Tarheel Divers

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Diver) by Helena Bell

I have a confession to make.  I hate salt water, canít stand the stuff.  And why shouldnít I hate it?  Is it too much to ask for the oceans to be filled with fresh water?  I say forget trying to make more absorbent paper towels, longer lasting batteries, or better tasting diet soda and find a way to de-saltify the ocean.  Think itíll happen?  I doubt it.

So whatís an obsessive compulsive to do?  Quit diving?  Riiight.. like thatís an option.  Dive only when an ample supply of freshwater connected to a high pressure hose is available?  Well thatís what I do but itís not exactly the best option for people who charter or shore dive.

So I have a few tips for those (like me) who just canít stand the feel of dried salt on their skin:

1.)    Bottled water.  And no I donít mean Evian or Abita Springs or Dasani (though they do make damn good water), I mean taking a former soda bottle and filling it with tap water (cap is mandatory but Iíd hope that you wouldíve realized that).  You can even put it through a filter first if youíre really quirky.  Now unless you are unusually strong or have a brother to carry things for you, thereís a limit as to the number of bottles you can bring.  I recommend a few 20 oz drink bottles per planned dive.  Another trick I use is to keep the water very cold.  If itís cold youíll only use a little bit at a time instead of wasting it all in one fell upturn.

2.)    Quirky behavior.  Well if youíre obsessive compulsive you probably already know about this but Iíll share my idiosyncrasies anyway.  First off, donít take off your wetsuit between dives unless you absolutely have to.  There is nothing worse than pulling on a wet wetsuit other than pulling on a salty wet wetsuit over dry salty skin.  Donít use your nice fresh towel until after your last dive, that way the salt wonít be transferred to the towel until itís absolutely necessary.  Donít pull on a T-Shirt over salty skin unless itís absolutely necessary to prevent sun burn, that inbetween layer of skin feeling is what caused me to become obsessive compulsive in the first place.  Take care of your gear first, and if at all possible rinse off your gear and put it away before you even think about getting a towel to dry off.

3.)    Starbursts.  Most people should already be familiar with this trick if theyíve been on a lot of charters.  Anything fruity such as starbursts candy or orange slices will get rid of the salty taste in your mouth.  The advantage to starbursts is theyíre not as messy.

4.)    And last but most important, Smile!  Diving is a happy sport, if youíre not smiling you shouldnít be doing it.  A good attitude goes a long way, even if you do start questioning about the need for salt in ecological structure of the EarthÖ