Underwater Wakulla- February 8, 2018

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Mossback divers. By GREGG STANTON

Mossback divers.

Routinely we meet people who have been out of diving for a while or never certified to dive in the first place attracted to the glitter of diving again.
Certification is good for life but does need proficiency.
These folks are obvious by their stories of past accomplishments and future desires. They often conclude there is no hope for a solution, not wanting the assumed embarrassment of taking a class over or keeping up with the younger crowd.
Au contraire!
To start with: Previous divers may take a refresher class and be back in business over a single long weekend.
But better than that is to upgrade their training, since we now breathe a different gas than before, and our technology has become far more reliable and we have an abundance of new local dive sites, both onshore and offshore, that can be introduced, all for the same time commitment.
Nitrox is the breathing gas of preference for most divers in this area since improved blending practices were introduced 8 years ago.
It stands to reason: if I add a pill to your car’s gas tank (hypothetically) that nearly doubles your mileage/gallon, would you be interested?
Of course!
Even if I told you that you needed to watch the car’s temperature gauge more closely?
Well, in principle, Nitrox does the same thing. We add oxygen to air to reduce nitrogen in the blend we breathe. The older you are, the more popular the Nitrox gas becomes these days.
NAUI requires course work to better understand how to manage the gas and some dives to practice.
The dives may be done offshore in concert with advanced diver training, such as spearfishing, photography or deep diving, or onshore with daylight cavern (not cave) overhead diving.
A popular configuration includes a Friday of Nitrox and cavern (or other topics) lectures followed by three dives a day on Saturday to Orange Grove Sink and Sunday to Jackson Blue Springs.
If offshore, two days to K Tower to visit the Goliath Grouper or one of the many artificial reefs within an hours launch offshore weather depending.
And there is a hybrid option of catching the high tides diving the Panama City Jetties. I am always amazed at the wildlife we encounter passing through the St. Andrews Bay Inlet.
But what does the Mossback hope to achieve out of all of this?
Certainly a review of the diving academics is achieved through the Nitrox lectures. A review and update of the equipment happens before and with the dives.
A confidence builder is inevitable as the person gets back on a bike not ridden for decades.
And since diving is a social activity, you meet and go diving with more people, who share your passion for this sport.
So next time you get excited about your once passion for diving, attend a seminar on diving, (next one is March 3rd), stop by a dive shop and describe what you dream of doing, and bring a friend to share in the excitement.
It is still a lot of fun being underwater here in Wakulla County!