Hayden's 10-year Love Affair with Diving...
It’s been over 10 years since I did my PADI Openwater course in the tropical waters of Morton Bay near Tangalooma Island, QLD. When I say tropical I mean slightly warmer than here (24°) and I still remember that first dive like it was yesterday.
How could I forget the amazing sensation of slipping below the surface on SCUBA for my first breath on regulator next to the Tangalooma wrecks that were covered in hundreds of Yellow Banded Sweet-lips, Three Stripe Fusiliers and a resident Humpheaded Maori Wrasse named “Wally”.
I soon discovered every dive site has a resident Wally, still it was great to see.
Open water dives 2, 3 & 4 went by with more & more excitement and with it the passion for what I had seen continued to grow. Dives 10, 20, 50 and 100 whistled by over the summer of 2004 as I worked my way towards PADI Divemaster in the Bay of Islands.
Summer was in full swing and I couldn’t wait to get back in the water even after I had just got out from a days diving. In the water was where I was happiest. Over the next few years the passion for diving had taken over, every spare minute was spent in the water (not a bad thing aye) and by this time I had become an instructor (MSDT - master scuba diver trainer) with over 1500 logged dives around the world. Seeing a students face filled with anticipation and excitement as they entered for there first underwater experience gives every instructor a warm fussy. That’s why we do it!
After a few years of teaching and not enough time for my own personal diving I got to the stage were I had to re-ignite the love for the activity that had given me so much excitement and memories over the years. I decided it was time to scratch that itch for deep technical diving.
Next step, TDI Technical Diving Instructor: rebreathers, mixed gases and long deco’s.
Moving my diving experience to different areas over the years has definitely helped keep the passion for being underwater and of course there’s many reasons why we stop diving, whether its kids, our jobs... but to be honest there is always a way around it.
After my son was born I very rarely got the chance to do any deep tech dives due to time constraints or no money to go away for the weekend with multiple tanks, ½ a dozen regulators, a dry suit and the many extras we collect.
Not getting in the water made me look at other options as I had when Instructing got me down. I went from twin tanks & stage bottles with 70min dive times to 70 seconds of dive time... welcome Rob Allen , Vertex and a different silent world of spearfishing. My first attempt at spearfishing was successful considering I was wearing a semi-dry wetsuit with scuba fins.
Again I had re-ignited my passion for being in the ocean, I can’t explain the exhilaration, heart pounding moment I shot my first Kingi. From that moment I was hooked.
If you have forgotten the heading “Keeping the Passion Alive” then maybe you need to mix it up like I have... Novice to Instructor to Tech-diving mad-man to Spearo.
I still love scuba but have a huge appetite for spearfishing and with that I think that I have the best of both worlds.