Becoming Self Reliant by Lyd

Read about why our Lydia decided to become self reliant...

  • 4pm, 21st September, Marsa Nakari – Southern Egypt

    I love this time of day, this time of year in Egypt, the heat of the day is starting to ease, the colours are starting to change as the sun starts to slowly make her way down. This was my last diving day of my trip, my kit had been rinsed and was hanging to dry ready for packing in the morning.

    Looking around others were starting to make their way back to their rooms, or were sitting having a coffee and cake, but I just really fancied one last dive, a Lyd dive, something slow and shallow, a quiet chance to say bye bye to the reef until the next time.

    There’s many reasons divers take the Solo/Self Reliant diving course, mine was so I could simply have a happy gentle bimble on my own, at my pace, on my times, just like this, so I popped back to the kit store, wrote my plan for the dive team, got kitted and got in.

    As it was I final dive I opted for a shore/shore, max depth 18m, max dive time 45mins. I entered the Marsa, dropped down into around 3m and slowly descended working my way towards the south of the reef…. It was so peaceful, just me and the fishes.

    This little dive is one of my favourites for a solo, its gentle, calm, with plenty to see, yeah ok its familiar too, but some dives can just be nice, they don’t always have to be challenging, adrenalin packed or mind blowing, sometimes its just nice to dive to relax.

    The Marsa and House Reef at Nakari has some wonderful soft and hard corals, and all of the usual suspects you see on the reef. Turtles are often around at the end of the Marsa as you turn out to the outer reef, there’s several species of moray, lots of Lion fish, puffers, octopus etc, as well as a good population of squid, that often keep me occupied… I always think of aliens when I see them.

    As I reached the end of the Marsa, where you can turn south onto the outer reef, I turned north and crossed the bay, with all its beautiful natural light, following the seagrass at 18m having a little look to see what I could find along the way, and avoiding the big old titan that’s often around there, before I reached the corner of the north, where I turned west and slowly starting to make my way back to shore, deploying my DSMB around 10 mins before I was due to exit, to show I was on my way home.

  • Shagra and Nakari are the perfect places for a solo dive, if qualified you are asked for a short dive plan which you sign, and they may sometimes check your computer when you come back to ensure you have stuck to your max depth, and have returned with the correct reserve of air…. It does sound a bit nanny I know, but being allowed to dive alone on such a beautiful reef is a privilege, and if I need to provide a plan before my dive and my computer after I am more than happy to do that.

    Plan the dive…. Dive the plan, we have all been taught that haven’t we.

    There are plusses and minuses to solo diving, a plus is I get to go where I want, when I want, and I get to stop and spend time with what I want, the minuses are the experiences, diving is a shared sport, and when you see that whale shark, or get approached by that pod of spinner dolphins, sharing that memory isn’t half as exciting when you’ve seen it alone, not that its happened yet, but hey I’m optimistic!

    Another plus I have to say is that I feel it has make me a better buddy again, over the years I had become a bit complacent, the distance often between myself and my buddy had grown as we both wandered a little enjoying our own thing, not always paying attention to each other, it has reminded me that a buddy system only really works, when you behave like buddies.

  • I’m pleased to say that solo diving is no longer a taboo subject, at some point many of us divers have been, or will be, diving alone, whether we intend to or not. Solo diving can quickly occur for a number of reasons, you may be separated from your buddy, or diving with a buddy who's not really paying much attention to you, perhaps even diving with your children. Even under the buddy system, if you are diving with someone, who can’t assist you if you need them, then you are essentially diving solo.

    Being a solo diver is really just about defensive diving and planning, if you need one, take two!, and planning your dive, and diving your plan, something we can often become a bit lapsed about in the security of a buddy pair.

    I got a lot from taking the course, that benefits not just me, but also anyone I will dive with in the future. The course was just 3 dives, some skills, and some academics, and worth every minute!

    If you would like further information about becoming either a SDI Solo Diver or a PADI Self Reliant diver drop us a line for more details.

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