The internet is a crazy place. Anyone in the world can voice their opinion and have that voice heard by countless numbers of people.
Anybody can say anything at any time.
This is really, really cool.
It also means that anyone using the internet must learn to take everything they read with a grain of salt. There are no guarantees that what you’re reading is 100% accurate. As the saying goes: “Trust but verify”.
This applies to scuba diving on the internet, as well.
In 2009, I got back into the world of diving after a 5 year hiatus. A month later, I discovered world’s largest online community of scuba divers over at ScubaBoard. I quickly learned that SB was a fantastic way to meet other divers in my area. Posting in the forums led to lots of fun dives as well as many good friendships.
On the other hand, I also learned that ScubaBoard could be a hotbed of debate for anything remotely related to scuba diving. To a new diver looking to learn whatever they can, it can be a very confusing experience. There’s a lot of good information out there but there’s a lot of bad information, too.
Some people seem to get rather bent out of shape when trying to convey their point of view to others. Others seem to get downright angry when a person new to diving asks a question, as if they expect everyone to be born with a degree in “scubaology”. Of course, there are plenty of other regular members on the site that seem to answer questions with a calm, detailed explanation of why they did things a certain way. These people are a great help to the new diver. Unfortunately, it’s common for all three types of people to be posting in the same discussion at the same time!
Like I said: the internet is a crazy place.
It was in this online environment that I first heard about an organization called Global Underwater Explorers, a.k.a. “GUE“.
Occasionally I’d see those three letters pop up during a ScubaBoard discussion about training. Some things seemed different about GUE when compared to the agencies I was more familiar with, e.g., PADI or SDI. The thing that stood out to me was that most ScubaBoard users seem to agreed that GUE consistently offered some of the most rigorous, detailed dive training available.
Rather than accepting what anonymous people typed on an internet forum (both positive and negative), I decided to learn a little more about Global Underwater Explorers first-hand.