The ocean is known to many as the last unexplored terrain; the mystery of our world that remains undiscovered despite our many technological advancements. There is a worldwide fascination with the ocean and the mysteries that lie within it, which is why scuba diving is such a popular pastime. Scuba diving allows humans to come into contact with more bizarre creatures than those on land could ever imagine. However, even the deepest scuba dive barely brushes the surface of the mysteries that abound beneath the waves.
The subculture of scuba diving is comprised of a variety of people, but they all share a sense of adventure and a curiosity that has led them to explore the world of the ocean. Many scuba divers also have a fascination with marine biology, drawn by the vibrant colors and rare forms that marine animals have evolved into through millennia of living under water.
It is impossible to describe the incredible world that one becomes a part of during a scuba dive, but it is indisputable that this universe brings scuba divers to rediscover it in different areas time and time again. The Doctor Seuss-like world under the waves opens one's eyes to the mind-blowing beauty and diversity that exists beneath us.
An Introduction to Scuba Diving
Scuba stands for “Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus,” named for the tank of air that scuba divers wear on their back during dives. The sport was invented around 1940 for the armed forces. Since then it has developed significantly, allowing divers today to have a wide range of options for lengths and depths of dives, along with categories of dives. Despite many people's fear of breathing from a tank meters beneath the water, scuba diving is now one of the safest recreational sports, performed by many people around the world.
Uses for Diving
Scuba diving has many uses in today's society, opening the door for the acquisition of new knowledge about our world. It is used by marine biologists and conservationists to collect research about underwater species, along with helping environmentalists to solve problems regarding misuse of the oceans. Scuba diving is also used by underwater construction workers, whose jobs range from welding to cutting to burning various underwater materials. Scuba diving is also simply a way to enjoy yourself, as it provides divers with incredible sights and unique adventures, often in tropical destinations.
Becoming a Diver
To become a scuba diver, you must become trained by a scuba dive instructor in order to engage in the sport safely and responsibly. The typical gear that a diver needs includes a wetsuit, mask, fins, and scuba regulator and tank. This allows individuals to visit the underwater world comfortably and safely, allowing for the ultimate oceanic adventure. Depending on their desires, finances and time, scuba divers can advance to new levels of professionalism, from the basic open water certification to an advanced master scuba diver.
Deepest Scuba Dive
Some scuba divers decide to take this already eccentric sport to a new level by entering contests regarding length and depth of dives. In 2014, Egypt's Ahmed Gabr set the world record for the deepest scuba dive by around 14 m, achieving a depth of 332.35 meters and remaining under water for over 14 hours. Before this record was set, South African Unon Gomes had the record of the deepest scuba dive at an impressive 318.25 m, which he reached in the Red Sea in 2005. Ahmed Gabr achieved this incredible feat in Red Sea as well.
Ahmed Gabr and his team of 14 dive supporters used about 90 tanks during the 14 hours of the deepest scuba dive achieved thus far. To maintain physical safety and motivation, they each had rehydration bladders on their tanks and bananas to consume. Extreme planning went into the organization of the deepest scuba dive ever achieved, from having a mooring point for the dive to attaching lights to Gabr that were visible from the surface despite the depth of his dive. Gabr's achievement was on September 18th, and we have yet to see another scuba diver successfully accomplish this amazing achievement.
Fun Facts & Other Scuba Diving Trivia
There are many other ways that Scuba divers have set records, from depth to length to other more creative categories. Scuba divers are by definition adventurous people willing to test the limits and pursue new experiences, so it is only natural that they have attempted to bring scuba diving to a new level in a variety of ways. Although Gabr achieved the deepest scuba dive in history, many others have become scuba dive celebrities through other routes.
The Longest Saltwater Dive
During Gabr's longest scuba dive, he spent an impressive fourteen hours under water, but this number comes nowhere near the record holders in this category. Sean McGahern from the UK achieved the longest open saltwater scuba dive in cold water. He remained underwater for 49 hours and 56 minutes at St. George's Bay, Malta in October 2013. He entertained himself by cleaning the sea floor of debris; presumably a better option than staring at the sea floor for two continuous days.
The Longest Freshwater Dive
Jerry Hall, an American diver, spent 144 hours, 1 hour and 42 minutes under water in 2013 in a dive that lasted for six continuous days. He had previously had the record for the longest open freshwater dive in 2004, which lasted for 120 hours, 1 minute and 9 seconds underwater. Throughout his extremely lengthy achievement, other divers watched over him continuously and medical personnel monitored his condition nonstop. Hall donated the funds he earned for his amazing feat to children's charities.
The Most People Diving
Although most scuba dives are completed in a small group of up to ten divers, thousands of adventure-seekers came together on August 17, 2009 to achieve the record for the most people scuba diving at the same time. The group numbered 2,486 and it was done at Malalayang Beach, Manado in Indonesia. This occurred during an event run by the Indonesian Navy.
Most Common Scuba Injury
Although most people associate scuba dive injuries with a lack of equilibration or air, in reality the most common injury in scuba diving is a broken toe! This is a little known fact, as many broken toes are never recognized and often not reported if discovered. You may be wondering why this silly statistic would be true, but it makes sense if you think about the conditions of a scuba dive. Heavy objects like weights and tanks combined with bare feet and slippery hands create the perfect scenario for lots of broken toes.
Jaws Has Nothing on Coconuts
When scuba diving is mentioned, one of the most common concerns by the general population is that of sharks. However, the real danger of performing a recreational sport in a tropical location is coconut trees. Around 150 people die each year from coconuts falling on their heads: far more than the approximately 10 deaths from shark attacks every year. Coconuts are extremely heavy and fall from extreme heights, so it makes sense that they could cause a lot of damage to the unsuspecting scuba diver peacefully relaxing on the beach after a dive.
Time Spent on the Titanic
Another random piece of knowledge about scuba diving is that the director of the Titanic spent 462 hours on the wreck performing research for his movie about the ship's demise. Cameron did 33 dives on the ship, far overtaking the amount of time that any passenger or crew member spent on the Titanic during its life. The director of the movie joked during an interview that he created the movie for the sole reason of diving on the wreck. His thorough research and dedication provides a key to why his movie was such a success.
Humanity's fascination with the world of the ocean dates back a long time, displayed in the countless myths about the ocean and its secrets. The allure of the underwater world is based on our natural curiosity of the unknown and our predisposition to push our limits. Under the waves exist animals beyond our imagination, with unique survival techniques and bizarre appearances. Those who have engaged in the amazing sport of scuba diving know how incredible the experience of swimming through this magical universe can be.
While performing the deepest scuba dive, Ahmed Gabr found a way to bring this experience to a new level, but there are many other ways that risk-taking divers have brought the sport to the extreme. Other divers have explored underwater caves, witnessed the sites of horrific wrecks, and swam with animals larger than their own houses. Scuba diving gives humans the opportunity to become part of a beautiful world, far from the familiarity and comfort of the land. If you have an adventurous spirit and a desire to be astounded and amazed by a dazzling array of colors and sensations, scuba diving is the sport for you.