Today was my first day in quite awhile to do a long 5+ hour underwater exposure.
While the much needed winter break was appreciated to catch up on all things topside, the sporadic day of diving here and there did anything but quench my appetite for the life aquatic – nor did it do much to keep my fitness to dive on par with where it needs to be.
At some point in my diving ‘career’ – not the quick splashes, rather the lengthy working dives – I arrived at a state where I am can honestly say that I am physically and psychologically more centered and comfortable than being up top. I feel ‘put together’ well underwater, and like a slug out of water. This probably has much to do with adaptation to weightlessness.
Up top, especially during lengthy downtime, like the recent stretch, it is not uncommon for me to retain a significant amount of water weight. My body just sponges up, as if in shock from being removed from the aquatic environment for too long. I recently dismissed a weight gain of nearly eight pounds as the holidays taking their toll, however being back to it today brought me back to the retention concept – I swung six pounds, just today, while diving for about 5 1/2 hours.
That’s nearly one pound of fluid loss every hour.
I have yet to uncover the actual physiological mechanisms at play with this, but it is quite dramatic, and I’d suspect ‘traumatic’ to my body’s various tissues. I’m not at all dehydrated, though I clearly swung from some degree of supersaturation back to normalcy in a very short time frame…the human body is an amazing thing.
For better or worse, I’ll be back at it again tomorrow, and the next, and the next – slowly reacclimating to an aquatic state and undergoing the metamorphosis that we humans are indeed capable of to take our species to a new life in the sea.