Phuket Gazette –
Ten years, five years, even two years ago, any conversations approaching the idea of “solo” diving were held in hushed voices in the back of small bars between experienced divers, or in the depths of online cave-diving forums.
‘Buddy diving’ was a philosophy heralded by Jacques Cousteau and the crew of the Calypso as early as the writing of The Silent World. It was established as a fundamental pillar to safe recreational diving – at the time it was an absolute.
But, divers did and do dive alone, either by choice, as photographers, spear-fishermen or tech-divers; or effectively alone as dive masters or instructors leading a group of Discover Scuba students.
Others find themselves alone after buddy separation. Most have never trained to be alone or have merely put together their own safety protocol from the bits and pieces gathered by sifting through backroom advice and forums.
In the eyes of PADI “solo-diving” is still not on the table, but the conversation has changed.
The hushed whispers have become audible voices and the voices have been heard. In broad daylight, aboard Kamala Dive Center’s Similan Queen, I listen to Kevin Black from Kiwidiver brief two students for the new PADI “Self-reliance Diver” course.
This course represents a fundamental shift in the way recreational divers and professionals perceive the way they dive.