When I was teaching Scuba, many of my clients were often going on vacation in places like Cozumel, Truk, or even the Caribbean. There was not much interest in diving local lakes of Texas. I understand this after coming off of a few years diving the deep wrecks in the dark waters of New Jersey, where we were plundering wrecks left at the bottom from U-Boat torpedoes. My main counter argument was based on how much they were paying for their vacation and if they wanted to get full value of the dive.
My philosophy is the better diver you are, the more opportunities you have while diving. In addition, the more comfortable you are with conditions, the more you will enjoy your dive.
With all of the possibilities and opportunities, I wanted my clients to be able to participate in night diving, drift diving, and be part of the few in the water that a dive master might take them to “his special spot”.
I know when dive mastering, if I saw someone struggling with gear on the surface, or was uncomfortable in the water, I would pay extra-special attention to them, and conversely might not allow them as much freedom as I would with someone who showed a great amount of proficiency. Also, if I thought someone was fairly squared away with their skills, I could take them to a special spot on a wreck, show them a nesting area, or slip them into a grotto.
I bring this up because there are so many local opportunities in any adventure sport that better prepare you for when you do lay out allot of cash for a big trip. Here in Boise, I can tune up my skiing skills locally at Bogus Basin for a fraction of the cost of traveling to a resort. When I do travel to a resort though, my day is filled with excellent skiing, because I am used to the gear, the conditions, and I have a higher degree of confidence.
I would pass this same methodology on to my dive clients. Once certified, I would prepare them for diving in currents or doing drift diving in a local river. I could certify them for deeper diving in some of our bottomless lakes in our area. We would spend time doing night diving, navigation, and even renting a dive boat for a day to get used to working from a floating platform. I have even been known to “seed” some of the smaller sunken boats in a lake so my divers could do a bit of treasure hunting.
I guess I lay all this out because so often we think of the adventure being “THE ADVENTURE” we head out on. We forget about all the training and prep work that goes into this. I even struggle with this with the Adventure IQ crew, who don’t always see the benefit of us doing a weekend trip to work out the kinks on (fill in the blank).
In the military, we used to do field problems and missions. There was a specific issue we were training to work on. In our adventure world, we could essentially take a single aspect of our trip- say river crossings, repairing a flat, or even preparing and cleaning up an evening meal. These can all be broken down and worked on so that when you do deploy on an expedition, the lessons have already been solidified and everything comes together like a symphony playing together. It is important when its raining and camp has to be set up, when its dark and a gash in the forehead has to be treated, or your gps fails and you pull out the road map, training for various conditions will make your grand adventure much more enjoyable.
In the next few months in preparation for some of our summer trips we are going to train on several areas, here is a VERY short list that will help in getting everyone working together.
Just like the divers I would send off every winter, well prepared and confident, we will hit our next adventure trained and ready to enjoy without the little things distracting us on our trip
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