Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just dive into it!

MOST of the time, we stay clear of any kind of liquid when working with our computers. But there is this type of computer that is meant to be used underwater. What is it?

Answer: Dive computer.

A dive computer (or dive com, in scuba diving lingo) is not like your laptop or desktop computer. It looks more like a wristwatch and is a device used by scuba divers to measure the time and depth of a dive so that a safe ascent rate can be calculated.

What that basically means is this: In scuba diving, the pressure of the surrounding water increases as you descend, and reduces as you ascend.

As you go deeper underwater, you have to constantly "equalise" the air pressure in your ear with the pressure of the surrounding water by pinching your nose and blowing hard out through your ears.

And when you ascend, there's something to be said about decompression sickness.

You need to ascend slowly, making few minutes stops at certain depths on your way up. You do this to avoid decompression sickness. Otherwise, you may die.

I have been taking scuba diving seriously lately. I first got acquainted with the activity last year while covering a Panasonic event in Pulau Perhentian.

The assignment required reporters to dive along, to witness the actual work.

Although I was afraid of large bodies of water, I said yes to the assignment.

It's all about mental barriers, folks. Thousands of people have dived into deep waters and came out alive, so you know for a fact that it can be done.

But there's a difference between knowing and believing. I decided to make that transition from knowing to believing and was successful at that.

Since that first experience, I have done a total of five dives. I have yet to get my licence but this should be soon.

Meantime, I have been checking out some of the equipment. It does make a difference if you use rented equipment as opposed to your own.

So over the weekend, at the Malaysian International Dive Expo at PWTC in Kuala Lumpur, I took the opportunity to shop for some basic diving equipment such as mask, wetsuit and fins.

I managed to get a suit for RM250, which is a steal considering you usually cannot get a full-body suit for less than RM400.

One of the things to look for when trying out a suit is that it has to be tight enough. I was told this is to prevent your body from floating. The suit that I got is freaking tight, so I must be doing it right. In fact, it's so tight that I am not able to wear anything else underneath. Interestingly, the brand is called Bare.

A friend made a statement recently which I find interesting. She said a lot of gay men like scuba diving. I didn't know that, and I didn't ask her why but I do have a theory: They take better care of themselves and therefore can slip into a wetsuit easily.

Straight men go drinking with their buddies and develop teh tarik belly. They feel uncomfortable and hate the way they look in a suit, and we haven't even got to the part where they must learn to breathe like Darth Vader.

But it doesn't mean that all men who can slip into a wetsuit are gay.

Finally, to those who are not sure if they can scuba dive, just give it a try. After all, you cannot have scuba without the word cuba (try).