In his debut blog for Scubaverse, Commercial and Technical Diver John Wheeler explains why, for him, recreational diving was never going to be enough…
From age 12 to around 18 I followed the same path as most, from PADI Open Water through to Rescue Diver. But with a child-like sense of adventure, always wanting to see what’s around the next corner, over the next hill or what lies in deeper waters, there was only one direction for me. The last 3+ years of my diving have been a journey, picking up the next stage and diving deeper and longer.
I first came across Technical Diving when in Dahab on holiday. Dive sites like the Canyon and Blue Hole felt like a tease: being able to see the sites below me but being unable to explore with a single cylinder and an all to rapidly approaching no decompression limit. Chatting to instructors and guides out there and hearing about helium and twinsets stuck in my 16 year old mind, and once back in the UK, with Google and YouTube at my finger tips, I began researching what would become an obsession.
One of the biggest questions I get now, from non-divers and new divers alike is “how deep do you go?”. I try my best to avoid the question as its pure ego fuel. I see no point in bounce diving deep just to say you have. Diving for me needs a purpose and having spent the last 4 years living in Plymouth, wreck diving has been my focus.
So how did Technical Diving improve the explorer in me? Technical Diving covers two aspects in my eyes: to dive for longer safely and to dive deeper safely. The first step for me was to add more gas to my shallower dives. More gas = more time and a greater safety margin, starting initially by moving to a twinset and then, in simple terms, adding more stages and different gas from there.
Technical diver training is far more intensive than recreational training; it has to be. With greater associated risk comes greater theory and skills to minimise those risks. But these skills not only benefit your deeper diving, they benefit ALL diving. Greater buoyancy control enables you to take better photos, move without disturbing wildlife and be more comfortable in the water, all making your diving more enjoyable.
The journey into Technical Diving is an ongoing one, the next step for me is jumping onto a rebreather… more on that soon!
Follow John at: www.nextstagediving.com.