As a scuba woman in her fifties I feel I have been embraced by the diving community. As a female diver I have dived with men and women from all different walks of life, different generations and ethnicities. I have found the sport of scuba diving to be inclusive and welcoming. Often buddy teams include a male diver and a woman diver, one younger and one older, different backgrounds. How much air we use more important than gender, race or age. As scuba divers we bond over protecting our marine environment, enjoying our oceans, talking dive destinations, conservation and our next dive.
A woman diving
We all travel through lives differently. Taking different paths with different priorities. We have raised families, pursued careers, accumulated things, had health challenges and dealt with family crises. Then we arrive here – mid 50’s with a moment to breathe. We know ourselves slightly better than we did at 18. We know ourselves, but sometimes it’s hard to know where we fit. We want healthier bodies, more fun, and to challenge and stretch our boundaries. We want to be ourselves, not someone’s mother, wife, teacher, employee, or boss. Finding that space can be difficult. I have found it in scuba diving. I have found it in the exhale.
Female Diver Exhales
Scuba diving allows me to slowly descend underwater and deeper within. As I transition from above to below the ocean, I exhale. My first bubbles underwater resonate with me as I breathe out. It is in that I find my release. I have seen myself in that release. Found me in the first inhale as I shift to another world, free of the weight of gravity and my daily responsibilities. I have found space in that pause between breaths, where I move neither up nor down, neutrally buoyant, still, complete.
PADI training centres provide an even playing field….and buddies! Women diving, men diving, we all receive the same training; have to perfect the same skills and then we all continue to learn. Diving with the PADI centres connects you to a wide range of people – different shapes, sizes, ages, genders and ethnicities. I have made some great long-term friends and sometimes just friends for the day.
I never ask anybody what they do for a living because they are out and away from their lives and it really doesn’t matter what they do. They are simply who they are on the day.
Scuba diving, dive sites and diving techniques
Conversations flow around food, diving, travel, skills for diving, funny anecdotes and ensuring everyone is ok. The diving community is inclusivity. A love of the environment and the euphoria of experiencing such diversity underwater unites us and allows us to celebrate its’ splendor. I am privileged to be able to engage with complex beautiful ecosystems and humans, that are at times spectacular.
Women divers championed
As a middle-aged woman I have been made to feel insignificant, self-conscious and embarrassed about my body. For someone who is not an athletic person, is uncoordinated and not strong; sporting activities can be daunting and I often feel small, stupid and inconsequential. I can honestly say as an older woman diving I have never been made to feel that way. The PADI diving community have been supportive, generous, uplifting and empowering. I feel I have been embraced – cellulite and all.
Scuba diving culture
Scuba diving has led to a rediscovery of myself. It can be challenging at times, equalizing, definitely fun; awe inspiring, something I can do alone but never be alone.
I am part of a growing number of women around the world starting their dive adventures later in life. Hopefully I can inspire woman my age to step out of their comfort zone, challenge themselves, have fun, be themselves, makes great friends interact with nature and welcome the inclusivity of scuba diving. I hope you find your niche because I have found mine.
It’s never too late – TAKE THE DIVE WITH TANYA