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Learning to Dive

I passed my PADI Open Water Diving certificate last week. It was a terrifying and exhilarating 3 days. I learned so much about entering into a world that I knew nothing about having never snorkelled.

  • The language – The blindingly obvious fact that you cannot speak only dawns on you when you are underwater. There is a sign language, which divers use very effectively but it is not the language that we use every day. Thumbs up to me means that I am OK; thumbs up to a diver is “ascend”. It is a bit like “guarantee period” or “any wife” used with reference to the terms of an annuity. This is not normal language for most people.
  • Counter-intuitive – As you ascend to the surface, you deflate your BCD jacket rather than inflate it. The reason is that as you start to ascend, you become more buoyant so ascend more quickly, which can be dangerous. Deflating your jacket slows your ascent. It is similar to the fact that keeping your policy for the longest period of time should reward you with the best return. In fact, you can arbitrage with the new cap on exit charges to possibly get better value for money by transferring out of a 90s policy into a new generation policy when you are age 50.
  • Only real when you get there – I have heard about Blue Planet and the campaign about reducing the plastic that is currently being washed into the ocean. I took notice of the campaign but it only meant something to me when I was 18m down in the water and seeing the sea world contaminated by rubbish.

Apart from being a proud owner of a PADI certificate, my 3 days made me appreciate more the difficulty facing people when it comes to taking ownership of their retirement income. If I had not had 2 amazing instructors who held my hand and gave me confidence, diving for me would be like the nightmare of making pensions decision that most people face.

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