One of the cardinal rules of diving, regardless of certifying agency, is to always dive with a buddy. You know, that one person who is the security blanket for all of your underwater adventures? Everything about them is familiar: how much air they will use, funky underwater hand signals, their gear's age, and what type of topside drinks you'll share after the dive. But could this familiar relationship be healthy for your dive skills in the long term?
Successful scuba divers must develop a number of personal qualities, confidence being chief among them. Flexibility is a close second. Each trip into the underwater realm takes the diver to another level of confidence and flexibility as they engage with the unfamiliar and expand their problem solving and self monitoring abilities. In the early stages of our dive career, having a reliable and experienced dive buddy provides the relationship needed to build confidence and rapidly develop underwater skills. And just as the student eventually outgrows the teacher, the diver outgrows needing the same dive buddy.
Some call them 'growing pains', others call it 'learning to dance'. Eventually, every scuba diver experiences that dive trip where they were able to dive and their buddy wasn't. Don't let a buddy's absence be a deterrence - a new skill opportunity lies ahead. Diving with an unfamiliar buddy is a chance to practice a few topside skills like quickly getting to know someone, revisiting standard dive preparations, a new way of donning gear, or an introduction to advanced dive activities such as species counts or photography.
Like colorful bouquets, experienced divers come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of experience. At times, one may be the more experienced diver and find themselves sharing knowledge, while at other times, one may find themselves gazing like an infatuated school child at a new buddy who has logged more than 6000 dives. These experiences help divers understand that there is a time to learn and a time to teach.
Flexibility combined with confidence can take the willing scuba diver to exotic waters. To build these qualities, consider diving with a new buddy. Each new dive experience washes away complacency, reignites our passion for growth in our sport, and sharpens our focus on safety and procedure. Expand your buddy list - a bouquet of dive buddies await you!