This is not a review of the movie “Big Blue” but is a writing about young men who has some similarity with the Jean Reno – the main character who played the famous diver Enzo Maiorca. He’s not an actor, although his presence and charisma could definitely suggest such possibility. My inspiration for writing are primarily people, people who in one or another way made impression on me. I like to write about people and probably this is the reason why I love to travel or vice versa…Nonetheless, this story is about David or Goñi or both, professional diver. Currently, he is living and working in Dominican Republic, where the big blue is all around. He’s in his early twenties, however despite his joyous character there is also certain contemplative side. Not serious but deep. The color of his eyes is the same as the color of the ocean, every time I look at him I see in my imagination how would be underwater. Once I asked him why he chose this profession, and how he feels deep down, his reply was that – “feels very peaceful”. It always amazes me why people chose one profession over another. Why someone is a dentist? Or mechanic, a DJ, professor, mathematician, physicist, doctor, policemen, firemen, photographer and the list can go endlessly.
Photo credit: Samir Ljuma
So, why David choose to become a diver and how was the decision made? Is it only a profession or a passion? Can you please share part of your experience and feeling down there?
Since I was a kid I have felt extreme passion for the ocean and including everything that involves water. I was born in Amposta in a small town in the middle of the Delta del Ebre in a natural reserve in Catalonia (Spain). I recall that when I was eight years old I went to my first fishing trip. I spent all the summer snorkeling trying to catch some octopus or just enjoying and observing the underwater world. In the afternoons I was fishing from my grandfather’s small boat. After, at the age of sixteen I became obsessed with the spare fishing doing apnea. I did this sport for many years. I was never a good student but finally I found something that I started to have interest on; and that was agriculture and diving. Thereafter I become a professional diver. Actually that was the moment when the ocean – my passion; turn to be my job and vice versa. Whenever I am deep down I always have this strong sensation of peace. The underwater is a place where one completely forgets about all problems and nobody can annoy you and tell you anything. There… it is just you and your breathing, so you can feel yourself being completely alive.
What kind of training and preparedness is necessary one to become a diver? Are there different levels of divers? Could you explain us more? What is your job about?
The thing is that there are so many types of divers in the diving world. First of all, there is a professional diver, also known as a commercial diver – one who works in the fish farms, petrol stations, harbors, or in the aquariums. Of course, there are different levels of divers depending on how deep one goes and works. First one is small deep or CEMAS (Center of Excursions Mountaineering and Underwater Activities) (2nd class restricted – 30mts deep), medium deep( 2nd – 60mts deep) and big deep (1st – 90mts deeps). On the other hand, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) and other associations of instructors of recreational diving provide diving training and issue certificates for recreational divers.
I became a professional diver in small deep at the when I turned nineteen. Then as soon as I have obtained my license I began to work as a professional diver. I have worked in the Barcelona aquarium and after in Vigo (Galicia) in an investigation center close to the Cies islands where the water was freezing, and also repairing some pipes in the harbors, cleaning some ships and doing this type of works. My dream since I was very young was to live in a Caribbean, so I applied for jobs here in the Dominican Republic. Got the job and now I have been living and working here as a diver almost nine months. Currently, I am working as an underwater videographer, shooting under water videos for people who do for first time diving tours or those who want to obtain a diving license.
How deep have you dived so far, and how long is possible one diver to stay underwater? Is it something that depends on the equipment one is using or preparedness or both? Which are the dangers down there, if any at all?
I don’t know exactly how deep I’ve been – probably 30mts. I’ve never had interest at all on going so deep as other divers are obsess about it. I don’t see the point yet… For the moment I enjoy without going so deep by being and seeing what’s in there. Neither I’ve had the possibility to go any deeper I’ve been so far. The time spent under water and the depth one goes is not proportional in the dive world. The time spent down there it depends on how deep you go, that means one would be able to stay longer or shorter time depending on the depth. So, as much deeper you go less time can you be under the water. In order to determine the time that you may stay in the water in terms of depth, there are tables that one has to check it every time before making the dive. The purpose of the tables is to determine the time you should stay in certain depth. These tables are named decompression tables and usually are used in professional diving. Nowadays, there are computers that calculate this, which function by introducing the bottom time and the depth, which are more or less exact.
Another very important thing is that one needs to be in good condition both physically and mentally for diving. To have overall awareness of what one actually is doing, to posses’ physical preparedness, but also to have sharp and fresh mind, and most importantly to be aware of the possible hazards there. The danger exist certainly but if you do the things right, and you make sure you follow the rules and take care this is minimized. Additionally, if you know exactly what are you doing and how to react affronting the dangers that you’ve been previously trained to affront there is no point to be afraid, it’s all about you and how sure and comfortable you feel down there. I consider that is extremely important to know yourself and be aware how you react if a problem actually occurs. In my case I can react and solve a problem better under the water rather than outside. I don’t know exactly why, but I assume is because I feel more relaxed and comfortable down there and there is nothing stressful at all for me, it’s difficult to explain.
Can you imagine yourself living underwater J?
No. But for sure in a pirate boat with a lot of barrels of rum and gunpowder sailing around the Caribbean Islands looking for big treasures full of gold and more Ron in the big blue! ha ha ha !
Altervoyage: Jana Loza