We’re all stuck at home. The reason why sucks, but let’s be honest: there are far worse things than just sitting on your sofa for a while. In my opinion there are two ways to approach the community quarantine: we can go in hibernation mode and sleep, watch Netflix and just hope this will all go away asap. Or we can make the best of a shitty situation, try to stay productive and use this time for self improvement.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll get the most out of my Netflix subscription this month 🙂 But I’m determined to stay productive – so I can look back at this period and say that I used the downtime to my benefit.

There are already many lists circulating on the internet with amazing ideas on how to keep yourself busy during quarantine. Here’s my little contribution, specifically for scuba divers or anyone who misses the ocean.

Take a dive course

Yes, that’s right. You can do a dive course while you’re in quarantine. Ok, you can probably not finish the course right now. You most likely will not be able to go diving. But you can start the course in the comfort of your own home, get all the theory out of the way, so you only have the fun stuff (aka diving) left to do when this nightmare is over. PADI gives you the possibility to do most of their courses online, and now offers them at a 25% discount! Having done their e-learning courses myself in the past, I can tell you that this is the absolute best way to prepare for your next scuba adventure, and saves you a lot of time in the classroom on your next holiday.

Are you not yet a diver and not sure if it’s for you? Check out these reasons why you should try scuba diving!

Start preparing for your dive course now through PADI e-learning

Learn about ocean conservation

The SDG Academy is the online education platform of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative for the United Nations. They offer a really cool online course called One Planet, One Ocean that will teach you how human interactions with the ocean can be understood, and what solutions are available to support both sustainable use and stewardship of our blue planet. The best part: it’s completely free!

Click here to access the free course

STUDY the fundamentals of marine biology

BIO308: Marine Biology is a free online course by Saylor.org and gives you a very extensive introduction into marine biology. The course touches a number of different subfields all related to the ocean environment. You’ll learn about the ocean itself, about marine life and its environmental challenges, and about the life cycles of marine organisms, among many other things. Included in the course are sub quizzes and a final exam for which you will be graded. However, it does not include a certificate and they do warn for some broken links and possibly outdated information. But since it’s free, who are we to complain?

Click here to access the free course

Service or clean your dive gear

Since we’ll all be out of the water for a while, now is the perfect time to have your dive gear serviced. It’s also a nice way to help your local dive shop in a time when they’re most likely struggling. However, if you’re like me and want to spend as little as possible at the moment, servicing your dive gear is probably not your priority right now. In that case why don’t you give your dive gear a good clean up? Mix some lukewarm water with bleach, chloride, vinegar or any other household cleaning product you may have. Let your gear soak for a few hours and use a (tooth)brush to get rid of persistent mold. Make sure you rinse everything well afterwards! If you’re worried about COVID-19 contamination in regards to your dive gear, DAN has written a nice article on how to disinfect your dive gear. 

Use this time to improve your photo editing skills
Photo by Gerald Schömbs on Unsplash

Edit your underwater photos

I love taking photos during my dives, but I’m not a big fan of editing them and that’s partly because I have no idea what I’m doing. Now is the time to change that! The people at scubadiverlife.com explain the absolute basics of underwater photo editing in a very nice way. Once you understand that, there are many helpful video tutorials on YouTube that will help you get started! Just search for ‘underwater photo editing’ and you’ll get lots of good suggestions.

But if you’re already past that stage, take a look at goaskerin.com. Erin is an Adobe digital imaging consultant who gives editing workshops for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. She also offers many free tutorials on her website, from How to build watermarks in Lightroom and Avoiding rookie mistakes (that one’s for me) to Retouching for good or evil and 10 hidden workflow secrets in Lightroom. With all these great tips I may even start to enjoy photo editing 🙂

Update your dive logbook

I love logging my dives, but for some reason I never do it. No more excuses! I never really found a paper or digital logbook that I liked, so I created my own in Google Sheets. That way I can keep track of all the information that I find important and leave out what I don’t. It’s also a lot more earth-friendly than a paper logbook, and you can never lose it. It’s also kinda cool to see all those dives grouped together at a glance!

Netflix and swim

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that it’s impossible to get through this quarantine thing without a Netflix subscription. Besides binge watching all episodes of Friends and Grey’s Anatomy, I’ll also be (re)watching some of their ocean inspired documentaries. These are my favorites:

  • Mission Blue: follows the story of ‘Her Deepness’ Dr. Sylvia Earl, without a doubt the most inspiring female scuba diver of all times
  • Chasing Coral: about the dreadful state of our coral reefs. I actually cried during this one (yes, about corals!)
  • Shark: in two episodes the BBC documents the secret life of sharks, revealing their diversity and sociability.

This list is by no means complete, and I’ll keep updating it when I find new cool stuff to keep those ocean withdrawal symptoms under control. I’d also love to hear from you! What are you currently doing to keep yourself from going crazy?

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