This is a passion and the greatest story to tell. And I have even no idea what to start from.
(photo from summer 2001, Cala Major)
My adventure as scuba diver became when I was 15 and was on my first „tropical” holiday in my life on Mallorca. First I tried scuba diving experience in swimming pool in Western Park near Magaluf. Another day I decided to do Discover Scuba Diving daily program at school Big Blue in Palmanova on Mallorca. After an hour of theoretical introduction at the office of a club a young instructor decided we can go for a first introductory diving. And after an hour of so exciting experience to me I asked if I can participate in organized group underwater exploration same day. I think it is not a regular practice and however instructor reprimanded me for lack of attention to buoyancy issues we both decided that go for a diving from a motorboat. I was only 15 and just after first year of Secondary School but never thought that then started an adventure for my lifetime. This was the first time in my life I saw face to face a hammerhead shark and an octopus.
A leaflet from Big Blue from that period
Whole my life I used to have numerous occasion to experience an excitement about marine technology, scuba diving, boats. I remember once I was at Brighton’s marina in 2003 and a British maybe 10 years older man was waiting for someone at the pier of that area. I asked him whether is possible to rent there a jet ski that I liked but he had no idea even who to ask. But suddenly offered me that he is actually waiting for a fried who look after a great and fast motorboat of force more than 1000 horsepower so I was invited to a great journey just to share with me their passion! This way I experienced for the first time in life generally a risk of water sports because during that journey at the Brighton’s coast I did not know what rail to hold – that wooden or metal one or where to stand. Motorboat was jumping over waves at crazy speed and I resigned even to ask or try to talk to probably enjoying new British friends. But without such a friendship and thrill probably I would not remember that visit to Brighton so well. And now this is always a reason to recall good memories all the time I come to Brighton. Once even I took my mother to Brighton to show my language schools and favorite restaurants.
I decided for the first full organized course in scuba diving in the year 2004. So a few years after my first experience. I chose instinctively that the best is to find a school in Gdańsk. Simply a center of Polish marine industry. And I was not mistaken. First day at Tryton school impressed me the most. Mr Waldemar Wnorowski has spent with me in a special classroom at his own diving center whole afternoon explaining so many details about not only scuba diving experience but also everything around – industry, accidents, his own career in diving industry, his own experiences from work as a technical diver, rescuer and instructor. I realized that completely different world just opens up in front of me and as I was motivated and passionate my imagination started to acquire all that experience of this so experienced man every possible channel of my consciousness, imagination and ways I can simply discover or gain and organize knowledge. And I need to do a remark to the experience and knowledge of this man and I want to say this as an educated psychologist and scientist that such a presentation and introduction was impressively original that I did not met such a professional in my life again. I used to dive in Mallorca from a boat as 15 years old young man with many gadgeteers like now Apple users are. But never met a specialist of this kind with completely own and unique structure of experience, knowledge, thereby expertise in everything that concerns scuba diving. These are rare moments of a collision of a motivation, passion and real experience that irreversibly change the way of thinking, seeing through things but also more complex cognitive skill like for example planning. Because experiencing time and space underwater is a completely new experience and a challenge for nervous system, communication skills, body capacity in terms of blood circulation, breathing, being in cold environment for not commonly long time.
This was just a first and theoretically introductory day only but I got back really full of new ideas and insights and when got back to a really weird place I found an accommodation as a 19 years old passionate about adventures man where at night walked down from my room to janitors who were the best chess players I have ever seen so I improved my logical imagination to an hour of a bit after 2 AM.
Following days have made me familiar with issues from diving ABC, through diseases, accidents, timing issues, gear, usage of computer equipment, training programs, certification, health issues, required prior diagnoses of potential risk factors like heart problems (I am in a group of a risk in this case and got a conditional acceptance from diver’s doctor especially when she realized my cardio-history). I have learned about how looked work as a technical diver at 70 meters below surface and how work of a welder looks like at oil platform, how living and remaining in a diving bell looks like, what actually is nitrogen and decompression requirements. I have learned a lot of physics issues about pressure laws for liquids and gases. How external pressure of water affect issues from breathing, body shape, human body tissues, how nitrogen affect every tissue of a body. I discovered every health condition from nitrogen narcosis, pulmonary barotrauma, ear barotrauma, oxygen intoxication, decompression sickness, consequences of diving to teeth, brain, thereby mood, cognitive processes etc.
Along that basic theory and skills presentation started my first diving in swimming pool in Akademia Marynarki Wojennej in Gdynia. That was 3 days in a row that we traveled from Gdańsk to Gdynia to spend a few hours in swimming pool to learn all necessary basic skills how to move underwater, how to test gear, how to react to unexpected events, how to communicate underwater, how to basically rescue underwater etc.
So this way started an opportunity to achieve first practical skills and competences. However diving in buddy system was a challenge for me I experienced most because was diving with a very insecure man what time revealed after…
So after that introductory day on 6th of September (Monday), we dived in Gdynia for 3 days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and for another 3 days moved to practice skills in Kłodno lake in Kaszuby where Tryton school has an underwater amusement circus park to enjoy learning scuba diving skills.
The theoretical preparation required also to learn diving planning using decompression tables.
Lake experience was completely new to me to be honest. I was simply told and warned numerous times that this is extreme sports but I did not believe this and my imagination only grew freely until practical exercises in Kłodno lake. As I realized after swimming pool when we had an opportunity to dive maximum at 3,5 meters below surface, what is nitrogen in my veins after. In Kłodno lake this was completely different experience. Especially we had to get used to develop the sixth sense to preserve orientation in every direction. Even having a computer will not allow you to check your depth and direction all the time. In a muddy Polish water this is simply impossible. So yes, this is an extreme sport discipline. You need to control a few things all the time – the pressure in your ear that is also an indicator whether you are sinking or getting upper particular moment. I personally feel the warmth in my ears when go upper and a pain when am sinking. So just after ears it comes and issue of buoyancy so keeping the fixed depth according to plan. And not letting ourselves to move upper or lower – this is extremely dangerous even when we lose control over buoyancy for a while. Can end in a lungs damage, tympanum damage, fatigue, heart beat problems etc. Changes in pressure, temperature, loss of orientation is the high risk all the time and the temperature and visibility in Poland is the worst. In lakes probably the worst conditions on earth. Another thing is to control the manometer whether we have enough air to get back to the surface, the pressure in jacket that changes between different depths, water that can go under a mask and maybe a few things more. So we dived in buddy (partner) system and did every exercises, rescue dives and emergency procedures in pairs, simply two people. I used to dive with 40 years old a bit fat and anxious man. Psychologists would call such a person simply insecure. When someone get easily insecure may have a neurosis and being fat often is just another side of the same mind-body problem of such a person. This was the moment I realized the straight connection between so called neurosis and psychopathy that my further psychological studies were fruitful in interesting discussions with collegues from studies about that scientific relationship. It was a great threat and stress to me. I experienced the danger first when we had to breath from one diving regulator one time. So we had to share one regulator for breathing of both. Let someone else breath and then take back and breath on our own. My buddy of course was so insecure that compulsively pulled regulator out of my hands on 8 meters depth! Spending 30-40 minutes underwater with someone that you just see that can finally cause your death is extremely exhausting. And this experience taught me really a lot about human nature in age only or as much as 19. I do not regret such an experiences that just let us grow emotionally a bit faster and realize what maturity is in broader life sense. Another dangerous exercises I remember well were going thorough artificial underwater tunnels and then emergency ascent from 8 meters without a regulator. Last day of whole training process was diving to a depth of 18. In wet suit where temperature was 4 degree Celsius and completely dark. I took my underwater flashlight to experience that on that depth gives almost no visible light. We had to spend about 10 minutes on 18 meters and then began an ascent. I realized that my mouth that were uncovered just frozen around regulator. In wet suit to experience so low temperature meant also that my fingers became a bit not working right. And when a big air bubble at the back is slowly mowing upper and then you experience a flow of a cold water that fills this space it is a shock or thrill or an experience I will need to think a bit more how to call. This is experience hard to compare to a condition when I work as snowboarding instructor for 8 hours at temperature -7 because even if my ass is wet I feel generally hot because I simple move. As a scuba diver sometimes work means just waiting. Then decompression stop at about 8 or 6 meters also we need to wait and then at final stage of ascending I started to feel a panic attack. My heart started to rush in a really fast pace and I started to feel finally a pain in my chest and fatigue that remained for several days after. But I did it. I passed all exams to become a scuba diver in extreme waters. Maybe this was the moment I realized what passion is most important for me and what other thing I will be fated to treat only as my profession like economics. And life has shown the truth that I could become even an expert and professional in economics but never got attached to this discipline and there always been passions more close to my heart to simply win.
After a few weeks after last day of a course I got the letter from Bath or Bristol in Britain to my address in Ryki with a PADI OWD certificate (last time to Bath, Worcester, Gloucester, Cheltenham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Great Malvern, Malvern Wells, Oxford, Birmingham I was in the year 2000).
And of course hard not to recommend good standard manual for Open Water Diver level
A few magazines from that period of achievements of OWD degree.
In a thread about next step in my diving experiences I need to introduce some thread about my first friendships in the field of science of economics, first fails in so called „formal education” and what it taught me for my lifetime – especially to:
1) never give up (but in reasonable sense of this so a) of what is really worth to put an effort to achieve, b) what is fair and serves me, my values, goals and destiny, c) what is SMART – this means achievable for me, so that can be reached by me after some preparations and reasoned efforts.
2) never treat my „formal” achievements, degrees and exam results too seriously. Especially when it happens in a mass form, overly standardized, when I am reduced to ranks, points and compared with thousands of others. In reality this says nothing about me but reveals my position among rats.
3) always to follow my heart and passion not formal disciplines, peer or group pressure objective, other people’s interests and values etc.
I think that scuba diving in the opposition to my few crashes with concrete reality of big red education or more often colloquially called „big pink” I was obsessed about that period of my life too much and treated too seriously, is a good example of a discipline where we can achieve proficiency being really patient, careful, ready to learn a lot and respect real challenges and limitations of reality. This means not politics, group rules we are enforced somehow to accept but real rules. That pure nature requires us to respect and follow to survive but often even politicians forget about the fact they simply exist.
My next expedition to discover new diving experiences happened after my exams to Warsaw School Economics where I attempted to apply for the second time after my fail from the July 2004. After first fail to get to SGH called „big pink” I studied for a one year International Relations in Wyższa Szkoła Zarządzania i Prawa in Warsaw where I met most interesting economics teachers in my life. And never met teachers and economists of this kind in SGH that used to be seen as top of the top of economics education in Poland. I do not see this comfortable to mention all the people who inspired me during that period of time. But just to mention prof. Eliza Frejtag-Mika who was a lecturer, stock market player and a „hothead” about India. She explained us stupidity of a tax system in Poland for 45 minutes and for another 45 minutes we talked about book „Autobiography of a Yogi” of Parmahansa Yogananda. She inspired me with her stories so much, especially that she has another living in India, where bought a few years earlier a flat in Bangalore and that her son traveled to India by car getting there through among others Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
With my former girlfriend Natalia we decided to travel from Ryki, through Germany where were sleeping at the highway near Koblenz heading to Paris. Just before a border with France I got a phone call from my father that he has read at the list on a front big door that consisted of thousands of names that I did not get all points to get to SGH. Exam this time consisted of English, German, Math, Geography and Entrepreneurship that took 5 days in a row. And he told me that maybe I will need to get back to Warsaw to apply for an alternative option to those who missed only a few point to get the opportunity to have regular study program, so this meant to work in service of the school as a not paid worker instead, having an opportunity to study 2 subjects per semester what was called Studencki Hufiec Pracy. I had to get over it I have to get back somehow but next day we arrived with Natalia to Paris. We found a camping to pitch a tent at Camping de Paris. To drive through Paris with my Renault Megane Coupe was awful experience. And maybe this is why I never got back to Paris again. Another day we have spent in getting familiar with a city we were going to spend a few days but traveled also to Orly airport to buy an airplane ticket for just another day after that will allow me to fly to Warsaw and get back same day. It was crazy. So after one day together in Paris just came that day I had to get up before 6 AM I tried to get to Charles de Gaulle that had ticket for LOT flight to Warsaw. I walked from a camping very early heading to underground line from Arc de Triomphe. Train stopped between stations for 15 minutes and I thought I am going to spend whole day on that station because had a few changes more to get to the airport. Luckily I got to the airport but boarded as last person confusing all passengers. Finally I got to Warsaw to write my application for Studencki Hufiec Pracy. Then have spent about 3 hours in a line to a rector’s office. And had only less than two hours to get for evening’s flight back to Paris. I bought some food for me and Natalia tomorrow breakfast on a camping near Bois de Boulogne and got back to airport and took off for Paris. I was at camping before midnight. But will never forget how Natalia who was less than 18 years old cried when I left her alone for whole day in Paris that she only had an access to car that she did not have even a driving licence to get out from there. And this was time she needed simply to trust that I will get back. To my sense of responsibility this was one of my early adult’s life worst internal conflict I resolved in favor of my further education than security of my girlfriend. But feel really conflicted even today when recall such a memory about it actually happened again. So another day we have spent together in Paris and continued our plan for vacations heading to Mediterranean coast of France then to Spain. My first diving during that journey was at La Manga peninsula. My seventh registered diving at site called Escialerita on 03.08.2005. Visibility was quite good but water in that bay a bit muddy with rich and interesting plant life and impressive shoals of fish but almost no existence of any other underwater animalculas… When we arrived to Valencia we were going to get to Mallorca by ferry where my next dive was at my first diving school! A very sentimental journey. We lived in Peguera but my get back to Palmanova after 4 years was very emotional. I remember from musical evenings near our hotel that Spanish singer was singing once an hour an only Polish song they had in their repertoire – a song of Happy End – „Jak się masz kochanie”. Impressive was that Spanish girl sung in Polish quite good. But song was a bit too „old-fashioned” to say „obciach” in Polish. And I dived at El Sech diving site what reminded me what the most beautiful about diving experience it used to be to. Enormous visibility, octopuses, sponge fields I love in Mallorca the most to marvel at. And we dived in a group from motor boat and the same time a submarine I remember from the year 2001 to be located in Palmanova like now Nemo Submarine Company is advertised. We dived as a group along with that submarine took ordinary tourists. I will never forget that awful infra-noise of this submarine that was hard to withstand. But being on 15 meters below surface you can simply do nothing. But a view on a sub-vehicle was impressive and really unforgettable experience in my life. To dive along with a submarine. This is in fact the rare moment to fall in love with that industry and marry a lifetime passion instead of a vague vision to marry any girl that always turn out to be monkeys after all. And that was one of the moments I realized that my passion will always win with only professions that I studied, excelled but never treated to be closer to my heart like economics – a very right and logical field, explaining world that hard not to agree with this perspective. But same time too abstract, rational to believe that nature we can see in so many variations can be simply limited to subject to a few economics rights. Economics however interesting field and worth to study just to have an opinion. Was never too serious for me from more objective point of view I could state and I wanted to prove then, after years that I can but I did not preserve motivation because I simply proven I can and it was my only goal in economics field! I achieved in economics a lot as a scientist. I did a lot to prove that the fact I did not pass a few exams at the beginning does not mean that I cannot change that discipline to show that there are considerations I can share, reflections of my own, but also other fields, people I have met in my life that are simply better! And what I challenged in SGH was simply traditional and red but it does not mean that better than anything I known before. I will simply never trade off what I experienced in my life to be best like scuba diving for something boring and traditional like public service achievements. And if there are people who do not want to forgive me that I never put them higher than what I personally experienced to be best in my life it does not mean that what was more comprehensive to me, what impressed me more and gave me more close to my heart purpose is something I have to diminish to be fair and follow any fair play rule of any tradition or policy. I am not like that. As a person I am personal. This means I can publish an article to speak as a scientist of a particular field. But other time no one has right to judge my passions and choices as a private person. My experiences and emotions about them are not to be compared with what is not personal to me. But only political, official or scientific. Being oneself. Being personal is just being a human. And being a politician or a scientist seems to me like mental illness sometimes. Like giving up own identity what is also emotional structure and passion and replace or not admit the truth about oneself is highly arguable thing. So I want to refer to anyone passionate who read my story. Be careful about what processes of identity shaping kind you allow to shape you. What references and standards you treat as yours. Because there are some toxic ambitions that you should never identify with. Especially when you are a supporter of nature conservation, environmentalist or just artist.
A word about insurance in Spain. It is worth, necessary and best to be purchased for whole period. When I was in Spain for a whole month I simply bought a monthly.
Another day after diving from Palmanova I decided to spend also underwater and it was one of my greatest divings ever. We took off with a rubber motorboat from Sta. Ponca for a few kilometers from the coast of Mallorca to an island El Toro. We dived from motorboat. That day I had a dive master who was a woman who looked after me and two course participants who did Advanced OWD course. We inflated jackets and entered water the standard way we can do from motorboat so by a turn over through back. Then we gathered around an old buoy with mooring chain and started to go down from this point. It took some time to equalize the pressure in ears and to get to almost 21 meters below surface took a bit of time. And this time it was my deepest dive. I did not feel anything new to me but water was so clear that for the first time in my life I saw clearly how big mass of water is over me. I followed my dive master who was much concerned about her participants and just checked from time to time if I am OK. It was the first woman I dived with but a very skillful and I realized for the first time that maybe diving for a woman may be a bit different experience. Especially she revealed completely different ability to divide her attention underwater. And for me to communicate with her was very comfortable. When I confront this dive with a dive a few years later in Zatoka Pucka with a complete beginner girl with whom I simply lost any contact and during critical minutes we needed to spend on ascent and decompression she just swam into a metal hole of a military boat even not waving her hand to say good bye. What made me completely confused like in an old Polish saying „gadał dziad do obrazu, a obraz ni razu” and scared this simply reveal an ultimate truth about cultural and individual differences between people. To communicate with a Spanish girl underwater is even easier than on a surface and to communicate with a Polish girl may look finally like on a photo on right side. My dive in Bryza wreck on 13.09.2009 I will simply remember for a long time. Even if she was at the stage that if she could she should „ask” me every possible an even irrational question and stick to me like a dog. But she behaved the way she was not able to explain even after we finally got back to the surface. Someone who dived a bit and pays attention to details can probably realize sometimes how surprisingly much sense and meaning we can exchange by simple gestures. There are quite several standard signs like the general sign that we want someone’s attention, that we want to ask someone else to show us something or communicate a condition like pressure in a tank from manometer. We learn how to communicate that we have 150 or 100 or 50 bars. But usual practice is to swim closer and check on our own a manometer of a buddy. There are some signs that we need to know to communicate basic problems with breathing. Another thing is to communicate movement, direction, time to ascend, to stop, to dive, do dive side by side, to inflate BCD, to release air from BCD jacket and many many others. So when I got one day a complete beginner who did not know what to communicate me, made up that understand what I intend and indicate, then got confused and lost even a need to communicate with me. Did what no one could suspect such a beginner what increased my stress to rarely high level. But this story I just recall now to tell about it a bit more later…
After my Mediterranean dives another year came with an idea to get back to diving in a lake in Poland. It was summer 2006 and I was fully devoted to planned for one year travel via Transsiberian railway to Beijing that have spent time diving only for two day during whole holiday. I organized a short trip to the base located at Łańskie lake near Olsztyn where I used to spend time in former government holiday resort but on the other side of a lake. But it was a very past when my father had a period in politics and we have been to Łańsk maybe two times. I liked to rent boats in Łańsk as an about 12 years old child in childhood and dive only with ABC in Łańskie lake. I never feared water since did a first swimming licence that when I was maybe 10 years old was yet required in Poland. And then in such a young age when we have spent time eg. in Łańsk where was a big swimming pool usually attended by BOR agents and and a great beautiful lake I simply loved to reach on my own by rent boat. No one paid attention that 12 years old son of not known deputy wants to rent a boat even for whole day to spend whole time on his own so for me this was just a beginning of my evolving sense to spent time on my own and focused on my passion. And I can attribute that particular time in Łańsk as a childhood that I dreamed there to become a scuba diver one day. So to get back to Łańsk as a licensed scuba diver was also emotional for me like my returns to Spain every another time. But Łańskie lake in the year 2006 did not surprised me. Base was at the opposite side of a lake and water was cold and muddy. So same day I decided to participate in a trip to dive in Narty lake in Świętajno. Photo of me is exactly from Narty lake.
And this was surpising experience. A base was prepared like in Kłodno lake but visibility underwater was uncommon like for Poland as usual. I was able to see sunk objects, and many types of fish that I did not see in such a quantity in Polish lake before. But what to say. Poland is raw and extreme. Good to learn and to prepare to every situation we can meet. But. Ein bisschen boring! I do not know why my next dive was 3 years later. But it was time I devoted myself much to studies. I studied double major and need for intellectual growth and achievements covered my need for physical activity what consequences I experience till today. What finally along with vegetarian diet resulted in chronic fatigue syndrome, neurological problems and the higher exposure to viruses that my EBV infection turned into a real threat to my health after years. And my next dive I decided for was during my trip with Natalia for holidays to Romania and Bulgaria in the year 2009. From travel to Bulgaria I remember the most that I broke 3 tyres & 1 but whole exhaust silencer (whole pipe that goes along the car at the bottom) just broke off and fell down to the road when I accidentally „passed over” the greatest hole in a road I have ever seen in my whole life. And I had to continue a journey to a Renault Service to Burgas near airport where a terrorist attack took place a few years later. I thought as if we traveled through the moon and already lost a chassis due to the close encounter with gravitational force not known before. I remember very well that just another day after our arrival to Sunny Beach I started to look around for diving school. And in that place there was only a Russian school. But not to offend Russians. I was extremely scared after a talk with an owner of that school. This was athlete steroid man in middle age who almost ignored me and answered every even not a second question but a third and I started to fear if he is not actually a pimp from a one nightclub or someone else but rather not someone to attribute any knowledge and skills. What’s more he switched our talk to money issues so fast and started to assure me that everything will be OK that I was really scared and withdrawn from conversation that was not to the point at all. But was a bit hard to escape since the moment he started to talk about money. I try not to be prejudiced however countries where everything is written in Cyrillic and people seem to be reluctant (I did not know then that in a few years after in Poland will be exactly the same!) have some charm of former epoch on one hand. And this is completely to understand. My parents simply lived in completely different world that such has a reminiscence to help me answer also who I am in terms of influences of my own domestic and not so distant in past times. But I preserved my motivation and just another day found a very competent British diving school owner in historical town Nessebar who had a base near a mysterious tourist port at Black Sea where arrived boats from even other countries located on a Black Sea but no schedules, plans, timetables! Exactly Iike sometimes in Russia! You need to be informed. Know what is going on in advance!
And videos from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park where took me and my father out my cousin Stephanie Rozanski to watch a mermaid show. Stephanie is from my Netherland settlers family line that I was lucky to know during my visit to Florida with my parents in 2010. She was passionate about acrobatics what surprised me that completely separately developed throughout some entities in my large family branches a bit similar tendencies. But for me my first confrontation with earth discouraged me from aerial hoop for ages. Maybe this is why I decided for water.
And my kittie preparing for bath