Which Buddy do you prefer?
Some buddies are amazing divers and are great to dive with. Others become life-long friends and dive buddies. Occasionally we come across a dive buddy which makes you wonder – does this diver really have a certification card? Dive buddies on Gozo and around the globe come in all types, shapes and sizes, let’s take a look at the most common ones you might encounter;
Ever got paired up with a dive buddy who thinks they have to explore the entire sea-bed on one dive? Then you highly likely got The Swimmer as a dive buddy. This buddy has one quest in mind, and that is to cover as much underwater ground as possible in one dive. They have a philosophy of ‘one dive-one seabed’ with high air consumption. This is a dangerous policy and can end in an out-of-air situation. The Swimmer is difficult to buddy up with and is not an ideal buddy!
The Nature Guide.
The Nature Guide has a car full of Fish ID books, they carry a Fish ID slate on every dive. They have both the PADI Underwater Naturalist and Fish Identification specialty certifications. The Nature Guide will regularly signal and point out juvenile fish, cephalopods, and other interesting flora and fauna throughout the dive. Rock formations and large boulders are things of interest too. The Nature Guide is an ideal buddy for the photographer/videographer.
The digital world has not passed this buddy by. There are pros and cons to having The Photographer/Videographer as a dive buddy. Be aware that your buddies attention is not on you, it is focused behind the lens of the camera most of the time. It allows you to get some great photos of your dive, but patience is a virtue with The Photographer/Videographer buddy. For a good reason, both a Digital underwater imaging diver and their buddy should consider taking the PADI Self-Reliant Diver Specialty.
The buddy will often be asked to model for some photoshoot. Hovering close to a fragile environment and marine life requires excellent buoyancy skills. The Photographer/Videographer must also possess excellent buoyancy control to achieve that great shot before taking a camera to hand. Both the buddy and The Photographer/Videographer can benefit by completing the Peak Performance Buoyancy specialty to polish up on buoyancy skills.
The Slow Poke.
The Slow Poke moves only every thirty minutes, or at least that’s what it feels like if you buddy up with them. They spend ages looking at a rock, if it wasn’t for the exhalation bubbles, you might question if The Slow Poke is still alive? This type of buddy is not every one’s favourite, they drive ‘The Swimmer crazy’! The Slow Poke is well-suited as a Photographers or Videographers buddy or The Nature Guides buddy.
The Captain Oblivious as a buddy diver is also less-than-ideal. These divers become easily distracted by their camera, marine life and shiny objects, etc. Captain Oblivious will cut in front of you, kicking your mask as they pass or dive in a completely different direction as you. They swim directly above you or disappear, unknowingly to depths below their limits. The Captain Oblivious has no regard for the recreational diver depths, the buddy system or any other thing – only themselves count. This type of buddy is a hazard to themselves and to their dive buddy. Their buddy would benefit greatly from the Emergency Oxygen Provider course.
The Clever Clogs.
The Clever Clogs has never peed in their wetsuit; EVER! Regardless where you have been diving around the world, they were there light years ago – before all other divers ruined the site. The Clever Clogs can dive on a single-cylinder for a three-hour dive, no problem. Depth and gas consumption are never a problem, using a compass is uncool. The Clever Clogs gives directions to dolphins, so be aware if you get The Clever Clogs as a buddy. They talk up how experienced they are because they have 100 logged dives in 20 years. No course is recommended for this type of buddy because you can’t win!
The Lone Ranger.
More than likely you won’t know The Lone Ranger is your dive buddy until its time to end the dive. After trying the whole dive to follow them and keep close contact as a good buddy should, The Lone Ranger will turn to you and ask “where is the boat” or exit? At this point, you will both wish you had taken the PADI Underwater Navigator specialty. The Lone Ranger is not an ideal buddy.
The Newcomer buddy has its pros and cons. Their enthusiasm is often refreshing and contagious, their air consumption might not be that great. If you are buddied up with The Newcomer, act in a correct manner and be a good role model. Stay off the reef, check each other’s air regularly and stay together. Remember, The Newcomer will be feeling a lot of pressure, not only in the cylinder. Point out interesting marine life and stay out of over-head and tight environments. Show them hazards that they might not be aware of, such as fireworms, jellyfish, electric rays, etc. Encourage The Newcomer to dive a lot and take the PADI Advanced Open Water course.
The Tec Diver.
When you get The Tec Diver as a buddy, no equipment will be forgotten – The Tec Diver has two backups of everything! They will go anywhere, no matter how small the swim-through. Be prepared to listen to gas mixes for certain depths and you really must try out the Rebreather Diver course.
The Time Capsule Diver.
The Tec Diver and The Time Capsule Diver are total opposites. The Time Capsule Diver hasn’t bought new gear since they started the Open Water course. Their faded wetsuit was 7 mm, but is now 3 mm and disintegrating by the dive. The BCD leaks tiny bubbles in a slow fountain, the computer functions sometimes as the battery is low and old. The Time Capsule diver takes pride in their old gear, although they can afford new they don’t want it. They feel at home with familiar gear, but if it is outdated and not serviced this can be dangerous. The Time Capsule Diver should consider the PADI Equipment Specialty course.
The Best Type of Dive Buddy is?
Probably a PADI Rescue Diver is a good option. Who would you prefer as a buddy? The Rescue Diver course is serious fun. It is a rewarding way to learn safe diving skills and gain confidence when things don’t go to plan. It offers the chance to look closely at other equipment configurations and you learn to look out for others. The best buddy would be a Rescue diver I would think?
Happy Buddy Teams
Dive Smart Gozo