UPDATE : 2020.6.15 Mon 08:55
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Three birds with one stone, with scuba-diving!

Participating in a club is one of the best things to do while at university! There’s even a club for scuba-diving and, to some, it can be categorized as an expensive sport. It is not a common sport that we enjoy in normal day. Many students wonder “Are you guys really going to the ocean for scuba-diving? How many times do you go in a year?” I met and had a conversation with the chief of the scuba club, Kim Jae-yoon (24 years old), who is majoring in mechanical engineering. He said “memory, charity, fun; we can catch all three birds with one stone.”

Q : Hello, could you introduce your club?

My club’s formal name is CNUSS (Changwon National University Skin Scuba). Let me introduce the club briefly. Members consist of a chief, general affair member, freshman, other enrolled students and a leader who manages equipment. My club is organized with a sequential number system. Higher numbers equate to seniority, whom have responsibility to teach freshmen. Number 1 represents each year of involvement and my sequential number is 28. There are lots of people between 1 to 31, therefore you can guess how many years we have spent scuba-diving. Yes, the age of my club is now 30 years old. The number of members are small, so we know each other well enough and frequent scuba diving has made us close to each other. From old ages who already graduated to young freshmen, there are various age groups. Elder seniors who have a job have high attachment and support us in handling economic problems. Our major activities are diving in the spring, diving after the first semester, diving after the final semester, and diving during vacations. We dive in the sea nearly 5 to 6 times in a year. We sometimes go to the swimming pool to develop our skills and we also donate our talent to cleaning the ocean. Good places for diving are Namhae, Busan, Pohang, and Jeju-island. Additionally, we are planning to go to the Philippines this winter. As I said, we are close, so we have enjoyed many things together such as drinking beer, participating in a marathon, and visiting the baseball park.

Q : Do I have to swim well if I want to participate in?

Some of the members don’t know how to swim. Strictly speaking, we are a diving club. We use only legs when we move in the water. Swimming helps to kick better but it’s not that important when diving. You don’t have to worry about swimming

Q : It can be dangerous to scuba-dive in the deep water. What do you think?

I carry a high level of responsibility for our member’s safety as a chief. They are all precious sons or daughters within their homes. So, we take theoretical instruction frequently and study in case of a dangerous situation. We have to recognize what dangerous situations are, when it happens, and notice them. The most dangerous situations that can occur are Compressed-Air Disease and Aeroembolism. When we are in deep water, Nitrogen melts into our blood due to high pressure. If we go up to the surface of the sea quickly, Nitrogen comes out from our blood and makes bubbles. It can block the flow of blood. This is called Compressed-Air Disease. Lungs can be torn out if we come out from deep water while holding our breathe. Compressed air due to high pressure gets bigger and bigger so lungs can easily be hurt while air comes inside the blood and blocks the capillary. It is called Aeroembolism. Although unluckily, some people who are not aware of this end up dead. As I said, the most important thing is safety, so we don’t dive when the wind is too strong of a variable and when waves are too powerful. And we always dive together. It is not allowed to dive alone in our club. We have good examples about safety. For example, one of the senior divers dropped a GoPro and tried to chase it but a freshman who didn’t know well about dangerous situations followed him. So, he drastically gave up the GoPro and let the freshman get out of the water first. He tried to find it later but failed. It provided us a major lesson; that safety is most important. Consequently, scuba-diving is one of the safest sports but if we fail to be careful and are not aware of it’s hazards. it would be changed to a dangerous sport.

Q : Scuba-diving is an expensive sport. How can you guys handle it as a student?

Our club’s story began 30 years ago. Lots of seniors are working around here and help us. Some of them are working as divers. They’ve given us instructions or useful information. Other seniors who are working butchers or backpackers give us meat and accommodation. They’ve also gathered money together and bought some scuba equipment for us. One day, I wondered why they support us so much. When I asked them, they said that they struggled in the past due to lack of money. These challenging situations made them closer together. They have attachment to this circle because of their memory and continue to support us. Thankfully, because of them, we don’t need lots of money to do scuba-diving.

Q : Why did you fall in love with scuba-diving?

The reason why I decided to scuba-dive was because it’s not easy to approach scuba-diving as a hobby. Many people around me react like, “That’s awesome! It is so interesting. Tell me about scuba-diving.” I was always happy when I had conversations with them about it. Moreover, Mother Nature always gives human inspiration and a comfortable feeling. In the deep water, I realize human beings are so small. There are many beautiful creatures in the ocean as well. I can feel like I’m floating in the universe. These attractions are drugs for me.

Q : Advice to people who are hesitating to enter this club:

I can give you some small advice although my age is not high enough. Nothing will be changed with only thought, just do it!! I wrote my bucket list about my life when I was 20 years old. One of them was scuba diving. I didn’t hesitate to do it. Of course, I’m a little bit scared of it. But I could find myself getting used to this culture. Don’t be afraid to do something new. I’m sure that bad things happen under 5% of the time, it’s worth it. If what you want is scuba diving, you can visit our club and just say, “I’m curious about this club.” It is perfect that you can feel excited and we can fit you in. But if not, we don’t care! It’s okay. You can get out of the club if you want. And there’s no qualification to join us. We are open to everyone. Thanks.

▲ Swimming with Turtle in the Philippines
▲ Voluntary work for cleaning up the ocean

▲ In front of the club before departing for suba-diving

▲ 4 Stretching and warming up.

박준호  micheen12@naver.com

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