One of my favorite sayings is, “Always dive with a buddy… It is more fun that way!”
Diving is, or at least it should be, a social activity. You can try to tell somebody just how really big that Giant Black Sea Bass was, but it is so much better for you to share with fellow divers your mutual feelings of awe to be in the presence of such a beast. Diving experiences are something to be shared with fellow divers.
For me the SCUBA Show is the ultimate social gathering for divers. I had a great time this most recent SCUBA Show! I come away from the show hyped up from the buzz about new dive gear, great dive destinations and recent local diving experiences. There is always the greeting of old friends and dive buddies and inevitable trading of sea stories and latest diving adventures. Then, there is the meeting of new friends and buddies. Plans are made for dive trips and the excitement builds.
You learn from one another. Dive techniques are discussed, even debated. It used to be I would learn the most from the old-timers, but now I seem to learn almost as much from newbies with novel approaches to old problems.
But the SCUBA Show is by no means the only place these great exchanges take place. Dive club meeting are probably the best. At these monthly gatherings video films and photos are shared. Plans for the next group diving adventure are kicked about. And life-long friendships are cultivated around the love for the hobby of scuba diving. It is definitely time for you to join a dive club. There are clubs in nearly every part of the state and some specialize in a particular area of activity such as the California Wreck Divers or the regional chapters of the Underwater Photographic Society. For a complete listing of clubs California, Arizona and Nevada see the Dive Club section of this publication.
Dive charter boats are another great place to share experiences and exchange ideas. Step out of your shell and say hello to those who are sharing that particular corner of the ocean with you that day. Maybe they saw something you missed. Maybe they are using a piece of gear that you have been interested in. You might even pick up a new dive buddy for your list.
And finally, there are the ad hoc social gatherings that take place at your local dive stores, usually around the air fill station. Where did you dive this weekend? What did you see? What were conditions like? And then more elaborate conversations follow. It is remarkable how much you can learn in the short time it takes for your tank to fill.
Solo diving has gained some acceptance in recent years but for me, and many others, diving is very much a social activity.