Tom Peyton, Vice President of Kids Sea Camp and Family Dive Adventures, is called ‘the Zen Diver' by his wife, and here he offers some hints on how to use diving to create the ultimate ‘chill-out zone'.
Zen as a practice is about finding awareness of the self, and with this awareness comes acceptance of the self. From this acceptance comes peace of the self and maybe, from this peace, you may experience enlightenment — an even deeper awareness of the self.
One benefit of self-awareness is that by understanding oneself, you can understand and accept others. With this awareness, one can then become a better partner and Zen Dive Buddy.
As a diver, you need to be aware of who you are as a diver to be a good Zen dive buddy. Your own self-awareness as a diver can make or break your Zen partnership underwater. A well-matched dive buddy team is important in enjoying and being safe underwater.
What kind of diver are you?
Air-hog: Are you always using a 100 to do a 50-minute dive? You might want to tell your dive buddy and also learn some better breathing techniques. You need to know your air consumption and tell your Zen dive buddy the truth. Mismatching only happens when the other diver is unaware of the other’s abilities as a diver.
Mermaid or Merman: If you are never really using air and diving with a 60 — you might not want to be matched with an air-hog. The reality is most recreational divers are mismatched, women tend to be much better on air, and most men are air-hogs.
Dive-hard: Are you always ready to go diving and basically need a tank on your back the moment you roll out of bed? Dive-hards, please be aware you will need to quickly accept you are going to be going through a lot of dive buddies. If you do find another Dive-hard, only travel with him or her. And please stop telling the rest of the world that they are crazy for not being in the water all the time!
Green Flasher: Are you a beer drinker dressed as a diver? Is the main point of the day to dress like a diver and act like a diver but really, you are just waiting for the green-flash sunset as you pound down your fifth cocktail?
Fair Weather Diver: You’re a diver and you are just not sure about diving yet. You sort of like it but if there’s a shopping trip in town, you might just not tell the dive boat and leave your dive buddy at the dock. But then the next day, you can’t wait to go diving and even do the night-dive.
King of the Ocean: Are you obsessed with killing lionfish? Do you bring your own spear? Do you always have a 100 just in case you find some lionfish at 30m? Are you almost always on the verge of deco because you are cleaning the reef?
Shutter-fish: Do you love shooting photos more than knowing the location of your dive buddy? Photographers are wonderful people, but the truth is they make terrible dive buddies. If your dive buddy is a photographer, always know they are never watching where you are or what you are doing.
Zen Dive Buddy: You love diving but are not defined but it. You’re good on air, flexible, confident and just love being in the water. You tend to get at least two dives in a day and will at the very least do a shore dive and a night dive during a dive week. And you always know where and who your dive buddy is.
The reality is some days we are lionfish killers and the next week we can be fair-weather divers — most divers are a little of everyone listed. Please note Shutter-fish are always Shutter-fish, most cannot dive without a camera in their hands. If the Shutter-fish does do a dive without a camera, you can be guaranteed it's the one dive they will see something they have always wanted to shoot.
Most married couples are good Zen Dive Buddies, not because they are the exactly the same kind of diver, but because they know where each other is as a diver. The acceptance is what brings a peaceful Zen diving partnership.
Photographs courtesy of Kids Sea Camp/Family Divers