So you’ve been bit by the Scuba bug; however, like any sport you have to practice your discipline to perform better. A former pitching coach of mine, at our Sunday Boystown pitching clinics would always stress: “practice makes permanent.” There lies the difficulty for a certain community of Scuba divers; how can we practice our sport, when no crystal clear waterways are right out our front doors. This barrier is always on our minds because we are landlocked Scuba divers.
Landlocked Scuba divers have a couple of choices: A) take divecations or B) dive in your backyard. Divecations are the preferred method but they can be costly and a lot of time can elapse before the next vacation. Because of that fact, a lot of divers in this situation find themselves having to constantly take a refresher course, which is even more money. There is of course an alternative choice–dive locally. Dive in your area lakes and rock quarries.
Before my husband and I started diving locally, we joined a Scuba club. I highly recommend doing this first. Your anxiety can be halted with a group dive. Our first local dive was with Greater Omaha Scuba Club (GO SCUBA) [http://www.go-scuba.net/]. They are clearly cognizant of new divers; as GO SCUBA’s veteran divers clearly step up and offer tips for new Landlocked Scuba divers. Clubs also provide message boards telling other Landlocked Scuba divers where local dives are taking place. As I am writing this post, we are club less and on our way to our very first solo landlocked dive at Nebraska’s Sandy Channel Lake (I’ll report on our dive in a later post).
There’s nothing fancy about being a landlocked Scuba diver in the Midwest. Nothing like getting the whiff of lake water to make your nose hairs curl. Invest in a tarp because no beach exists; your gearing up in the weeds literally. A diver down flag will most likely be required for diving in your town’s lakes, too. Most diving is done via beach entry–so you get your sea legs, or in our case, lake legs early. Sandy beaches are preferred over rock ridden one’s in my book. But in our neck of the woods, we have to travel through the muck (rocks and mud) to dive. Be aware, your gear will get mucked up–so special care while cleaning it up is required. The advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages still. Fish identification is pretty easy; especially, for those who fish. As a landlocked diver you can take off at any moment to go diving. A disadvantage–we can only dive comfortably three months out of the year.
In the case of my dive buddy and I, we both prefer A&B. However, we feel that we both are stronger divers because we have taken on the Nebraska and Iowa waters. What a better way to get over fear of cloister phobia than diving in practically zero visibility waters. We get to constantly work with our own gear and work on our Scuba diving fundamentals. Most of all, being a landlocked Scuba diver really gives you a better appreciation for your divecations. Nothing beats the expression on other Scuba diver’s faces when we tell them we’re Nebraskan’s and dive there, too. Keep diving!
Guest Post by Becky Bohan Brown