Our team member, Gabriela Chaves, tells us about her experience with scuba diving. She told us how it feels to be underwater and immersed in a dive with other species.
How did you become a scuba diver and how did this passion evolve for you?
I’ve loved water since my earliest memories, so the first time I traveled to the Caribbean, I had to try scuba diving which was “love at first dive”. In that same moment, I decided I was going to continue doing it and become certified in order to be able to expand the range of my experiences underwater.
What does scuba diving mean to you?
It’s the closest thing to discovering another world. It is as amazing as it is challenging. It’s a moment to be profoundly connected with myself and be fully aware of the moment. Being in a harsh environment makes it more exciting since I have to be able to overcome the difficulties that it implies.
What has been your most beautiful experience underwater?
One of my dearest experiences was diving at night in Puerto Vallarta. When one is diving in the dark you can only see what your flashlight is illuminating. It means that every time you sweep the area with your light, there can be a surprise. I found a sea turtle diving right next to me. They are so peaceful and watching them dive seems almost as if they are flying. It was an amazing experience to share that moment with the turtle.
With what marine species have you shared your diving experiences and which one has impacted you the most?
I have swam with a large variety of fish…octopuses, squids, sharks, sea lions, but the most impactful creatures so far have been the hammerhead sharks and especially manta rays. Such an odd twist of nature in their design!
Have you had any reckless experience or what risks have you encountered underwater?
Proper training is key in this activity to minimize the risks. I’ve had good training, excellent dive masters, and thankfully I’ve never had a bad situation. For example, while one is around sharks, you need to lay low, sit still, and wait for them to come to you. Sharks are curious creatures and learning to read their behavior is really important to avoid any dangerous situation.
In your opinion, what would you consider to be the best destination for diving?
It depends on the type of experience you want to have. For example, the Caribbean and Galapagos are amazing places. I love “wreck diving” too, so any place with a sunken ship, plane or building will do as well.
What do you consider to be the benefits that one acquires when diving that could encourage other people to take an interest in this activity?
I’ve experienced two sides of it. On the one hand, it is almost a meditative moment. Being silent and fully connected to the present brings me much peace. On the other hand, I learned to push my limits, to conquer my fears. But of course, the main benefit is to dive in amazing places, meet all types of fantastic creatures you wouldn’t otherwise encounter and to experience nature in its wild state.