Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Southern California
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Re: Sport Diving Vs. Professional Diving
To me the difference between Sport Scuba and technical diving is that Sport Scuba usually takes place in some really pretty spots.
Technical diving (which I guess includes Combat Swimming - the Navy's combat diving program) usually takes place in miserable locations, with no or slight visibility, the water almost always has chemical pollutants in it, inevitably there is human waste (harbor trout), etc. Third world harbor diving always results in some sort of skin irritation (mild to severe) and you have to keep your atmosphere/source sealed when you surface because you don't want to breathe in any of the "stuff". It's not a hard and fast rule but picturesque locations are usually confined to San Clemente Island (Pacific) during training. Operationally, outside the training environment, I have found that it's usually unpleasant.
One of the more unpleasant ways to operate is in the back of a Mk8 Seal Delivery Vehicle (mini-sub). Because it's a wet sub and the mission duration can be extensive, you need to take in fluids and calories before you leave. In order to make sure that the ice cold water doesn't shut your bladder down (causing agony), a catheter is inserted to maintain the "flow". The Mk9 SDV is even more miserable because you lay prone and there is next to no way to move. Mission durations in a Mk9 SDV are (or were) classified, however, trust me when I tell you that it's even worse than a Mk8.
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unaltered, to find the ways that you have changed.