What is the allure to venture under the sea? There are certainly dangers worth considering before submerging with a tank.
I consulted with Wes Skiles, famous for filming cave diving expeditions around the world (www.karstproductions.com). He shared footage of some of his most challenging dives with me and attendees at the Gainesville (Florida) Environmental Film and Arts Festival. The film showed the trials endured by him and his colleagues as they explored the caverns that supply freshwater, which is running just underground across the Florida landscape. Skiles' work has been broadcast by Nova, Discovery channel, and National Geographic channel.
Skiles said he discovered his love for cave diving while trying to help protect the vitality of the Florida springs, which, like waterways everywhere in the world, are rapidly being contaminated by agricultural pollution and debris from careless civilization.
A Skiles interview (www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/cavedive/producer.html) recounts his experiences finding the bodies of divers who didn't survive their explorations – including his best friend.
Of course, Skiles and his colleagues engage in extreme diving that carries a much greater risk than most of us will ever face. Drew Arthur, a dive instructor with Oceans Unlimited (www.oceansunlimitedcr.com) in Quepos, said, "People of all ages want to dive – biologists, nature lovers, adventurers, even children. It shouldn't be a strenuous activity."
Nelson, a diver on board the boat heading to our first dive spot, said that he's a U.S. Air Force pilot who's been grounded too long. He wanted to experience the thrill of adventure, which he compared to flying.