It’s the time of year when many people traditionally think ahead. Whether setting career goals, deciding on some home renovations or starting a new diet and exercise program, it’s all about what we plan to accomplish in 2024. For us divers, of course, it includes planning our dive adventures: where we want to go, what we want to learn and what we want to do.
Yes, adventures. As a diver you know how to book and plan a dive, but how about a dive adventure? Experienced divers plan dive adventures, not just trips and dive travel. To make your dives adventures, you only need to do one thing – dive with purpose.
Adventure requires that you try to do something specific (a purpose/goal), because it’s the risk of failure, the challenge and problem solving that make something an adventure – even when you weren’t trying to have one. You just wanted a leisurely beach stroll, but you forgot your phone, lost your way and ended up exploring shoreside neighborhoods and asking strangers for directions while finding your way back – your goal and purpose. No, it’s not the National Geographic channel, but it’s a small unintended adventure, and you’ll remember it.
Diving-with-purpose-choices are endless, and it’s no coincidence that we say “Seek adventure. Save the ocean.” As Ocean Torchbearers, we can take part in coral restoration, collect and document dive debris and take part in other regenerative diving projects supporting Adopt the Blue. Or, we can be part of introducing people with physical or mental challenges to the underwater world and the healing power of diving. Continuing your diver education gives you an obvious goal and purpose, but combine it with something bigger to take it up a notch – like learning to dive with enriched air Nitrox so you can make longer citizen science dives that survey shark and ray populations.
The more specific your purpose and goal, not only do you accomplish more, but there’s more adventure potential. Instead of “do something good for the sea,” plan “remove and document debris littering the north end of Molasses Reef.” “Earn the Tec 45 Trimix Diver, and wreck penetration certifications, then video my best friend mapping World War II Zero fighters in the forward hold of the Fujikawa Maru” beats “do a wreck dive” by a mile. Why? Because there’s no real challenge or possibility of failing. Picking a pull tab off the reef might be “something good for the sea,” but an adventure? Not so much.
Get help. If specific purposes and goals sound intimidating because you don’t know exactly what to focus on, no worries. Your local PADI Dive Center or Resort can help by integrating your passions with the projects they’re engaged in, with PADI Eco Centers especially committed to restoring the marine environment, and PADI Adaptive Service Facilities dedicated to sharing diving’s healing power. See them in person, but also use the PADI Adventures App to book dives, travel, courses, see what they’ve got coming up and so on with them (available for iOS and Android).
A final point – for divers, planning dive adventures at the start of the new year is more than a tradition; it has a practical purpose. January and February are top months for booking travel because there are still plenty of choices for airline, accommodation and dive destination reservations. So, don’t delay – contact your PADI shop and start planning your 2024 dive adventures now.
Seek adventure. Save the ocean.
Dr. Drew Richardson
PADI President & CEO