Almost every summer diving season here in New England comes with some degree of tragedy. Among the pursuits of New England divers, and divers worldwide, is to visit the wreckage of the famous Andrea Doria – an Italian luxury liner that sunk in the 1950’s and now rests in over 200 feet of water in the deep, dark waters 60 miles offshore. To me, the wreck has been wrongfully idealized as the ‘Mt. Everest of diving’. There are far more technically challenging dives to do, and that serve a greater purpose than doing the dive ‘because I can’.
Herein lies the difference between ‘exploration‘ and ‘adventure’. Exploration is the pursuit of new knowledge, and often, though not always, requires venturing to a physical place that few, if any, have ventured to previously. The mindset behind this pursuit of knowledge is what sets the pursuit aside from ‘adventure’. Adventure is seeking a thrill…a predetermined effort to satisfy a personal need – to seek a rush or fulfill a conquest. This is often achieved by climbing a ladder – in some cases it’s climbed too fast (unknowingly) without having the deeply embedded reflexes that help with decision making when the top rung decides to break under your own weight.
Exploration on the other hand encourages and promotes a a methodical approach to problem solving, and comes with a justifiable need. Sure, explorers have accidents too, but I’d argue that sacrifice in the pursuit of improving our colletive body of worldly knowledge, rather than fulfilling personal conquest is more palletable.
Bottom line is that the recent deaths remind us that we play in high risk pool…even in the shallows. The dive industry needs to step up its game across the board and not make it so easy. Yes, we need #’s to make the business work, but not at the expense of putting people at an increased risk.
I extend my condolences to the families and friends of those lost this week. They are victims of a failed system in need of reform.