How can you keep going to the same place and not get bored?

Many divers tend to visit one dive location, dive a few sites and say they’re done with it. “We’ve seen everything there and don’t need to go back” is the common refrain. Personally, I love returning to the same dive sites. People often ask me how I can do that and not get bored. To this I counter: Can one ever claim to have seen everything in a dive? I wouldn’t.

Then there are the divers who decide not to return to a dive site after just one visit because there was “nothing much to see”. Well, your experience depends a lot on how you dive. Many divers tend to do what I call “helicopter diving”, where the diver hovers about two or three metres above the sea floor, just drifting along without an awareness of what’s going on below them. At that height above the reef, you’ll only see the larger marine life, and miss out on the smaller critters that often hide among the corals.

2016-3-29 Helicopter Divers

Of course, if you “helicopter dive” to avoid kicking up silt, you should look into improving your diving skills so you can go closer to the reef without damaging it. Mastering key skills like buoyancy and manoeuvring kicks will give you better control of your position in water. When you can hold a fixed position, you can see and do much more—like underwater photography and videography.

2016-3-29-Divers-close-to-reef

When you go slow and stay low, you’ll find that the reef takes on a new dimension. Pause to observe the coral for a moment and you’ll spot creatures you haven’t noticed before. Once you’ve been there for a while and the animals realize that you aren’t a threat, they will come out of hiding and resume their daily business. Animal behaviors are really quite interesting!

I also enjoy revisiting dive sites because the reef is a living environment, continually changing and evolving over time. Over the years, I’ve noticed how different reefs have changed, sometimes for the better, but unfortunately, mostly for the worse. Some corals grow bigger, while some get broken by boats or divers, and others get tossed about in storms. These are things that you would only notice if you’ve been to a dive site multiple times, and have become familiar with the reef.

When you’ve dived a site multiple times, it becomes a neighborhood that you regularly visit and appreciate. Old friends come and go, the kids grow bigger and stronger, and eventually leave home for larger and bluer pastures.

It’s a great big ocean with animals small and large. Let’s not miss the trees for the forest!

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

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