most of them have web sites.

  3. Alastairon 06 Sep 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Just noticed that I hadn’t followed up after the refresher. It went, uh, swimmingly. 😉 Took a bit for the working the repetitive dive tables (to avoid decompression sickness) to come back to me, and there’s the added complication of diving at altitude or driving through the mountains on the way back from a dive, but most of it came back pretty quickly. The underwater exercises were a breeze, and it was nice to confirm that most of my old gear still works fine.