After spending a long-awaited day working in relatively clear water, as opposed to the mud holes typically encountered in the wild and wet world of commercial diving, I am inclined to again address the topic of visibility underwater and its effects on performance. Quite frankly, it’s all so very easy when you can see what you are up against.
Today I was reminded of my first openwater course. This goes back some 10+ years, but what has stood with me to this day is the difficulty I had with doing a full ‘ditch and don’ – or full gear removal, surfacing, diving back down, and putting it all back on again. Once the mask went off, I vividly remember how small my world became. It went from one where I could see more than 50 feet in any direction in the pool, to one where my mind reeled inside my little head. The world closed in, which leads to anxiety, and eliminates the false sense of security that ‘seeing’ affords. This skill remained a challenge for some time, and while mastered some long time ago, it became a personal quest to eliminate that feeling of the world closing in with the lack of being able to see.
When exactly sight became of secondary importance to me, I do not know. However, I can now confidently say that I don’t only see with my eyes. I can ‘see’ with my hands, and with a newly found composure underwater. Spending upwards of 7 or 8 hours a day in the murky Northeast underwater, there is no choice. Discovering this composure is a critical adaptation if we are to consider expanding our society’s range beyond the shoreline – otherwise we are severely limited to subtropical and tropical latitudes.
In another context, consider how a blind person ‘sees’. This individual surely has not limited his/her world to what lurks between their ears. It is their means of perceiving their environment that provides for a different means to ‘see’. And well, ‘seeing is believing’.
We humans have an incredible ability to adapt once moving past the psychology driving flight from a situation or environment. This ability, when encouraged, particularly in extreme environments, allows us to function at levels perhaps unimaginable by the masses, and stands as a reminder of how in tune with ourselves we may have been, or may again evolve to be. Share