SCUBA DIVING: A LIFE STYLE
Check out this article written by Hawaii Eco Divers Director of Training, Loren Kearney, about his scuba diving career and its amazing surprises and challenges
What does diving mean to me? Diving is my EVERYTHING. Without diving, I’d be a lost soul aimlessly wandering the earth. Approximately one decade ago, I took an oath and made a career decision to become a scuba instructor and professional Diver. That decision has turned me into a globe trotter, taking me around the world while introducing to some amazing characters; some human, some aquatic.
Diving is a lifestyle. It’s in our heritage, it’s in our blood and the thought of diving rarely travels distant from our minds. We are a unique breed of individuals. When given the chance, a diver will always talk story. We’ll share our experiences, quite often over a roar of laughter. Generally, we’re happy, confident and eager individuals. As a diver, I find myself connected to watermen and waterwomen by natural selection. Often I’ll find myself surfing and between waves recapping my diving events and experiences of the day to anybody kind enough to lend an ear and listen to my rambling. I’ll discuss environmental conditions and it’s outlook in the near future. Divers tend to pay special attention to the environment. As an example, I clearly remember this summer’s unusual amount of rain. Why was I concerned? For the same reasons that most North Shore divers were concerned… We knew the river at Waimea bay would breach, pouring its clay red water into the ocean, which would adverely effect visibility. Being a diver means constantly monitoring environmental issues and conditions, while having tremendous respect and knowledge for the ocean’s power and a respect for the creatures inhabiting it’s waters.
As a Scuba Instructor, we encounter all levels of divers. We’ll take out first timers ready to take their first plunge, to tech divers as well as other dive professionals. A professional dive instructor must be fluid in adjusting their attitude. We must remain compassionate with the novice diver, helping them overcome personal hesitations, fears and reservations. At first, diving can be scary and overwhelming for many individuals. However, a dive instructor provides a calming presence, praises accomplishments, confronts difficulties and errors and develops a sense of how and when to push or motivate a discouraged student. Watching a student diver’s growth and desire to overcome their fears is priceless to a dive instructor. It is our fuel to keep pushing forward with our careers. Always alert, always thinking and an incredible knact to solve problems on the spot, a good dive instructor has an uncanny ability to switch gears in a moments notice. A great dive instructor open his field of vision, trusts his or her instincts and understands the learning process is infinite. Often enough, our students present us with new experiences and challenges which broaden our knowledge. These new experiences make us better dive instructors. Knowledge truly is power.
When I first discovered diving I’d talk story with my friends about my experiences. Soon after, I discovered the power of underwater photography. I realized that a picture has an ability to tell it’s story without my personal narration. A decade later, thousands of photos and thousands of dollars have been invested in this craft. Over the years, these photos have been used to promote conservation, to make the public aware of environmental concerns through social media, and donated to non profits so proceeds could be used to ensure the preservation of our oceans and it’s inhabitants for future generations. A successful underwater photograph wows its audience or delivers a powerful message. If these characteristics of a photo have been met, I find it to be successful. Underwater photography plays an important role in my life as a diver.
What I love most about diving is the sense of freedom. Diving is limitless. Exploration has no boundaries. Diving education and experiences are infinite. Being a dive instructor affords me an opportunity to make a positive impact on another’s life while offering me an opportunity to look back with a smile on my face while exclaiming “Whoa! What a ride it’s been.” I truly cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. Diving is my everything.
More importantly: what does diving mean to YOU?
Director of Training – Hawaii Eco Divers
Photos by Loren Kearney