>When my beau and I were first getting to know each other, he said he liked scuba diving. “Really? I always wanted to do that,” I answered. Which was true, I had always thought it looked like an interesting thing to do, if a little on the unaccessible side as a hobby to try, unlike, say, sketching or cycling. You couldn’t just decide to dive one afternoon for the hell of it, there had to be training, equipment, preparation. So, naturally, I had no feelings one way or another about diving before I actually did it for the first time.
That first time was in Sali, on the Adriatic coast in Croatia, with a wonderfully patient German instructor named Oliver, and I enjoyed the 30 minutes underwater enough to go ahead and sign up for the course, for which I spent day and night studying during the rest of our vacation.
Nearly two years went by before I got around to diving again, at the Red Sea in Egypt. Which was a wonderful experience, but also something one can’t really do on a regular basis without masses of money. The next best thing lie ahead: diving in the lakes in southern Bavaria and Tirol.
Warm water, lots of exotic fish and reefs teeming with life: this is what lake diving is not. Rather, it’s colder, darker, and much more barren. You might see some Pike swim by, or a sunken VW Beetle, or even a Christmas tree (the diving clubs “plant” them when they dive in December.) Mostly you feel a bit like you’re an astronaut on the moon. Which is exactly what I love about it.
The Alpine lakes sometimes take in the trees that come down from landslides and avalanches, and these make eerily beautiful “pick-up-sticks” formations like the one above.
My beau, in the above photo, is enjoying a moment of still, effortless buoyancy in the water (I still suck at that.)
These photos were taken by other divers, during a weekend at a lake where I am not yet officially “allowed” to dive (it’s shallow, and beginners tend to kick up sediment, so the owners slapped a 5o-dive minimum experience on the permit. I’m at around 25 right now, and 2 dives shy of finishing my AOWD course.)
Can’t do much diving right now due to work conflicts, but I’ll be back in the water this June and August, enjoying the views above and below the lakes’ surfaces. See you back on the shore!
** Just to be clear (as I realized perhaps I wasn’t, upon re-reading the post): I take that minimum requirement seriously and do not yet dive there, so none of these shots are of me. I have dived in several other lakes in the area, though.