What's Your Passion?

By Bonnie J. Cardone

Among my passions are skiing and diving. Although they would seem to have little in common, they are more alike than you might think.

I don't know why others ski. I do it because it is exhilarating, mentally and physically challenging and the scenery is absolutely spectacular. Since I only spend a week doing it each year, there is no danger I'll ever become so proficient I'll get bored. There is always another, more difficult run, another mountain to try.

Although I've been skiing longer than I've been diving, I've done more diving. The Pacific Ocean is practically in my backyard, while the nearest ski areas are several hours away. Unlike my skiing skills, my diving skills were perfected (as much as they could be) long ago. And, if I hadn't found something special to do U/W, and people to do it with (I joined a club), I wouldn't still be diving.

My search for a special U/W activity took years. I was a shell collector and a game hunter before I picked up a camera and I fell head over heels in love with U/W photography. I found it exhilarating, mentally and physically challenging and the scenery was (and is) absolutely spectacular (see paragraph #2, above).As with skiing, there is no danger I will ever become so proficient at underwater photography that I will become bored. Few photos are perfect.

It is the challenges of skiing and U/W photography that, for me, are the source of their joy. When I ski well or a photo actually turns out the way I envisioned it, I know I have done something that wasn't easy and it's exhilarating to have tested myself and excelled.

What are your passions?

If you don't have any related to diving, chances are you won't be diving long. You'll grow bored and move onto something else. Yet there are so many diving activities I'm always amazed everyone doesn't dive. There is literally something for everyone. Let me point out a few.

Wreck Diving: Yes, taking artifacts is illegal in most places but that is only one part of wreck diving. Researching a wreck's history, finding new wrecks or photographing any wreck can be immensely satisfying.

Game Hunting: If you like seafood, try taking your own. Surely it is more ecologically sensitive to spear your own fish or grab your own lobster than to eat seafood in a restaurant! And, you'll enjoy your meal much more knowing how hard it was to come by.

U/W Modeling: Here's an art few have mastered. You must have excellent diving skills, be able to take direction, have colorful, modern equipment and work for nothing other than the satisfaction of helping produce a pleasing photograph. Tek Diving: This is our version of extreme skiing. Tek divers do it deeper, longer, using more gear and more complicated gear than anyone else. Highly trained and skilled, they appear to thrive on challenges.

Fishwatching/Marine Biology: This can be a very rewarding pastime and one that's guaranteed to fill your brain with fascinating, little known facts. You don't need a degree to become knowledgeable about what you see U/W, just a few books and an intense desire to learn.

Bottle Diving: This combines a love of history and a love of finding things with a love of diving.

Treasure Hunting: An U/W metal detector and a little research can bring you hours of pleasure, looking for things discarded or lost in the past or even yesterday. Jewelry, coins and other little treasures are fun (and sometimes even lucrative) to find.

Teaching: Many people love turning other people onto diving. If you like teaching, you'll probably love becoming an instructor.

The previous listing isn't everything diving has to offer, just a sampling. Try something new and, good diving!