50 Ways To Challenge Yourself As A Scuba Diver

23rd Jan 2017
Photo By David B. Fleetham
Photo By David B. Fleetham

We’ve all had that moment. Whether sitting around the liveaboard dinner table or in the resort pool, we hear another diver tell a story that sparks something … call it inspiration. Call it envy. Whatever it is, there’s no going back. Once this seed of a new adventure has been planted, we start connecting dots. Finding a good instructor for an advanced course. Looking for a buddy to share in an exotic expedition. Shopping for gear or airline tickets or both. Just as it should be. Because we didn’t come this far in our underwater journey to quit. The only way to go is forward. No matter how many dives you’ve logged or miles you’ve traveled, there’s always a way to improve your craft and fall in love with the sport all over again. We’ve chosen 50 wrecks, animal encounters, unique dives and training courses to reignite your passion.

We've selected our 10 favourite ways!

2. Archaeological Diving

Divers can go face to face with submerged statues off the coast of Italy. Elsewhere in the world, you’d need to be at least an archaeology graduate student to witness underwater artifacts dating back to the first century.

8. Dive from a Helicopter

The helicopter door opens and it begins. Wind rushes in and perception narrows. Temporary deafness ensues. Divers sit ready, but in a position different from most giant strides: They must carry, not wear, their mask and fins. The dive site sits 20 feet below.

10. Freediving

Freedivers often describe a high that most tank toters haven’t experienced.

11. Dive in Open Ocean with Sharks

Divers might think a shark dive is a shark dive, but the experience with oceanic whitetips deviates from the expected. The typical shark dive involves divers kneeling on sand - or in some cases, looking out from inside a cage - whereas this bluewater encounter can invoke vertigo as divers’ heads spin to track incoming guests.

12. Go a Little Deeper

Like Sergeant Major, First Cathedral has a large archway. The deeper of the two dives at 70 feet, First Cathedral is a more complex warren of caverns, pinnacles and rooms - and with more nooks come more marine life, from whitetip reef sharks to green turtles, seeking sanctuary.

16. Help Coral Restoration

First, divers practice with Play-Doh. The child’s toy has the same texture and give as the all-natural marine epoxy that the Coral Restoration Foundation - an organization in Key Largo, Florida, that is dedicated to regrowing reefs - relies on to anchor coral branches to new homes. In the water, divers must first clean the reef of algae, then affix the corals. It’s the chance to observe firsthand how quickly corals grow, plus understand the most harmful stressors and the challenges each coral species faces. The CRF has six nurseries off Key Largo - the largest is 1.5 acres with 300 coral trees - and it welcomes divers to come for one- and two-day programs. Internationally, the program is offered in Bonaire at Buddy Dive Resort and in Curaçao at Ocean Encounters.

19. Experience the Galapagos

One of the world’s most challenging dive spots is, in a way, also one of the easiest.

The converging currents that make the Galapagos Islands so species rich are also responsible for ramming divers right off the reef - and into blue water and beyond.

22. Hunt Lionfish

Snagging these non-endemic reef razers in the Caribbean and western Atlantic becomes easier with the right gear. Start with a spear that has barbs on the ends of the tips to ensure your dinner doesn’t wiggle free.

24. Dive Under the Ice

Unpredictability is the greatest danger of marine ice diving - that is, swimming alongside icebergs and floe edges of places such as Antarctica.
The easiest rule is to think of ice as alive. Each is always shifting, rolling and breaking apart. Moreover, icebergs are so large that they appear to be fixed points, but that’s an illusion, much like standing on a train as the one on the next track departs. So it is with bergs. Keep your eyes glued to one, and only your ears alert you to the fact that you’re moving. But don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the residents you might meet in this frigid locale: starfish, soft corals, jellyfish, sea squirts and more.

48. Dive at Altitude

The numbers that make altitude dives challenging aren’t the ones you’d think. Dive computers automatically factor elevation, so divers needn’t do much more than be aware of limited bottom time. The bigger issue is temperature. Mountain-fed rivers or lakes come spring can be significantly colder, further shortening dive times. Why go? Places such as Switzerland’s Verzasca River not only have gorgeous water-carved granite formations, but that frigid, clear water also grants epic views.

Read the full article here and find your favourite ways to improve your diving!

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