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What’s your favourite dive site?




Top 13 Dive Sites According to SDI/TDI/ERDI Staff

by Cris Merz

I was asked to put down a list of the top ten destinations in the Caribbean according to Yelp and decided against it. You can “Yelp” it yourself.

Instead, I wanted to make this article a little more personal, so I went from office to office here at TDI/SDI/ERDI World HQ and asked everyone what their favorite dive site was. Everyone has a favorite dive site or destination and there are usually different reasons for it; historic and sentimental reasons, the awe of the magnificence and amazing, or simply the fact that it had an impact on them personally, career wise or emotionally that was a life changer. As I asked the question, I gave no one time to think about the answer – “First place that pops into your mind – GO!!!” I commanded.

“My Favorite Dive Site” according to World HQ’s Staff, in their own words

Sean Harrison – Nigali Pass, Fiji

Nigali Pass is a narrow passage through a barrier reef on the island of Gau. The site is dived on an incoming tide, and when the tide is right, it’s a fun ride that is action packed. The drop is just on the outside of the reef and as you drift in through the narrow pass (maybe 150’ wide) you are greeted by every possible sighting known, and unknown, to the South Pacific marine life. On these dives there were: schools of Mobula Rays, Potato Groupers, schools of every Anthias there is, Garden Ells, nudibranchs, corals (hard and soft), and sharks – you name the shark and it would be in there. The sharks were of course the biggest attraction.

The walls of the pass were like stadium seating and as divers tucked into their spot on the walls, the sharks got comfortable – and I mean really comfortable. Due to the current flowing through, the sharks were able to swim slowly ahead and pass within an arm’s reach.  At the end of the dive you left your spot on the wall and drifted over into the lagoon over a shallow patch of the most beautiful Cabbage Patch Coral I have ever seen teeming with even more marine life.

Stephanie Miele – Fort Wetherill, Rhode Island

Fort Wetherill brings back many fond memories for me. It was where my first open water dives were done while in college and where I met my husband.  Since those initial open water dives I have been back to Fort Wetherill with my own students, with fun dives with my husband and now I am taking my son to experience the area as well. The water temperature is chilly but I have been able to get some great visibility and experience some very playful seals while diving, which was epic. All in all it is a great site for open water divers, those looking to practice skills, and a very cool pleasure dive.

Ryan Conery – Lowrance, Pompano, Florida

Sitting upright in 210’ of water is the Lowrance. This 420’ Canadian freighter was sunk as an artificial reef off the coast of Pompano Beach, Florida in 1984. Throughout her life, she had several names including the Ciudad de Cali and the Rio Amazonas. Hot dropping this wreck is an exhilarating feeling. As you descend, it seems to take forever. You continually wonder whether or not you missed it. Finally, at the last second, the massive ship appears out of nowhere. Teeming with life, schools of Amberjack encircle you. Giant Goliath Grouper pack into the cargo holds. The ship is littered with swim-throughs and penetration opportunities, but you have to weasel your way past the Grouper to fit down the narrow hallways. Barracuda stealthily suspend themselves above the deck, looking for some bait that strays too far from the shoal. This deep wreck houses an enormous diversity of pelagic species. Make sure to bring a cutting device as fishing line drapes across the super structure. Hands down, it is my favorite dive.

Darren Pace – Isla Mureres, Mexico        

Hola Amigo! Okay, so this isn’t an actual scuba dive site, but swimming with the whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mureres is a once in a lifetime experience. Every year, the world’s largest concentration of whale sharks migrates off the Yucatan Peninsula in the summer months. These gentle giants – which can reach 40ft (12m) or as large as a school bus, are hungry migrators, feeding on plankton and small fish eggs. This unique time and location presents an ideal opportunity to swim with these docile creatures up close and in their habitat. If you’re ready to scratch whale sharks off your bucket list, come down to the Yucatan and spend a day snorkeling with these beautiful fish. Got a couple more days?  Drive south about an hour and swim/dive the cenotes in Tulum, and don’t pass up the opportunity to eat great authentic Mexican food along the way. My vote is the fajitas, yum!

Jon Kieren – Indian Springs, Florida

Nestled in the quiet woodlands of Crawfordville, FL is beautiful YMCA owned Camp Indian Springs. The campgrounds were built around the 56 metre/185ft diameter spring pool, which serves as the entrance to my all-time favorite dive site.

The cave system at Indian Springs is gigantic, both in penetration distance and passage size. Best enjoyed on a scooter and rebreather, the majority of the bright white cave ranges from 30 metres/140 feet to 53 metres/175 feet deep until 1300 metres/4300 feet back where the cave opens up to a massive room named the “Wakulla Room”. The bottom of the Wakulla room is at approximately 75 meters/250 feet, where the passage continues further back and even deeper. The end of this beautiful cave has yet to be found, and is currently being explored.

My first dive at Indian was with my favorite dive buddy, my wife Lauren, and our good friends Dan, Jon, and Sandra for a photo shoot. Subsequent dives have been progressively larger dives further and further back. Our last dive there we explored back beyond the Wakulla Room to the Stargate Room, at a maximum depth of 84 meters/275 feet and a total run time of approximately 4 hours including decompression.

Special permission, Full Cave and Trimix certifications, and a guide are required to dive this site/ More information can be found on the Cave Connections website.

Lauren Kieren – North Star, St. Croix, USVI

My first thought for my favorite dive site was Indian Springs, in North Florida. After giving Cris my response, I quickly received a frustrated sigh followed by some strange grumbles. It seems that my answer was not suitable since Jon Kieren gave the same response earlier that day. After a few minutes of banter with Jon trying to get him to pick another site, I settled to discuss my second favorite dive site, North Star in St. Croix, USVI.

North Star was named after the old sugar plantation on shore. Accessible by land or boat, the site starts around 7 meters/25 feet plunging down a beautiful dramatic wall over 600+ meters/2000+ feet. Whether you are snorkeling, on the first dive of your life, a technical diver or anything in between, this site has something for you. For example, on a deep technical dive, you can find a large beautiful cavern around 82 meters/270 feet. Inside this cavern, there is a vertical chimney rising 15 meters/50 feet through the wall, opening at the top.  While decompressing and making your way to the shallows along the wall, you are likely to see schooling fish, barracuda, eels, sharks, eagle rays, the occasional pod of dolphins, seahorses, nudibranchs and more. You can even find large Danish anchors embedded in the coral! Up in the shallows lies a field of soft and hard corals with even more marine life to see. This is certainly my favorite reef dive and second favorite dive site.

Dennis Pulley – Bonaire, Netherland Antilles

Bonaire  is commonly referred to as one of the “ABC” (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) islands in the Caribbean, just off the coast of Venezuela. I fell in love with Bonaire the first time I visited there in the early 90’s. It is such a relaxing and laid back location to visit and affords topside sights to see in addition to the diving. Washington Park with parrots and flamingos is a sight to behold!

While you can dive off of boats, the shore diving is so easily accessible that I prefer it over the boat diving. Imagine grabbing a cylinder, setting up your system on the dock, walking to the end and jumping into crystal clear water that is 5 metres/15 feet to 6 metres/20 feet  deep. You make a very short swim to the top of a wall that drops to over 30 metres/100 feet.

The wall is teeming with marine life and you can quite literally spend an entire trip shore diving from your hotel area. Even the wreck of the Hilma Hooker located in 30 metres/100 feet of water can be easily reached from the shore.

Sally Camm – Tunnels, Jupiter, Florida

Close to home and easily accessible by boat, Tunnels has become my new favorite site (the previous being the OJ Walker in Lake Champlain). One of the cool things about Tunnels are the swim throughs (hence its name) and even someone like me, who is claustrophobic, can partake in the larger ones.

The top of the reef is filled with a variety of colorful corals and schooling fish; and if you swim beside it you will see a multitude of large sea turtles resting under the shelf. But don’t be so focused on the reef that you miss the excitement, because if you keep an eye out to the east and west of the ledge you will more than likely see Goliath Grouper, many sharks, and if you look closely – stingrays. Take your time and you will really be able to enjoy the abundance of life there.

Tunnels tops my list at #1 because it’s an “all in one” spot for seeing an assortment of large marine life, and averaging about 70ft/21m deep, it is a pretty nice, easy dive.

Paul Montgomery – Madison Blue, Florida

Seriously? You want me to pick one? How about one region? Will that work? All joking aside, my favorite dive site and favorite all time dive was at Madison Blue in Lee, Florida. And, it was my first dive there that sticks in my memory as if it were yesterday. My cave instructor had taken me there to be my “first dive on my own”, so my cave buddy Rob and I were really stoked. I had the reel. After a decent pre-dive briefing between us, we entered the basin and entered through the “Rabbit Hole”. After all, no need to use that giant opening right next to this restriction, let’s follow Alice. Nice little tie-off and off we go. Off we go just a little low and to the outside! From here, let me fill you in on some details. This dive was probably around 1997 or so, when Madison Blue was managed/operated privately. The management had taken over what had previously been a dumping ground and transformed it into an amazing dive site. Parking, tables, stairs to the basin, landscaping. Everything a cave diver could possibly want for. And on this particular day, we had the entire system to ourselves. As we arrived, the only other dive team was packing up to leave.

As I mentioned, I went just a little wide and from the corner of my mask, I saw the most amazing area of light. I had come to stop just inside the main opening but what made it amazing was that the basin surface was completely still, without a ripple. With a clear sky and beautiful landscaping, the reflection that I saw below the surface was breathtaking, actually, it was mesmerizing. Well, the dive just got better from there.

One of the reasons I became a cave diver was the influence of video footage of the Diepolder systems and its huge rooms. If you’ve been to Madison, you’ve no doubt been to the Godzilla Room, aptly named in that Godzilla could fit in it. Dropping thru the floor of the tunnel and then through a second hole, I found myself suspended in the room, pirouetting to take it all in. Perhaps a skilled writer could describe how I felt; I still am at a loss to describe it.

It wasn’t a long push, nor deep. It simply was one of the most amazing dives I have ever done.

Jordan Greene – Zion Train, Jupiter, Florida

One of my favorite dive sites happens to be a local spot off the coast of Jupiter, FL, just down the road from SDI/TDI/ERDI World HQ. Sitting in about 90 ft of water, the Zion Train has an interesting yearly event starting in the early summer months. As the Goliath Grouper spawning season arrives, you can expect to see dozens and dozens of VW Beetle-sized behemoths congregate around the Zion Train, making this wreck come alive with a forest of giants, often dwarfing the average-sized diver. A co-worker of mine (Jon Kieren) will sometimes dress as one of these Goliaths in hopes of getting in on some of the action.

An already thriving wreck filled with sharks, turtles, and tropical Caribbean fish, this site is thrilling in itself without the population of Goliaths that come along. The addition of the aggregation makes this a natural wonder and a top 5 dive spot in Florida for me. If you haven’t been to this site yet during this time of year, contact the local dive centers (Stuart Dive Center or Jupiter Dive Center) and ask about any upcoming trips, it’s one you don’t want to miss!

Cris Merz –  Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos, Ecuador

I spent 10 years diving there almost every week and it was “home”. It spoiled me for many years and it wasn’t until a few years back that I was able to appreciate diving for what it was again, blowing bubbles underwater and seeing great stuff.  Darwin’s Arch really left an impression on me because of the big animals, sea lions, yellow-fin tuna in bait balls, schooling hammerheads, and the majestic Galapagos shark – but the whale-sharks, such large but gentle creatures, made the place magical. “The Bus” we called them as we sat at our bus station on “The Platform” at 55ft waiting for them to swing by.

It often looked like they were moving so slow but once alongside them, you’d feel your legs kicking harder and harder just to keep up. It was simply an incredible and humbling place that allowed us to actually scuba dive with them until they decided it was time to go. The best was catching several sightings at once. It’s time to go back and see all my friends again, underwater and above.

Brian Carney – Narragansett Pier, RI

This dive site is a special place for me because of how many times I dove there and how many people I was able to experience this site with. It is a relatively easy entry and once you get in, depending on the time of year, you are greeted by a number of small animals. If you are lucky, schools of Striped Bass frequent the area. So much so, that I have been in 15 feet of water there, remaining still, and have had a school completely engulf me for 15 minutes.

It was also a place that I went to when I needed a little quiet time where I could just put my nose in a spot and look at all the small creatures that were abundant. The biggest hazard there is that it is occasionally used as a boat ramp,so diving right in front of the ramp is not a good idea, but by moving 200 yards up the coast in the rocks you can pretty much avoidboat traffic – but diving with a flag is a must.

Shawn Harrison – Night Dive on oil docks in Edmonds    

This is a very hard question to really answer because we all have had some incredible dives in our lifetime somewhere. To me, Alki Beach Cove #2 was some of the best dives I experienced (but I know there have been changes to this location over the years). This spot at night would always come alive with many different species: Dogfish, Spotted Ratfish, Squid, Six Gill sharks, and the famous Pacific Northwest Giant Octopus. You would see so many different things on each dive, every time. In fact, once on a dive with two other people, we came across this 55 gallon metal trash can sitting upright at around 60ft with nothing around (odd, yes) so we looked inside and sleeping in there was the largest Octopus any of us had ever seen – of course none of us had a camera with us. We hovered watching it for a while before we started off in another direction… but this was just one dive out of many that made this an incredible dive site.


There are such an amazing amount of experiences and stories from our staff that I am thinking I should write a book; I don’t believe it should be too difficult seeing that we are a company that focuses on dive training and are all divers, instructors, or instructor trainers. While some offices may have the water cooler talk on a Monday morning discussing last night’s “Big Game”, Monday mornings at SDI/TDI/ERDI usually start out with, “Where did you go diving this weekend?”

Now, we want to hear from you…what is your favorite site?

What is your favorite dive destination? Let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about International Training, visit


From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

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Divers making the Oceans more diverse




Arguably, diving is the most inclusive sport in the world. At the time of writing this, PADI professionals teach, lead and support diving in 185+ countries and territories, and by best estimate, more than 90% of people have access to dive instruction in a first and/or second language.

PADI is on a mission to create a billion torchbearers to unify for a collective purpose to create positive ocean change. Supporting this is PADI’s Pillars of Change and a collective effort in fostering diversity and inclusion in the dive industry and supporting local communities.

As PADI CEO and President Drew Richardson says:

“Diving is a unifying force that bridges cultures through a common passion, purpose and language. Our interpersonal contact and shared experiences promote understanding and reduce prejudice, making diving a unifying force across national and regional boundaries and differing values – something that the world badly needs”

PADI is committed to delving into diversity, including what it means to be black in the diving world, today – and every day.  Several PADI AmbassaDivers and PADI Professionals guide us through these conversations – and are blazing a path for new explorers, scientists, advocates and ocean change makers.

From around the world, each has had a different experience breaking through barriers, challenging cultural “norms”, and paving a new path as a purpose-driven diver and ocean ambassador. Their stories both inspire us, regardless of our race, and help us understand and reconcile with painful truths from the past. Additionally, they offer suggestions on how we can support BIPOC and underrepresented communities.

7 PADI Divers making the Oceans more inclusive

1. The Black Mermaid: Zandile Ndhlovu

Zandile Ndhlovu is  PADI Freediving Instructor, PADI Mermaid and the founder of The Black Mermaid Foundation, an organization seeking to create diverse representation in the ocean arena. Zandile’s work centers around creating the first encounter that exposes the youth to the ocean. As an ocean conservationist, diversity and inclusion specialist, and avid speaker and storyteller, she uses these skills to advocate for diversely represented and inclusive oceans while working to reshape incomplete narratives.

“I’ve always loved nature… and have journeyed her differently at different times. When I found Freediving, I knew I wanted to go all the way with it!  Black Mermaid is where I found solace in this journey. Being the first Black African PADI Instructor in South Africa, I’m determined to share my passion for the ocean with the world and explore how our deepest beliefs about the deep ocean can coexist with Freediving and perhaps even bring us closer to the knowledge of self.

“I’m an advocate of wonder, exploration and awe – beginning with self. I’ve always dreamt of making a positive impact in the lives of others, and am made happiest when inspiring, motivating and challenging people from all different backgrounds by simply being. With a strategic approach combined with an outside-the-box perspective, Black Mermaid helps people break through barriers and challenges, overcome doubts and take a large stride towards achieving their goals.”

2. Using Education to Break Barriers: Dr. Nevada Winrow

Dr.Nevada Winrow is a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine-trained pediatric neuropsychologist,  PADI Master Scuba Diver, and founder of Black Girls Dive Foundation. Her foundation runs a program that helps underserved and under-resourced girls learn to swim, scuba dive and participate in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities.

Participants in Dr. Winrow’s program can earn PADI® Open Water Diver certifications during their first year. With each new semester, the girls can earn additional certifications such as Advanced Open Water and PADI Specialties. The goal is for each participant to earn their PADI Master Scuba Diver rating by the end of their time in the program – as well as having an educational foundation that gives them both high school and college credits.

“The purpose of our organization is to help young women develop their STEM identify, be nerdy and feel comfortable about it,” said Winrow. “We tell the girls, you can pursue any career you want, but we’re going to teach you how to think like a scientist.”

3. The Godfather of Black Scuba Diving: Dr Albert Jose Jones

Dr Albert José Jones is considered the godfather of Black scuba diving in the U.S. He founded the country’s oldest Black diving club, Underwater Adventure Seekers in Washington, D.C., in 1959, and co-founded the National Association of Black Scuba Divers, in 1991. Earning his certification in a Howard University Pool, he changed scuba diving forever. A diver, explorer and scientist, he opened the door for so many other black divers to explore the ocean as well as their own history.

 After 51 years as an esteemed PADI Professional, Dr Albert Jose Jones has an impressive resume with accomplishments that many divers only dream of achieving. A lifelong marine educator and leader protecting our ocean, Dr Jones is a PADI Master Scuba Instructor with over 6,000 dives logged in 50 countries around the world. He has taught marine biology for over 25 years at the University of the District of Colombia and is a U.S Army Purple Heart Veteran, having learned diving while training in the army. He is also responsible for certifying over 2,000 divers, the majority of whom were children at the time.

When Dr Jones reflects back at his first breaths beneath the surface, he smiles and fondly recalls it being one of the most exciting times of his life. “I’ve always had a connection to the water and been a competent swimmer. So putting a tank on my back and getting to stay under for longer was an extremely powerful experience,” says Dr Jones.

Dr Jones was announced as the recipient of the 2022 NOGI Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, an “oscar worthy” accolade that he says is one of the biggest honors of his entire career.

But topping the award, he says, is the fulfillment he gets teaching children in his community the art of confidence through scuba diving.

4. Diving to Research the Past and Our Future: Alannah Vellecot

Alannah Vellecot is a PADI AmbassaDiver from the Bahamas who is also a marine ecologist, science communicator and ocean advocate with 12 years of experience working in marine research, conservation and education. She’s led a variety of marine research and outreach projects that include sharks, conch, reef health, shipwreck mapping, and blue hole ethnography. She was also the principal diver in a 6-part documentary, ‘Enslaved’ starring Samuel L Jackson and Afua Hirsch, telling the untold stories of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade by diving shipwrecked slave ships around the world.

“I want to be a reflection for women and girls of color who dare to follow their passion and to remind the world that the ocean is their home too, ” she says.

5. Working for the Animals: Dr.Dayne Buddo

Dr. Dayne Buddo, born and raised in Jamaica grew up with a fear of the ocean – like so many others in his community. He overcame a fear of the ocean at age 20 to follow his passion.

Buddo went on to earn his PhD in Marine Sciences and is proud of all his accomplishments, especially being invited to address the UN on Ocean Conservation. He has become an extremely accomplished researcher, scientist and ocean change maker. He is a certified PADI Master Scuba Instructor who serves on the boards of The Ocean Foundation, Fisheries Development Management Fund, National Conservation Trust Fund Grant Committee and continues to support several delegations to major United Nations Conferences on climate change and ocean conservation. He is currently the Director of External Engagement at the Georgia Aquarium, where he is responsible for deepening Georgia Aquarium’s service ties to the community at the local, state, national and international levels to further their mission of ocean conservation. He adores working with local communities and seeing that spark on other children’s faces, when they realize they too belong to the ocean.

He also uses marine science to protect biodiversity on our blue planet and has designed extremely successful programs including working with local fishermen in Jamaica to address invasive species and overfishing.

“There is no point in science if it is not applied to solving problems, or better yet, avoiding issues that would negatively affect ocean health. Having everyone involved in solving a problem, especially local communities which are mostly impacted, is the key to the success. 

“We are all connected ecologically to the ocean, so we must be connected in solving the issues… so get involved. Science does not only belong to scientists, as citizens who simply love the ocean, you can also do your part. There is no shortage of need, only a shortage of hands, so dive with a purpose in mind.”

6. Diversity Advocate for Diving: Dr. Tiara Moore

Dr. Tiara Moore is the founder of Black in Marine Science (BIMS), which she started after she realized she was the only black person on her marine science teams and was determined to change the stereotypes of who can dive.

“Programs like BIMS are also critical to help heal the “history and trauma of black people and water,” Moore shares. “Black people don’t want to jump into the water with millions of our ancestors literally at the bottom of the ocean… It’s like we’re to blame that we’re not there, but there are so many barriers and so much trauma”

Dr. Moore’s BIMS program is aimed at getting more PADI certified black divers and helping her community feel more confident and connected in the water.

7. Telling Stories of the Ocean: Xochitl Clare

Xochitl Clare is a PADI AmbassaDiver, marine biologist and performing artist who is dedicated to telling stories of the environment to inspire others in her community to connect with the ocean. As a first generation Latina Afriacan American, she uses her culture’s deep roots to storyrtelling to inspire aquatic dreams through books and media. As an equally accomplished ballroom daner, Xochitl is known as the dancing biologist.

“This work [of increasing diversity in diving] allows us to meet our history with the sea firsthand to contend with the past—to then charter a new future for African American communities in generations to come.”

Read more on the PADI Blog at HERE.

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How Scuba Diving can help you overcome physical and mental challenges




This International Disabilities Day (December 3 2022) PADI is reminding the world of the healing aspects that the ocean (or any body of water) can provide us all and how important of a modality it is for helping those with physical or mental challenges improve their wellbeing. From simply being within close proximity of it or diving beneath the salty surface for an underwater adventure, the ocean is also healing.

Regardless of your age, ability, or even limitations, the ocean can benefit us physically, emotionally and even spiritually. This is why PADI is on a mission to make those benefits accessible to all, launching their Adaptive Techniques Diving Course in the hopes that all of humanity can experience the full transformational power the ocean offers us.

While many are more familiar with traditional therapies, whether it be diving, mermaiding or freediving, people around the world have been forever changed by connecting with the water – conquering mental or physical perceived limitations.

There are an estimated one billion people on the planet that have a physical and/or mental disability – imagine the power that diving and immersion can have on this population if awarded the opportunity.

PADI’s history is replete with people whose lives have been transformed by connecting with the water because they were able to experience and explore the underwater world through PADI programme and certifications. PADI’s approach to diver education has always been inclusive and is a key pillar to their Pillars of Change.  Everyone who meets prerequisites is welcome to join the global community of 29 million+ certified PADI Divers.

PADI created two courses that focus on increasing awareness of varying diver abilities and exploring adaptive teaching techniques to apply when training and diving with physically and mentally challenged divers: the PADI Adaptive Techniques Specialty and the PADI Adaptive Support Diver course.

These courses further expand Instructors’ and Divemasters’ abilities to be student-centered and prescriptive in approach when adapting techniques to meet diver needs. Here are the various ways PADI helps those with disabilities overcome all their challenges by connecting them with water:

1. Improved Muscular Movement, Light Sensitivity and PTSD Symptoms

A 2011 study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found, “veterans with spinal cord injuries who underwent a four-day scuba diving certification saw significant improvement in muscle movement, increased sensitivity to light touch and pinprick on the legs, and large reductions in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.”

2. Lifts Your Mental State and Mood

Did you know that the ocean air can literally lift your mood?  “The sound and vision of the ocean lift our mood,” says consultant psychiatrist Dr Arghya Sarkhel. “The touch of sand and the smell of a seaside breeze leads to relaxation. On a biological level, this audio-visual stimulus incites our parasympathetic nervous system—that activates ‘rest and digest’, as opposed to ‘fight or flight’,” he says. Now scientists are quantifying the positive cognitive and physical effects of water and the improved sense of physical health and well-being.

Equally diving into the therapeutic benefits that diving can provide is Jeffery Puncher, Director for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottowa. He is currently developing a virtual reality diving programme to help his patients find relief from stress and anxiety–using calming scenes of coral reefs and the swaying seas along with the soothing sounds of bubbles beneath the surface. This programme is currently being used with medical students, residents and faculty, with the goal of growing it to be adopted nationwide to help also support the psychological health of first responders.

3. Provides You with a Sense of Peace

Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, has done extensive research on the ocean’s unique ability to induce a state of what he calls the “Blue Mind” in human beings. Blue Mind is a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment. Nichols states that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and heal us on a deep level.

4. Enhanced Physical Movement

Being in the water allows you the opportunity to experience a feeling of flexibility and freedom that those with disabilities would rarely get to experience on land. This is because on land the muscles become restricted by the force of gravity. But in the water, that sensation drifts away and is replaced by the freedom to feel the freedom of movement.

5. Confidence and Control

The freedom of enhanced physical movement in the water also provides a sense of increased confidence and control. They can explore beneath the surface just like able-bodied people can do, which equally increases their own self-belief and feelings of empowerment.

6. Anxiety Relief

Those with disabilities who equally suffer from anxiety can find tranquility beneath the surface. By having to focus on your breath and being in the moment, all of the mental stress that can come with having a disability is no longer top of mind and instead allows for an escape in which you can truly enjoy the moment.

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