I’m Carl. I’m an active scuba diver, and love spending time exploring the underwater world.
It’s pretty awesome.
I started diving in 2000 as part of a clever ploy to disguise a two-week vacation in the Florida Keys as some sort of upper level college credit. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, I learned a lot that summer. I also fell in love with scuba diving.
I eventually fell in love with diving, but not without a couple of detours along the way.
One year and 15 dives after completing my open water certification, I had an opportunity to spend a week in Belize. If you ever get the chance, you should go. It’s a beautiful country filled with amazing people. Knowing that Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world, I was determined to get a few dives in while I was in the country.
For years, I told everyone that the diving in Belize was awesome because it was. What I didn’t tell people was that I really didn’t do much scuba diving for almost seven years after that trip because I scared myself a few times while I was in the water down there.
On the first dive, I wound up splitting the back of my head open due to a botched back-roll entry into the water. It really wasn’t a bad injury, but it sure did hurt for a few days.
Later in the trip, I went out drift diving on the main reef with a group of friends. Even though the dive master had instructed us to stay above a certain depth, I quickly found myself pushing past that limit and recall an overwhelming desire to just go a little deeper.
So I did.
I was surprised to discover that I was almost completely out of gas, much sooner than I had anticipated. I signaled to my buddy that it was time for us to go, and we let the group know that we were headed back up.
Although my buddy and I were proud that we made it back to the boat while drifting away from the rest of the group in five foot seas that day, there were a few things that we chose to leave out when bragging to the other divers.
You see, my buddy hit the surface with a mask full of blood and only 300 psi in his tank while I was breathing his octopus…. because my tank was practically empty. These facts never quite set well with me.
It took several years for me to fully understand that neither of us really knew why we’d come so close to drowning that day…..all we knew was that it just “sort of happened”.
And that was unsettling.
To be fair, I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop diving after that trip. As I think back on that time period, it felt like life just got in the way. I discovered other hobbies, and scuba became something that I claimed to not have the time to do anymore.
Fast forward to 2009
In the summer of ’09, my fiancée (now wife) expressed interest in learning to dive. We put her through open water classes, and started diving together along the northern Gulf of Mexico. As I met more experienced divers that were doing this sort of thing every week (instead of just once a year on vacation), I began to realize why I stayed away from scuba diving for so many years.
I thought diving was cool. I told myself and others that it really was a lot of fun. . . . but for the majority of my diving career, I hadn’t been having much fun when I was actually underwater. On some level, I was always concerned about having another near-miss like I’d had in Belize. On top of that, I was often preoccupied and fiddling with my gear during a dive, never being quite able to get things set ‘just right’. I slowly learned that diving had been a stressful activity for me, not a relaxing one.
So I set out to fix that.
I took more classes. Some of them seemed to help, while others seemed to only make things worse. I bought different scuba gear, looking for the perfect ‘gadget’ to make my underwater life easier. This rarely worked, and just lead to a never-ending cycle of buying and selling used gear.
Eventually, I began to learn from my mistakes and scuba diving started to become much more fun. My gas began to last longer. I started to notice more things underwater. Everything was just so much more enjoyable than it had been for the longest time.
Scuba Anxiety: It’s a Big Problem
Around the same time, I began to get more involved in the local dive community. I started to notice that a lot of people were having the same sorts of issues and frustrations that I’d struggled with for years. Sometimes, this resulted in them selling off all their gear not long after joining the scuba diving world. Other times they’d mention how “life got in the way” and slowly fade away from the rest of the community.
Very rarely will I hear the word “panic” from one of these soon-to-be ex-divers and I don’t think I’ve every heard one of them say that they’ve experienced anxiety while scuba diving, but that’s the underlying reason why so many people decide to get out of diving just a quickly as they got in to it.
Why Meraki Diving
“Ma-rah-kee“ is a greek word that describes that ‘something extra’ that you put into an activity when you’re truly passionate about it.
I’ve always said that my mom’s cooking tastes so good because she puts a little ‘love in to it. Maybe I should re-name her meatloaf as ‘Mom’s Meraki Meatloaf’?
……… On second thought, that might sound a little weird at the dinner table.
I started Meraki Diving to provide a resource not only for divers that may be struggling with anxiety during a dive, but for anyone that’s looking to become more comfortable, confident, and capable underwater.
I remember exactly what it’s like to have discovered this amazing activity and to want to love it and be good at it. I also remember what it’s like to feel lost in the infinite sea of scuba gear and specialty classes that seem designed to do nothing more than to separate the diver from their hard-earned money while offering promises of ‘making things easier‘.
Perhaps you’re interested in marine biology, geology or underwater photography & videography. Maybe you’re a history buff, are in to archaeology or just have an unrelenting desire to explore. Then again, you might just have the urge to put the freshest seafood on your dinner plate. Different people get into recreational scuba diving for different reasons.
Regardless of what brings you underwater in the first place, it’s an awesome thing to be able to really focus on and enjoy that instead of being pre-occupied with fins, computers, avoiding the bends and all the rest of that pesky “diving stuff”. Let’s figure out what works best for you, and get on with the fun!
Enjoy your dive,