Stuck on land but dreaming of being in the water? If, like us, you’re spending most of your time at home right now, there are still ways to get your diving fix — and stay connected to the rest of the diving community. Here are a few ideas, including training agencies, your local dive center and a look beyond these.
In athletics, there is a saying that athletes are made in the off-season. While you can’t quite learn to dive on land, there are plenty of things you can learn about diving, even if you are currently self-isolating due to the coronavirus.
An obvious place to start looking is the training agency of your choice. Many offer eLearning options and, over the past week or so, many have also made these options either cheaper to access or even free of charge. Why is it a good idea to sign up for the eLearning portion of a course now, even if you’re not yet a diver? First of all and quite simply: because you have time.
Under normal circumstances, many of us would try to cram an hour of eLearning into an evening. That gets you through the course, but you are unlikely to retain much of the information. Taking time to concentrate fully on the subject will result in you learning or retaining more.
Second, it uses some of the time you have in the day. Be honest: after a few days of Netflix, the novelty is about to wear off. Having an eLearning course to complete is a great way to add structure to your day, which has been identified as one of the main ways to look after your mental health.
Finally, this is an investment in your diving future. The knowledge you pick up now will not go to waste. You will apply it either to complete the course you started or to become a better diver.
So, where to start? Training agencies are the obvious place to look for online learning, but don’t forget your local dive center. With social distancing or even lockdowns, these small businesses will be hurting, especially as their ways of generating income are limited. However, as members of training agencies, they often buy eLearning access at a lower price than you can directly. Why not ask if you can pay a deposit locally that not only gives you access to a course now, but also secures a space in the course as soon as the center is up and running again? For the dive center, this means some income now and something to look forward to.
If you are already a certified diver, look beyond training agencies. There is a whole world of diving-related knowledge and information out there, including courses, instructional videos and more.
For many this is a time for self-reflection, creating an opportunity to look at the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of your diving. The Human Diver, for example, offers online micro-classes and webinars that look at how and why errors occur. While the initial concept comes from high-risk industries such as aviation, the idea is not to simply talk about mistakes, but to look at what created the circumstances that led to the diver’s specific decision. The concepts explained here may not lead to another certification card, but they are applicable to many other aspects of our daily lives where we need to make decisions or work together in teams.
Speaking of difficult decisions, many new divers use a lot of air compared to their more seasoned buddies or even instructors. And while introductory courses do cover breathing, scubapsyche is offering a free online course that not only covers what deep breathing really is, but also explains how breathing helps you stay calm in stressful situations — something everyone can benefit from at the moment.
If you want to explore the subject further, scubapsyche’s PADI Psychological Diver distinctive specialty course has just been approved for online-only learning, meaning you can actually pick up a certification card for it.
Inspirational viewing and listening
These past days or weeks may have been a great opportunity to catch up with recent movies and binge watch your favorite drama to distract yourself, but what about watching or listening to something truly inspiring?
The selection is endless, and you could spend entire days bookmarking YouTube videos before even starting to watch anything. Personally, I enjoy sidemount diving and while nothing beats a course with an experienced instructor, there are both free and for-purchase videos. Sidemounting.com offers a renowned, comprehensive series of videos to buy, covering sidemount as well as backmount diving. On the more extreme end of sidemount diving, Sidemount Silesia shows Thomasz Michura diving up to 10 tanks using multiple BCDs.
For those looking for some inspiring (and free) listening while you are sorting through your diving equipment, for example, check out diving-related podcasts on your phone or tablet. One of our favorites is Speaking Sidemount, which is so much more than the title would suggest. You’ll hear some proper diving legends, as well as passionate sidemount instructors and explorers. There is some great inspiration there for those looking to try a different kind of diving, as well as anyone interested in hearing about some of the latest exploration projects.
Speaking of exploration, cave diver and explorer Jill Heinerth runs her own podcast, Into the Planet. One of her most recent episodes covers being an explorer stuck at home. A contradiction of terms maybe but fascinating, nonetheless. And what better excuse than social distancing to indulge your interest in finding out about caves, how to become an explorer and so much more. So while we may not be able to get in the water right now, we can still scratch that diving itch digitally.