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Here in Sacramento, we are fortunate enough to have access to many, many parks, lakes and rivers. We are minutes from the Sierras and a couple of hours from the Pacific Ocean. Living and playing in this area affords us the unique opportunity to discover and play locally in our aquatic environment. To date, there are more than 17 Parks and Recreation centers that have a pool for our neighborhoods. Activities that are often overlooked in these environments are snorkeling and scuba diving.
For me, scuba diving and snorkeling uniquely offers the ability to transform a person in four ways: immersion, active participation, environmental relationships and emotional well-being.
Immersion is a three-dimensional realm. The three dimensions are the physical dimension, sensory dimension and experience dimension. These three combined make a total experience for the snorkeler, skin diver or scuba diver.
Active participation provides a range of experiences from relaxing to high adventure. If you are looking to relax, a dive in Lake Tahoe, a local quarry or a Mexican Cenote could be more to your liking. If you are looking for high adventure, then the real possibility of meeting a shark outside of San Pedro in Los Angeles could be in your future.
Environmental relationships go hand in hand with scuba diving. You can help clean rivers or protect coral. Fish counting offers interaction with other people and life forms such as fishes, turtles, dolphins or mantas. Discovering how we can help keep our environment clean may be in your plans for your next vacation, or you can check on the website of Project Aware (http://www.projectaware.org) for a local cleanup. Think about helping locally in our rivers before, during and after the holidays.
Emotional well-being/self-esteem. Diving and snorkeling can enrich a person’s sense of purpose and self. Again, doing something to help the environment or volunteering to assist a class of disabled students could be something that helps. There are also the physical aspects of just getting out and moving. It’s nice to see the Discovery Channel, but actually taking a picture while snorkeling can be something you cherish and show to your peers.
Our 17 parks and recreation departments help prepare us for swimming, snorkeling, life guarding and boating safety. There are many other dive shops, private pools and professionals in the area who are there to demonstrate how much fun snorkeling and diving can be. We live in an area that is full of adventure begging for active participation. Helping keep our environment safe builds up our sense of self and is a great cause. Take a look and deciding to stop by and discover diving or snorkeling can lead to an exciting vacation, “staycation” or simply enriching oneself at a local resort. You are never too old to learn or too young to experience our aquatic environment. Ask your local shop professional or myself if you need assistance with getting started. Check your localparks and recreation department for classes starting in your neighborhood.
Here are the parks departments links: