"Many people think that space is our final frontier – and that is not entirely true. While it is more difficult to get to outer space, we probably know more about the various planets and environments in space than we do about what lies beneath the surface of our oceans ..."
The Ocean – Our Most Unexplored Frontier
Many people think that space is our final frontier – and that is not entirely true.
While it is more difficult to get to outer space, we probably know more about the
various planets and environments in space than we do about what lies beneath
the surface of our oceans.
Just as in outer space, there is a whole environment, or ecosystem, under the
waters that cover 75% of our planet, with 70% of our planet being ocean waters.
Beneath those waters there really is an entirely new world -a world full of beauty
and mystery that few humans have the opportunity to experience.
But the lucky few who do have the opportunity to experience this vast under
water world are able to do so because they are scuba divers. Obviously, human
beings cannot breathe underwater, so instead, they rely on a portable respiratory
system that is self contained.
In fact, that is what the word Scuba means: Self Contained Underwater Breathing
Apparatus. This apparatus allows human beings to dive to depths that were once
unthinkable, and to stay under the water for long periods of time, depending on
how full the air tank is. Different mixtures of gasses are used in the air tank,
depending on the length and depth of the planned dive.
Forages into this underwater world have become increasingly popular, especially
since Scuba diving equipment makes it so easy. Now, if there is an ocean
nearby, you can bet there are scuba divers, scuba lessons, and scuba diving
clubs in the vicinity as well. There are even scuba diving clubs that are not
located near oceans. These clubs plan trips around the world to go scuba diving
in different oceans!
When you see the beauty that lives so peacefully under the water, it isn’t any
wonder why scuba diving is so popular. In fact, it is a world that is so amazing
and breath taking that you will want to make an under water camera part of your
essential dive equipment.
While no sport suits everyone, most people who try scuba diving are hooked
after their very first dive. Most people are looking forward to their next dive before
they ever return home from the last dive.
In our fast paced world, scuba diving offers the ultimate in relaxation and stress
relief. Imagine a world where there are no phones, no palm pilots – and no rush.
You leave a world that is noisy, and enter a world where the only real noises you
will hear are the bubbles from your scuba gear. In this world, you are only limited
by the amount of air in your tank.
The History of Scuba Diving
As far back as recorded history goes, people have been drawn to and mystified
by the ocean. Before the industrial age, however, if one wanted to explore what
was beneath the surface of the ocean, one had to hold his or her breathe, and
obviously, could only explore for as long as they could hold their breathe.
The ocean has always provided human beings with a source of food, and since
man discovered this, he has been working on ways to better explore that
underwater world. Initially, humans held their breath to either explore or gather
food, but eventually, hollow reeds were used.
These reeds allowed swimmers to keep their heads under the surface, where
they could view the underwater life to an extent, for an indefinite period of time.
However, using hollow reeds would not allow the swimmer to submerge more
than a couple of feet.
Next, divers tried to use air bags. Unfortunately, this could not work because the
air that was being breathed in from the bag was being exhaled back into the bag,
and then inhaled again, causing the diver to breath in carbon dioxide. Air bags
were followed by diving bells in the 16th century. The bottom portion of the bell
contained water, but the upper portion contained air. The diver could hold his
breathe to dive, then return to the bell to rest and get air.
It wasn’t until 1825 when William H. James made a huge advancement in the
diving world. He designed a diving suit that was self contained and had
compressed air, which was in an iron container that was to be strapped around
In 1829, Charles and John Deane improved on this design, presenting the first
air-pumped diving helmet to the world. As time marched on, divers kept
improving on the older systems, and by 1865, the first diving regulator had been
invented by Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouze.
Unfortunately, the equipment was all still so heavy that the diver did not actually
dive into the ocean – he walked. By 1879 the first known rebreather was being
used, and by 1905 the first rebreather that had metering valves that allowed for
control of the oxygen supply was invented.
By 1926, divers were actually swimming, instead of walking on the seabed floor,
and in the 1930’s Guy Gilpatrick of France was swim diving with waterproof
goggles. Swim fins also arrived on the scene, again in France.
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