Our first diver of the month is a savvy drysuit aficionado who we first had the pleasure to meet during a certification weekend in Dutch Springs, PA. We were quickly drawn to his charm and dry humor. That, coupled with his values, extraordinary discipline and love for SCUBA diving, made him an easy pick for our first feature diver of the month. Meet Craig Cholson:
When were you certified?
What got you into diving?
WHAT KEEPS YOU HOOKED?
wHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESTINATION OR DIVE SPOT LOCALLY AND GLOBALLY?
WHERE YOU EVER IN A DIFFICULT SITUATION WHILE UNDER WATER AND IF SO, HOW DID YOU GET OUT OF IT?
Another time many years later I had a buddy who was not a good match. He was ‘way faster than me, and I had trouble keeping up. Finally, I caught him and asked if he knew where the boat was (this was in the open ocean far from land). He did not. I told him to remain below while I surfaced to check the location. I found the boat, signaled “OK” but could not descend for reasons that still remain unclear. The dive master came for me after several unsuccessful attempts at submerging. Back to the boat with my dive buddy. No shame, I was just unhappy. I told the dive master that I wanted to speak with captain (I was self-reporting). Despite his insistence after discussing the incident with me that all was well, I sat myself out on the next dive to assess the situation and to off-gas. Lessons from that dive: make sure your assigned buddy is a good match; make sure you both are clear on the objectives of the dive; always, always, take a compass reading at the anchor or mooring.
WHAT ARE THREE ESSENTIALS YOU CANNOT DIVE WITHOUT?
2. I always dive with at least two dive lights.
3. A surface marker buoy and reflecting mirror.
4. Nuuns (effervescent electrolyte replacement tablets). Yes, that’s four; maybe five. Remember the rule of redundancy and failure - “One is none, two is one,” and so on?
dO YOU HAVE ONE PIECE OF DIVE GEAR YOU ARE PARTICULARLY ATTACHED TO AND WHY?
if YOU COULD GIVE BEGINNING DIVERS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE... WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Most importantly, I’d tell you what Didi told me nearly six decades ago – slow down!