By: Capt. Lawren McCaghren
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is not an exaggeration to say that scuba lessons were the best gift I ever received. My parents gave me scuba lessons for Christmas in 1985, when I was fifteen years old. I was that kid that never missed a Jacques Cousteau television special and watched ‘”Flipper” every week dreaming of being able to live a life on and under the water.
Before I even finished my lessons I was working at the dive shop after school. Sweeping floors, hanging up dripping wetsuits and filling tanks doesn’t sound like fun to most, but I was having a blast, just being around diving. Fast-forward 28 years and I am still working in a dive shop, enjoying my dream job.
Giving someone an “experience” for a wedding, birthday, anniversary or Christmas gift insures that your present won’t be tossed in a storage shed and forgotten. It is a great way to nudge a friend into trying scuba to introduce them to a world that you have already discovered. The best way to get more opportunities to dive is to have lots of dive buddies.
The most common complaint we hear from divers is, “It is hard to find someone to go diving with”. The best way to meet other divers is to DIVE and hang out where divers go. We are always introducing people in the shop and the Gulf Coast Diving Society is a local dive club that meets regularly for just this purpose. The easiest way to have a dive buddy you know and trust is to get a buddy you know and trust, certified to dive. The more divers you know, the more Friday afternoon invitations you get to go diving this weekend.
Talk about a memorable first-date. We have had many couples come to our $24 scuba experience session for a unique date. It is more exiting and memorable than the boring, “dinner and a movie”. All you need is a bathing suit, towel and a sense of adventure, we handle the rest and since our 15′ deep in-store pool is heated, we dive comfortably year ’round.
Scuba diving is a great way to introduce your family to the wonders of the underwater world and from exploring your local dive sites grows an interest in international travel. For many, diving becomes a lifetime recreation where you can pursue interests in travel, photography, spearfishing marine biology and conservation. It can provide thrilling adventures or the relaxation of floating…weightless. Many anglers are interested in the behavior of fish to learn how to better target specific species when fishing. The direction you take your scuba experience depends where your personal interests lead you. Water is a great equalizer and you can have many different sizes and strengths in family members and still be on equal “ground” underwater.
Whether it is a thrilling adventure or peaceful, relaxing escape, diving has something for everyone. Don’t keep saying, “One day” forever…make this the year that you decide to start living life and experience new things.
Call Gulf Coast Divers at (251) 342-2970 and ask about dive training, spearfishing and underwater videography. Training can be completed in a couple weeks and you can be geared up and ready sooner than you think. Then you can grab your Sealife camera and be uploading You Tube videos after your first trip.