My 4 Favorite Glamorous Facts about Scuba Diving

I love scuba diving. Even though some aspects of this activity are less than glamorous.

1. Spitting frenzy

If you’re on a diving boat for the first time, don’t freak out if you see the divers spitting into their masks. As if that wasn’t disgusting enough, watch them rubbing it inside thoroughly, against the glass. G-R-O-S-S, am I right?!

But it’s perfectly normal, and as long as they’re spitting into their OWN mask, there’s no health hazard to fear.

Why the fuck?!

Well, it’s a simple trick to avoid the formation of foam against the inside glass of your mask during the dive.

When you breathe, you’ll exhale carbon dioxide, and most likely, some foam will form inside your mask, through condensation. You can rinse it out, but it will form again a few seconds later, because the temperature difference between your face and the water likely won’t change drastically. Luckily, there are ways to prevent that. Soap works well, but it has a strong smell, and the corals really don’t like. Our spit suffices to prevent foam.

Neat little trick, isn’t it? A generous dose of spit, rub it in, rinse it out, and you’re good to go!

2. Gas leak

Going up at the end of the dive, you might feel like you need to let some air out… from your stomach through your mouth…

Yep, the moment when you break the surface is the absolute best time to win a burping contest, for sure.

Why the fuck?!

Well, Boyle’s Law states that « the volume of a gas in a flexible container is inversely proportional to the absolute pressure. » Your stomach (and digestive system) are the flexible container, and whatever air was trapped there when you went down has to get back out as you go up.

If you’ve eaten before diving, and began digesting down there, the resulting gas might need to come out the other way, if you see what I mean.

Sexy, right? Wait for my favorite fact yet, though.

3. Snot festival

Let’s talk about the sinuses. Now you can’t dive with a runny nose, because this means that your sinuses aren’t clear, and you’ll probably hurt yourself by going down. But even if you have clear sinuses, when you break the surface again, don’t be surprised: you are likely to end up with snot over half of your face.

Why the fuck?

As you go down, the pressure increases on every tissue, every cavity of your body. At the end of the dive, when you start ascending, the pressure decreases, and everything opens up again.

It creates a reverse sucking effect, because of the depression caused by the air expanding, and exiting the cavities.

And during that process, any residual fluid might leak as well, if there’s no natural holding mechanism. This is what anything that might have been lingering into your sinuses might end up inside your mask.

But since inside your mask too, the air is expanding and pushing against the glass on one side, and your skin on the other, the snot won’t likely be plastered against the glass.

So guess where it’ll end up…

4. Peeing contest

If you’re lucky, you’ll feel it when you’re back on the boat, but some may already feel the need to pee while they’re still under water.

Yep. Scuba diving will give you some of the best feelings in the world, and the worst feeling of all too: the need to pee without being able to (because you’re wearing that damn wetsuit).

Why the fuck?!

It’s all about pressure again. The body doesn’t like it, and since we’re made mostly of water, and liquids can’t be compressed, there’s not much that can actually be compressed inside of us.

When you expose your body to the growing pressure of water, blood will rush from the extremities towards the vital functions: the brain, the chest. To keep the pressure there, the blood has to become less liquid.

It’s called a diuretic effect: when a reaction of the body results in expelling water through the fabrication of urine.

So naturally, the first thing you need to do when you get back up, is to pee. Because believe me, even if you haven’t had a single drop to drink for hours (and that’s bad by the way), your bladder is FULL.

Best’ relieve it asap, so you can add that blissful feeling to the rest of your post-scuba diving ecstasy.

BONUS : Vade Retro Q-Tips

Even in the bathroom, a diver’s cleaning habit might upset the fainted heart. If you intent to visit Poseidon’s ward, a word of advice: get those Q-tips out of your hygiene routine, for they will do more harm than good.

The cerumen built-ups are the ear natural’s defence against foreign organisms and infections. Removing it with a Q-tip is a bad idea, but pushing it to the depth of the ear is even a worse idea if you’re scuba diving: this artificial build up might prevent you from equalising properly, and may result in a serious ear injury.

So what do we do to keep our ears clean? We let the cerumen do its job, only wiping off the excess on the outside (what you can’t reach by wiping a clean tissue against your ear hole should not be removed anyway. Deal with it). We also put clear, clean water (mineral water if you are in a country where tap water is not drinkable) inside our ear, then rinse it out and dry it.

That’s it. Vade Retro Q-Tips.

Wrap it up

There’s a saying amongst divers: if you meet your significant other through scuba diving, he or she probably is the one, so hang on to them.

I can see why: anyone who would fall for me after witnessing me spit into my mask, burp, fart, wipe snot all over my face and pee over board and is not yet disgusted, probably is a keeper.

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