Source: ScubaDiver Life
Author: Thomas Kempf
People diving for a longer period of time most likely know this feeling. You have experienced a lot of different conditions in terms of current, visibility, diving operations, boat captains and buddies. At one point – as with every hobby (or sometimes addiction) – you ask yourself where to go and what to do next. This is a rather binary approach. One option would be: You stop diving and sell all your equipment. This will, thanks to the fact that you are passionate about this sport, not be the case. So you will continue diving. In this case something will have to change because if not you will be at the same point again and eventually decide to cure your addiction by selling you diving equipment.
Options to advance
What options are if you want to continue diving? You can summarise the options you have to continue diving within these four areas: Do it right, training, missions or technical diving.
Do it right
The “Do it right” approach is a good choice if you want to always get better in terms of positioning, photography, fish and coral identification, spotting things or underwater navigation. You do it the way it should be done and serve as a role model where ever you dive – excellent!
As an instructor you train people to become divers. Someone did exactly this with you when you were breathing from a tank for the very first time! When you are enthusiastic about diving and want to get other people to enjoy the incredible underwater world this is certainly the path you should choose.
If you choose to become a mission based diver you will always have a goal in mind. You want to achieve something. This may be exploring a dive site no one has ever been diving before, marine life research or any other activity which gives you an amount of satisfaction and personal comfort no other way of diving could.
Tec/Trixmix and CCR diving
Last but definitely not least there is the most extreme way to advance in diving: You get into technical diving. This may – depending on the agency you are doing the training with – mean something else. Technical diving refers to all the diving which is beyond recreational limits (deeper 40m, O2 higher than 40%) and involves controlled decompression diving with proper equipment. Another possible way to get into technical diving is to become a Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) diver and learn how to dive almost from scratch again.
Once you get into this kind of diving a whole world of new challenges and new limits will be waiting for you. The price you pay to become a technical diver is: you have to be very patient with yourself and your team, you need to get through a comparably hard training – since you are still doing it as a hobby some people may have to realize this first – and you may find out that you are not made for this kind of diving somewhere in the middle of the training. Be aware that this is a path you have to choose for yourself, you have to accept the risks of this (exploratory) field of diving and you may find new personal limits you have never experienced in this intensity anywhere else so far.