In the Before Time

I miss wearing a single AL80.


I miss being mesmerized by the riot of colors and behaviors of reef life.


I miss thinking that doing 5 dives a day was a dream vacation.


For the vast majority of us we find out way into technical diving by way of tropical vacations. The weightlessness, the exoticness, that crystalline cerulean water, the romance of visiting an alien world.


For me (and I’m guessing a great many of you) these were the things that bewitched me.

But then it all shifted.


In my case it was quite sudden. I was cajoled into taking a cavern class and, by the end of the 5 day course (yeah... a 5 day cavern course) I knew I wanted to be a cave diver.

It was not something I expected. Frankly, I thought cave diving sounded stupid, reckless, claustrophobic, and otherwise ghastly in absolutely every way. But it grabbed me tight nonetheless.


Once that door was opened I started getting curious about this mysterious tech diving. A concurrent move back to my native New Jersey with a desire to keep diving spurred this on even harder.


While diving in Jersey/NY of course I would do two dives a day. And as I started visiting Florida and Mexico I’d do two dives. These were longer and deeper dives, so the logistics of more than two were typically unworkable. But I always wanted to do more.

Because “YEAY DIVING!!”


But, oddly, even that eventually faded. I am quite content doing one long dive and then calling it a day.* “One and done.”


I sometimes worry this means my ardor for our game has faded in a way. But that is almost certainly overthinking things. Diving continues to be just about the only thing I think about, it’s the only thing I’m usually interested in talking about to the point of dreary narrow-mindedness when I wind up talking to “normies.” I actually find things that aren’t related to diving quite boring.


So if it isn’t a lack of interest, what is it? Access, perhaps? I can (and do) go diving any time I like. I dive for work, I dive for pleasure, I sometimes dive just because there’s nothing else going on. So I don’t NEED to cram as many dives into my week as possible.


But it happened before I lived with this sort of access.


It’s probably laziness. Having to change tanks and climb up stairs just to go back down stairs. Getting in and out of a drysuit. Blech!


Or perhaps it’s just evolution. And that’s what I’m sitting here wondering about the most. How people make these sorts of shifts? Why?


What is it about we mutants that we decided that the reef just wasn’t enough? That a single AL80 wasn’t nearly heavy and cumbersome enough; that we needed to wear WAY more shit?


Are we actually the daredevils popular culture makes us out to be? Are we just gear-nerds who like to tinker with fussy, esoteric junk? Hell, I dunno. Why and when did you decide that tech diving was going to be your thing?


Obviously some combination of several or all of these and more. It’s just funny, though, ain’t it? How much easier (and affordable) life would be if we didn’t bother with all this? If we could just go back to basics, and fall back in love with 40’ reef bimbles to visit all the pretty fish?


But what fun would that be?


—————————— * Though I may not be doing 5 dives a day, my idea of that one long dive is anywhere from 3-8 hours.

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