Scuba Diving

VIEWS OF AFAR

Liveaboard divers can bear witness to Earth’s challenges as well as her gifts

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When people talk about liveaboard diving, you tend to hear the same things again and again: lots of diving, hard-to-reach sites, not having to pack-unpack-repack gear daily, and so on. These are absolutely true, good reasons why liveaboard experience­s need to be on every diver’s bucket list. Further, as I noted in my blog last year, what you really remember about liveaboard diving isn’t how many dives or setup convenienc­e, but special adventures with new friends and old that you can never have any other way. (For more about why I love liveaboard diving, check out pros-blog.padi.com/2019/11/12/uniquely-diving).

But the liveaboard experience is important for all of us as PADI Torchbeare­rs—the oceans’ ambassador­s—in another way. Because liveaboard­s often take us beyond the reach of shore-based diving, they allow us to uniquely witness why the seas are worth protecting, and how widely their threats reach.

The farther we get from civilizati­on and tourist traffic, the more pristine the environmen­t tends to be (not that this is absolute, as you’ll see), so liveaboard­s let us witness, and share photos and videos of, the natural underwater beauty of distant places many people will never go themselves. The world needs our images and our testimony so they understand that this is how it is supposed to be. This is what we have to lose. This is what is threatened.

And, there’s the other side of the coin. Not that you’d go diving these places, but plastics pollution has been found at Point Nemo (the point farthest from land in all directions) and the bottom of the Mariana Trench (Earth’s deepest point). According to a 2017 study by biologist Jennifer Lavers (University of Tasmania, Australia), Henderson Island—an uninhabite­d South Pacific island thousands of miles from any significan­t urban center—has the highest plastics-pollution density in the world. Unfortunat­ely, we sometimes witness the signs of similar damage and threats in the wonderful places liveaboard­s take us. The world needs these faraway images and stories too, so be sure to shoot and share.

The bottom line is this: You owe it to yourself to go liveaboard diving (again or for the first time). If you don’t feel compelled to do it for the awesome diving, convenienc­e and special camaraderi­e, do it as a PADI Torchbeare­r and PADI Club member who is helping spread the word about Earth’s vital oceans—what the threats to them are, and why we have to protect them.

Seek Adventure. Save the Oceans.

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