Hovering: Νot just an Open Water Diver skill

The Deep Blue(s) of our Ocean

As weeks go by, I cannot help but think of how the end of winter is slowly approaching and wonder if spring will find us still quarantined in our homes? When is the next dive? When are we going to be back on that boat and under the water? At what moment will we be back to doing what we love?

One thing that always fascinated me, from my very first diving moments, was the seamless, flowy motion of divers. Aren’t we all fascinated by the sight of a diver, be it in documentaries and videos or even our experienced instructors, hovering motionless above any given spot to observe an unusual creature, make a safety stop or take the perfect photograph? And don’t we all want to achieve that one day?

Judging by myself and the few divers I know, I would say that for most people that truly love diving, perfecting their buoyancy is a definite goal! It is what gives us the confidence of progress, compared to our initial dives, and what allows us to enjoy a dive, leaving us with the impression that, even though the underwater is not our natural habitat, it may as well be.

Speaking of natural habitat though, how often do we think of –or have we even realized in the first place- that good buoyancy control is the first thing we can do, not only to improve ourselves as divers but to also benefit sea life? In case you are wondering how, the answer is pretty simple: by moving with more control and efficiency, we reduce the risk of hitting, touching or accidentally dragging coral, plants and other organisms living on the seabed or rocks while we are swimming or while our attention is caught up by that amazing creature we want to take a photo of or just simply while descending.
I am pretty sure at this point that plenty of us are sharing the same thought: next thing we do once we are back in the water is to work on perfecting our buoyancy. For those still in doubt, on the other hand, on the importance or usefulness of this skill, a brief look at the “numbers” here: a quick research on the web proves that DAN (Divers Alert Network) names lack of buoyancy control as one of the top five most important yet frequent problems among divers(!) so most likely many among us face this issue without even realizing. On top of this, benefits to marine life come, as a bonus as PADI’s Project Aware suggests perfecting one’s buoyancy is the first and most important step in sustainable diving.

Now if your only remaining question is how to get there –because, let’s face it, all this talk is just nothing without action- the only thing left to say is that, in my personal experience, the Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty course was one of the most rewarding dive-related decisions as it allowed me to better understand my movement underwater, my weight and equipment distribution and my trim as well as to change these little habits that ultimately seem to have a big impact on my performance. So I’m thinking it would make a great start for anyone looking to make some easy progress once they return to diving after the lockdown.

After all this mental wandering in the underwater world, I am confident everyone is even more impatient for our next dive! So let’s pledge that upon our return after this long pause, one of our first upcoming dives will be dedicated to our buoyancy performance. Both for our own as well as the ocean’s benefit.

See you all soon, hopefully underwater!

Author: Κaterina Kakavitsa