Bond yourself with nature!
When I was four years old, my parents were told that clean mountain air from the Andes could help cure mine and youngest sisters’ asthma. Repetitive family visits to the mountains since that age, helped cured that illness. Since then, I developed such a great fascination for mountains that I felt the thrill of mountaineering was among the greatest ways to create a bond with nature.
After twenty five years of mountaineering in the Andes and Alps, I have the chance to dive in the Caribbean Ocean for the first time. Immediately, I recognized my bond with nature was incomplete. I was missing the fundamental knowledge of life underwater. I was missing a crucial contact with underwater environment. I did not know the peculiar, strange but magnificent life underwater.
As a sportsman, I gained a strong motivation to understand how the adjustment of our bodies in the mountains and underwater could be compared. By learning about gasses and pressures, I could begin contrasting.
In mountaineering terms, the air becomes ‘thinner’ the higher we climb. This means that due to the reduced atmospheric pressure, we find less and less concentration of oxygen particles in a given air space the higher we ascend. Our body triggers a process to compensate for the lack of oxygen concentration we provide to our lungs. Nitrogen found in the air we breathe, as we don’t metabolize it, is not an issue when breathed above water.
When diving though, atmospheric and water pressure change the game rules. Nitrogen becomes a major concern under increased absolute pressure (water pressure + atmospheric pressure), due to the fact that we don’t metabolize it. Oxygen, on the other hand, it isn’t an issue of concern as long as we remain within the limits of recreational diving. Although timing differs a lot, as with mountaineering we can help our bodies adapt to the environment following a predefine set of rules.
To my view, mountains create a bond with our world due to the fact that put humans back to where we belong: nature. Mountains are astoundingly big sentinels of stone that make us feel humble against the beauty of nature. Only by learning to respect and mastering survival in their uneasy environment we increase our chances to climb them again and again.
Oceans teach us about our very first origins. After all, life was first formed in them. The more ancient ecosystems are found underwater. Unthinkable life forms and creatures live in our vast oceans. Underwater life is so striking to the human eye, yet so fragile and so endangered by human hands. Diving creates a bond with nature by showing and teaching us about the still little explored underwater world, which dominates life on earth. Diving help us to value and respect our living oceans, before they become dead and polluted oceans by the hands of those who never learned to value them.
Now, when I dive deep down, I came back up to the surface feeling as grateful as when I am about to reach a mountain summit. Likewise, when I contemplate the mountains heights I feel happiness in the same way as when I contemplate the underwater world. It feels like I am now more… bonded with nature.