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How do I overcome the fear when diving?

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up_there_the_last

New Member
Jul 18, 2020
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Hello and thanks for reading,
This is my first post on any forum.
I'm currently based in West Cork in Ireland, working with wild atlantic salmon as a fish smoker. I love food from the wild, foraging and gathering mushrooms with the odd bit of hunting, and have always loved fishing. So since moving to a cottage next to the atlantic, I have been drawn to engage with the sea beneath the surface.

I'm using my surf wetsuit and some cheap fins, and have picked up a basic speargun too. I have had some success with spider crabs, scollops and urchins, and if I could I would go further into this magnificent world, but I have a big problem in that I find diving distressing, being alarmed sometimes and overwhelmed by the might and darkness of it all. The underwater realm is beautiful and terrifying.

I cannot dive into the kelp which is where I need to be, as I feel too scared to get down into it. When the weed sways sometimes it comes alive and I jump, often shortening my breath and increasing my heartrate. I just know there's good stuff down there but I can't bring myself to go down.
I find that I almost always skirt the rocks near the shore, as a kind of peace-of-mind mechanism, and am not able to get down to explore any really effective depths. Perhaps the deepest I go is about 4 metres.
I will come back

I would love to invest a little more in proper gear and a good wetsuit as this is such wonderful way to engage with the natural world, but I absolutely must overome the fear, and am reaching out on this forum to see if anyone might have time to help me out or advise a little.

Thanks so much if you have read this far!

Max
 
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Mr. X

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Jul 14, 2005
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Hi Max, I don't suffer from the fear you describe but - my 2 cents worth - sounds like it might be a natural, in built defence, so perhaps best not to ignore it. Better perhaps just to dive more often and gradually become more comfortable with diving conditions.

I do tend to avoid dense kelp forests when the waves make the kelp move backwards and forwards, as it makes me seasick. Also, I rarely find fish in dense kelp, usually they swim over the top, if there any around. It's possible that I just don't see them hidden in the weed but it's also possible that there are none present, or that they keep moving ahead of me (I have seen some evidence of that).

If it's really dark, are you going to be able to do anything useful there? Might a dive torch help?
 

up_there_the_last

New Member
Jul 18, 2020
12
1
3
36
Hi Max, I don't suffer from the fear you describe but - my 2 cents worth - sounds like it might be a natural, in built defence, so perhaps best not to ignore it. Better perhaps just to dive more often and gradually become more comfortable with diving conditions.

I do tend to avoid dense kelp forests when the waves make the kelp move backwards and forwards, as it makes me seasick. Also, I rarely find fish in dense kelp, usually they swim over the top, if there any around. It's possible that I just don't see them hidden in the weed but it's also possible that there are none present, or that they keep moving ahead of me (I have seen some evidence of that).

If it's really dark, are you going to be able to do anything useful there? Might a dive torch help?
Thanks Mr X,
I think perhaps you are right, I need to go out more frequently. Trouble is I'm a bit concerned about going out on my own now as I'm reading increasingly that it's best to dive with a buddy. Also I need to start wearing a weight belt as I've trouble getting down in the surf wetsuit, and have a look at breathing techniques as I've just kind of gone for it, figuring out as I go. All things I don't really fancy trying too much on my own tbh... I need I've only a couple of months left of this half decent weather before it starts getting cold and windy again. I'll try on this forum, perhaps I'll find a kindred spirit in West Cork!

Thanks again. One last question if you don't mind- I'm looking at wetsuits online now. Obviously I'm falling down the elios/polosub hole, I like to buy things well and once if I can. Any tips regarding diving conditions here in the south west of ireland? Thickness, open/cosed cell, smoothskin... This spearfishing lark is a bit of a minefield!!!
Thanks so much for taking the time.
Max
Hi Max, I don't suffer from the fear you describe but - my 2 cents worth - sounds like it might be a natural, in built defence, so perhaps best not to ignore it. Better perhaps just to dive more often and gradually become more comfortable with diving conditions.

I do tend to avoid dense kelp forests when the waves make the kelp move backwards and forwards, as it makes me seasick. Also, I rarely find fish in dense kelp, usually they swim over the top, if there any around. It's possible that I just don't see them hidden in the weed but it's also possible that there are none present, or that they keep moving ahead of me (I have seen some evidence of that).

If it's really dark, are you going to be able to do anything useful there? Might a dive torch help?
Thanks Mr X,
I think perhaps you are right, I need to go out more frequently.
Also this way I will learn that I don;t need to get into the darkest places to have success with the speargun.
I think the problem is, I see pictures of spearos lying in wait in and amongst a bunch of weed, but I don't think I could bring myself to be amongst it even with my head sticking above. This is something I definitely need to get over...
Trouble is I'm a bit concerned about going out on my own now as I'm reading increasingly that it's best to dive with a buddy. Also I need to start wearing a weight belt as I've trouble getting down in the surf wetsuit, and have a look at breathing techniques as I've just kind of gone for it, figuring out as I go. All things I don't really fancy trying too much on my own tbh... I need I've only a couple of months left of this half decent weather before it starts getting cold and windy again. I'll try on this forum, perhaps I'll find a kindred spirit in West Cork!

Thanks again. One last question if you don't mind- I'm looking at wetsuits online now. Obviously I'm falling down the elios/polosub hole, I like to buy things well and once if I can. Any tips regarding diving conditions here in the south west of ireland? Thickness, open/cosed cell, smoothskin... This spearfishing lark is a bit of a minefield!!!
Thanks so much for taking the time, it's just so great to be able to chat to someone about this!
Max
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
8,079
1,620
418
Different spearos will give different advice but, from what you say about buying well once, I think one simple answer would be:

Get a made to measure hooded spearo wetsuit with no zips from your preferred vendor E.g Eliossub polosub or the cheaper Greek company whose name escapes me. Measure many times, carefully, and take averages. You dont need a fancy neoprene for spearfishing from shore, a nylon outer and open cell inner, e.g. 5mm Eliossub's Ecoline. You'll need lube to put this on, get used to it. It'll stick to you like a second skin and keep you toasty warm. Make sure you get a loading pad on the chest but you don't need knee pads or elbow pads. Get normal high waist spearo pants or long John/farmer John/bib pants if you prefer (e.g. if kayak spearing or female or feel the cold) but they will be a more fit critical. Black or camo or a mixture, it makes little difference.

Those who dive mainly from a boat may have different needs.
 
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