Share a part of the life of our consultants by discovering their hobbies! This month, let's talk about Karine Ancarola (d²X Lyon) and her passion for scuba diving.
(photo : Karine Ancarola)
What is your double life?
I do scuba diving.
When and how did you start?
I discovered scuba diving at 16 years old, in a French army vacation center, which implies that diving instructors were military professionals. To put it another way, I experienced a very strict and sharp teaching of diving (everything I like 😉)!
My first experiences took place in Porquerolles (South of France), so I had the opportunity to do these dives in a beautiful setting. I didn't continue then because I was not too excited about the idea of coming back to Paris and diving in a pool. I did it for 2 years and then I stopped, enough to finish my studies, to start my professional life, etc.... A little over 10 years ago, I reconnected with a childhood friend who, through our exchanges, made me want to go back to scuba diving (I was almost 40 years old at the time).
I re-enrolled in a diving club near my home, and it was a big technological shock for me. Indeed, in terms of equipment, it was not at all the same equipment that I once knew. So I decided to start it again from scratch, so that I could better master all this new equipment, which is essential for diving as we know it now. This included mastering the vest ("stab jacket"), which did not exist before so I was quite a process to relearn.
Now, I am a level 2 diver, which means that I can dive on my own (i.e. without an instructor within the group of divers) to a depth of 20 meters. This is a level that allows me to go diving wherever I want on vacation. Practical!
What do you like about this passion?
Firstly, I like the fact that it is a sport in which you need to save your energy. I do discovery diving, so the more you "save yourself", the more time you get to spend underwater. Of course, scuba diving is still a sport because you need to be in minimum physical condition so that you don't force yourself, and therefore avoid accidents.
It is a physical activity which also requires preparation, particularly mental preparation. Indeed, you spend almost an hour in a hostile and unpredictable environment! I like the things framed and organized, it's great because there is this preparation and equipment verification phase before the dive, which in the end is essential for my survival.
Some people ironically say that diving is sometimes the opposite of planning and organization (things I particularly appreciate). Everything is independent of my will. So it's a great way to get out of my comfort zone. When I plan to dive, it often happens that in the end I can't dive on the expected diving site, because of the currents or bad weather. In the end, you never know what to expect during a dive, so my planning side is really put to the test. You have to assimilate the fact that you don't control much during the dive.
During the dive, you also have a feeling of fulfillment. The beauty of some sites invites you to contemplation. I like the sharing tof the discovery of the aquatic fauna and flora with the other members of the group. There is also a challenging side to scuba diving, being the first one to see a fish or a species. As soon as someone sees something, he/she calls for the others to come along so that everyone can also enjoy and observe the same thing. When we dive, we are in an environment where even if we are in a group, it remains a very personal experience. Everyone has his/her perception of an environment (which is hostile, do not forget it), with feelings that are their own. When I'm 20 meters below the surface, I make the most of it and enjoy as much as I can.
Everytime I finish my dive, it's really the feeling of fulfillment that comes to my mind, because we feel a lot of physical tiredness, but also a feeling of joy linked to what we saw during the excursion. After diving, generally, we take the time to exchange on what we felt or saw at the end of the dive. It's a particular posture because we are the only one to enjoy our own feelings, and then we have this a posteriori exchange where we debrief, on the boat or in the club, around a beer. I like to talk about feedback, when I talk about this debriefing moment with my teammates.
And in your daily life, how does your passion fit in?
Because of the current events, I haven't been scuba diving for several months but I'm excited to go back, I can't wait to can get back to scuba diving!
When I used to be a club diver, I would dive every week, in the pool for the survival gestures in a hostile environment, and in a classroom for the theory lessons. The Club organized several weekends per year for technical diving trips (preparation and practical exams) and exploration trips which could, in some cases, turn into technical diving trips when our instructors wanted to test us a bit!
This activity requires a personal, financial and time investment which is huge because you have to take a lot of theoretical courses, practical courses, and therefore to go to sea. Generally, I try to organize my summer vacations where I am sure to find diving places. But as I'm the only one in my family to do this activity, I can't force them to go to certain places compared to others! Lyon is great for that because its location allows to go often to the Mediterranean Sea. My favorite spots are La Pointe Rouge and Les Goudes, in Marseille.
Have you acquired skills that you use in your professional life?
Of course! Scuba diving is a way to help me accept events over which I have no control. It is also a discipline that requires you to trust others. It is quite common to dive with complete strangers! Except within the club, we don't know the other members of the diving group, so we don't know their reactions underwater either. We can meet very serious people as well as more relaxed people.
It is also interesting in a professional environment. I tell myself that if I can accept it on a risky activity, I can also make concessions in my professional life!
Thank you Karine for answering our questions!