The Guru will be the first to admit that there is a razor thin line between ignorance and bliss. But, that doesn’t mean they’re one in the same – not by a long shot.

Hmm. There was that one time traveling, but the Guru was young and we won’t count that, shall we?


Where was I? Ah yes, the counter principle to ignorance and bliss – knowledge is power. The whole point of this is that you might not know something (ignorance) and be completely fine with it (bliss) because you don’t know that there is something that you don’t know.

But, the Guru has found that looking back on something with clear hindsight reveals that the entire experience might have been much, much better with some knowledge beforehand. This is the exact opposite to blissful ignorance – knowledgeable power. And now, we finally get to diving.

You might think that you know all there is to know about diving once you earn your PADI Open Water Diver certification. But really, that’s just not the case. And, like an unruly teenager flexing his or her wings, the consequences of learning by trial and error can range from embarrassing to annoying to downright dangerous. Consider the following – which might or might NOT be from the guru’s personal files…

  1. The Embarrassing – On dive boats, you’ll frequently find that marine toilets (called heads just to confuse everyone) are quite sensitive. One diver found this out first-hand and turned three shades of red when he had to announce that the toilet was unusable for the rest of the passengers. The boat captain was none too happy as he went about disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the head. Had this diver taken a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course and chosen the Boat Adventure Dive, believe it or not, he would have read that, while you might get away with it on land, you couldn’t flush a half-roll of toilet tissue at sea.
  2. The Annoying – First of all, let me just say that this particular example happened in shallow clear, tropical water with a nice, bright full moon overhead. So, I wasn’t too concerned to see one excitable new night diver attract a buddy’s attention by shining the light in his eyes. Over. And. Over. And. Over. You could just see the afflicted diver’s mood shifting between finding humor in the situation and pure annoyance that he couldn’t see anything on what turned out to be a pretty epic night dive. You can bet the offending diver was the last person picked as a buddy for the rest of the trip. The diver’s enthusiasm about the dive was downright infectious and it could have turned out very differently had he learned appropriate underwater communication and attraction methods during the elective Night Dive of a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.
  3. The Downright Dangerous – Emergency situations can be confusing and terrifying but also heartwarming as ordinary people often jump in to help – even without proper training. But, one of the first and most important things you learn in the PADI Rescue Diver course is that you need to take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else. It’s a fundamental principle of emergency management, but as divers expand the sphere of awareness to encompass divers other than themselves, they frequently need to be reminded that they should care for themselves first. Case in point, one of the Guru’s best Rescue Divers responded quickly and properly to an emergency at a beach dive. One diver had trouble in the surf and struggled. The diver’s buddy rushed out without seeing if the situation was safe and quickly got into trouble as well. The trained PADI Rescue Diver assessed the situation, realized that a swimming rescue would lead to three victims and got outside help to save the day.

The Guru isn’t suggesting that you can’t earn your PADI Open Water Diver certification and continue to dive for the rest of your life with that one credential. You certainly can and, I would applaud you for diving for the rest of your life.

What I am suggesting, however, is that continuing your education can provide the opportunity to expand your knowledge (and prevent embarrassing yourself – the Guru is really big on avoiding embarrassment!), enjoy your diving and get the most out of what the sport has to offer. Continuing education can help you become the confident, responsible and prepared diver you have always wanted to be.

So, why not focus on the intersection of ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power? Take the best of both and make yourself a diver full of blissful knowledge.

What do you think? Tell me in the comments below.

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