MYTH: Scuba diving is for tropical climates only.
TRUTH: Well, diving in the tropics IS pretty phenominal; you just can't beat that weightless and peaceful feeling as you glide over a colourful garden of coral and marine life. Unless, of course, you are drifting through a kelp forest with a pod of sea lions. Or, perhaps exploring the beautiful Arabia in Tobermory, Ontario, sunk in 1884, and preserved in the deep, cool waters of Lake Huron, or the shipwreck of the Wexford, sunk 100 years ago (1913), claiming the lives of 23 souls during the great storm of Lake Huron. Further to that, you can find flooded quarry's and mineshafts in the most unlikely places!
The point is, there is a world of rich history, and great geological beauty waiting to be discovered beneath the waves pretty much anywhere in the world!
That is without even considering the amazing people that divers are. You will never meet a friendlier or more open bunch of happy blokes anywhere. After your diving, there is likely BBQ, refreshments, and great stories to be shared! We don't just do that under a palm tree, the fun and laughter run rampant everywhere!
Have tank, will travel.
MYTH: Sharks will eat me; I saw Jaws, you can't fool me!
TRUTH: Well, if Hollywood put that out there, it must be true (insert sarcastic font). The truth is, sharks don't want to be bothered with you; you are chewy with all that gear on, the metal cylinder on your back makes them fart, and you just don't taste as good as a fish. They will make every effort to avoid you.
In all seriousness though, it is very rare to have the opportunity to glimpse these amazing creatures on a dive, and such an experience would definitely be a happy highlight for any diver.
These days, dive operations now guide groups on shark dives, and sharks have learned that a group of divers equals a free meal of fish. Caution is advised; you want to make sure you follow your guide's instructions to the letter. Never forget that they are wild creatures, not domestic pets. Many divers have enjoyed being able to see and witness sharks in their habitat - the oldest, and most efficient marine predator on earth - at close range, citing it as one of the most rewarding dive experiences they have ever had.
FACT: More people die each year from falling coconuts than from shark attacks (shark attacks can often be attributed to mistaken identity. Surfers on boards may appear to be a nice fat sea lion floundering on the surface of the water from below).
MYTH: I have to buy all the expensive equipment just to learn how to dive.
TRUTH: New divers require 3 personal pieces of scuba equipment to begin: mask, snorkel, and fins. Make sure your Adventure Sports Associate helps you to fit these correctly. Ill-fitting equipment will detract from the joy of your dive, or may even cause you to have to abort your dive altogether.
You may rent all other gear for your dives. Try the equipment offered at the dive shop. Is it comfortable? Easy to use? If and when you decide you wish to add a piece of scuba gear to your scuba arsenal, you will be better prepared to make that choice. You will already know what you like about some gear (weight belt vs. integrated for your BCD, for example), and what you don't like. It's up to you how much you wish to invest.
MYTH: You have to be a muscle-bound competitive swimmer to scuba dive.
TRUTH: A person with an average fitness level can scuba dive. You DO have to know how to swim and tread water. You do not have to be Michael Phelps. If you are not a strong swimmer, it may be necessary to increase your swimming skills so that you have confidence, and can move more easily in the water.
To get your PADI Open Water certification, you must swim 200 yards non-stop. It is not a race, and you can take the time you need to do it.
MYTH: Diving is a man's sport. Women don't dive.
TRUTH: Diving may have been a predominantly male sport in the 1950's, but that has changed. We not only have some impressive female divers in our club, but we have some rockin' lady divemasters and instructors too; I don't know what our club and classes would be without them!
We hope to add a "Women's Dive Club" branch to our Tank Jockeys club in the near future - not with the purpose to exclude men, but to encourage women to gain confidence and competency in the sport with the guidance of other women who are very proficient and experienced. More women needed; Dive Like a Girl!
MYTH: Diving will hurt my ears
TRUTH: It can, if you fail to equalize as you descend; if you feel discomfort in your ears, you should ascend a little, equalize, and then continue your descent. SLOWLY, while equalizing often.
Wearing scuba hoodies in cold water can make equalizing a little more challenging, so be aware that you must take a little extra time, and pull that hoodie away from your ears frequently as you descend and equalize.
How do you equalize? Swallow, wiggle your jaw side to side, or pinch your nose, close your mouth, and blow. You will feel your ears equalizing the pressure.
So just don't believe all the dramatic myths that cross your path, come in and talk to an Adventure Sports Associate; they can answer all your questions and hopefully put you at ease.
There is good reason that Scuba diving is one of the safest sports; divers are responsible, conscientious, and detail oriented sports enthusiasts. They take their diving seriously and help others to dive safely too. Come in and learn more!