ABF: Always Be Fucking-adjusting-your-buoyancy

Your problem is your buoyancy.


When you stop moving (like, completely… no fin sculling, no {shudder} hand finning… you completely stop moving) do you float up or down? Well, obviously that’s your buoyancy.

Do you dread ascents and descents? Why? Get in front of your buoyancy and they’re as easy as walking across the street.


But wait! There’s more!


Can’t hold position? Buoyancy.


Keep swimming in circles to stay where you want to be? Buoyancy.


Do you keep moving forward and, no matter how much you feel like you’re slowing down, you keep getting kicked in the face by your buddy? Buoyancy.


Does everyone tell you you swim to fast? Buoyancy (probably).


Do you have trouble keeping up? Buoyancy (probably).


Tearing through gas like an uncontrolled pipeline fire?


Can’t stop moving your feet even when you start singing, “Cmon Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!”


Can’t change body position by more than a few degrees without feeling like you are going to bash into the bottom, the coral; the shipwreck, the cave, or the surface?


Do you frequently realize you have no idea where in the fuck you are, much less where in the fuck your buddies are?


When you check your computer or your pressure or stop to take a picture, then you look up to discover the scenery has changed?


When you’re in a class and your instructor asks you to, say, do a valve drill… and they stay in one place while you find yourself visiting several in a whirlwind tour of the whole dive site over ten minutes?


Always fighting (or giving in to) the impulse to hold onto something… anything… for the love of god, please let there be a rock I can grab!!!


Need to keep your knees at a weird angle, or can’t get them out of a weird angle?


Back always hurts as you climb out of the water?


Buoyancy. All of it. And this is the short list.


It’s worth note that I do not separate buoyancy from trim (and, consequently) weighting/balance in my head. So while I’m sitting here with the new kitten screaming “Buoyancy!!!” at her like I’ve got dive-tourettes, there are components like weight placement and gear selection and such that play a part in the piece. It’s all of a piece, though.


An important piece. THE most important piece. Because without it… well, honestly, you got nothing.


Let’s paint the analogy of a 2,000 piece puzzle. “What of?” you ask? I don’t care. Probably a print of a sea turtle? An Alex Grey thing with some blacklight ink in it? Or one of those insufferably cloying Thomas Kinkaid nostalgia concussions?


Without buoyancy it isn’t like you can build the puzzle and be infuriated that you’re missing the single piece in the absolute center or one piece along the top edge, which is simply distracting and unsatisfying.


It’s more like trying to build the puzzle without a table to build it on. Or, perhaps, the only surface available is a crudely-assembled sculpture of Slimer from Ghostbusters made out of used condom catheters and broken snorkel-keepers. On the deck of a dive boat in 8’ seas.


So good luck with that.


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