There's no denying it's a challenging time at the moment. Dive centres have lost their income, travel is almost non existent, no diving is taking place either here or abroad. Some people are struggling with the loss or illness of loved ones. It's a devastating time for many. What I would like to focus on though, is the positives. For many people diving forms a huge part of their lives. Between weekends away, day trips and training we end up spending a lot of time with a group of people when you're in a club, not to mention evenings at the bar.
There has been a huge number of online events that have taken place. We've buddied up with a local dive school and club, Aquanaut Scuba in Kingston and Amphibian Scuba in West Norwood, to offer out a few more activities and pool resources. Severtec are running a series of talks and there are numerous pub quizzes out there too.
The often partisan lines have been crossed and people are sharing and connecting in ways we hadn't always seen before. There are plans being made and discussions, and just good conversation and a lot of teasing taking place. Lots of laughter. This connection is so important for us and we're forging new friendships. We'll be able to say hello to a lot more people when we go to dive sites and see divers around us. We're learning more as we listen to talks and discuss.
There are perhaps longer term benefits to this too. We lose many divers as life gets in the way. As a single parent I've found it difficult to be involved with the social side of the club, and to get onto club dives, even though I organise them! Work patterns have excluded others and for some they have moved away. Where people lose relationships or connections it's easy for them to drop out of club diving and so then drop out of diving altogether. We're learning new ways to include people, even where we can't dive or physically meet, and Ocean Diver, for one, will be taking this forward when we finally get to meet up in the bar again.
By being flexible and approaching diving inclusively, and working together to get the best outcomes, we can involve many more people, and offer more opportunities. Each club and school has its own uniqueness, its own strengths. It's often not really a competition, although it's usually seen as such. I'm hoping we can take these connections forward, to include those who are not able to get to club nights, for whatever reason, and to keep the door open for divers to return to the water when life has settled into a routine that accommodates it.
So, I hope this ends soon, and with as little fall out as possible. I send thoughts to those who have suffered, or are suffering because of the current situation. And I hope we can take the positives and move forward stronger, despite the inevitable dip we are experiencing, to a return to a more connected UK dive community with many more opportunities available to us.