When you think of most sports you think about people coming together. That is what happens with scuba diving – in a way.
Diving starts out as a group activity. Divers get together at the beach, on the lakeshore, or aboard a boat. Each diver enters the water close to the same time as all the others. And they begin their dive as a group. Or at least as a team of two or more dive buddies.
One of the first things you learn in basic open water training classes is never dive alone. Always dive with a buddy.
But after you jump into the water, and start your descent, you become a loner. No matter how many other divers surround you.
We join our local scuba clubs for the comradery, and to hook up with other divers so we always have a buddy to go diving with.
The dive club offers lots of social activity.
One club I belong to gets together every two months at a local restaurant where we have dinner and then a club meeting.
The January meeting each year is a business meeting where we discuss diving schedules for the year to come, form committees to plan various activities, and talk about other business related club stuff.
Each of the other meetings we invite speakers in to give scuba related lectures to the group. Recent examples include lectures on underwater photography, rebreather technology and use, and diving with vintage scuba gear.
The club also has a Christmas party in December.
During the warmer months (this club is located in Indiana) we schedule a dive for each month. Normally we have a pitch-in type lunch, and make a day of those dives. Sometimes we even turn the dive event into a weekend camping adventure with diving for a couple days, including night dives.
But as I said once you enter the water you are alone. Sure you have your buddy to help you out, or to help out, in case of an emergency. But unless you, and at least one other diver near you, know sign language you won’t have much of a conversation underwater.
Most divers don’t know how to talk with their hands.
You quickly get interested in something along a wall, in the coral, or on the bottom. Suddenly you’re all by yourself with no company other than your thoughts.
And you get lost in interest for what you’re studying.
For a period you forget all about the other divers around. You don’t really even see them until your air, or your buddy’s air, runs low. And it’s time to head for the surface — dive over.
Yes, this sport brings people together.
But once you’re in the water scuba diving becomes a solitary activity.