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    Divers “Geek Out” at the Dive & Travel Expo April 21-22

    There was a time when being called a geek was an insult. Now it’s about sharing your passion with a community and being part of a family. Recently, Simon Pegg, actor/writer/comedian, said “Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult.”

    Being a geek is all about passion. Being a diver in the Salish Sea/Puget Sound is no different. It takes a fanatical person to dive these frigid waters, but enthusiasm can be paid back tenfold when you consider the rich and diverse invertebrate life here. The waters of Tacoma are the most frequently dove sites, and boast the most colorful reefs in the world.

    A debate has been bantered about since diving began about why the cold-water produces such rich life. The diversity is attributed to gasses, such as oxygen, dissolving more readily in cold water making microorganisms and in turn more predators to eat those. The other reason could be the amount of dissolved nutrients in the water that are available to support the growth of photosynthetic organisms. Still another reason could be the Eastern North Pacific which has a large upwelling zone that seasonally brings cold water up from the depths of the ocean, and high levels of nutrients which feed a large and diverse food web.

    But I’m letting my geeky side digress. This is supposed to be about passion and community. PNW diving is really ultimately about sharing your enthusiasm. The local diver here is sometimes mistaken for a nerd, but they can be anyone. Your dentist might secretly harbor a passion for spearfishing. The firefighter who lives next door could be an earnest ecologist. And the cop that just pulled me over for potentially speeding might be my next dive buddy. Passion at this level leads to enjoying the sport, diving locally, and hunting (whether for dinner or for the perfect photograph) in waters no sane person would consider.

    But they don’t just dive locally! These enthusiasts will travel to the furthest reaches of the globe. Philippines, Malaysia, Alaska, Costa Rica… the list goes on.

    This overwhelming sense of community is what ultimately sparked the idea for the Dive & Travel Expo, held at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, Tacoma, WA April 21-22, 2012.

    The bond shared by “geeking out” about diving is my favorite part of this weekend. Yes, we might have cool prizes, amazing seminars from DAN, DUI, Aggressor Fleet, TDI/SDI, and PSI. We may even boast international travel representatives from Canada, Philippines, Honduras, Belize, Riviera Maya, Bonaire, etc. We may even have one of the coolest Treasure Hunts in the area.

    But really, the whole reason we are here is to share in the fraternity/sorority of diving. I see a dive flag bumper sticker, and suddenly, I am bonded with that person. I see a PADI sticker on a laptop at the coffee shop, and suddenly I’m talking to a long lost friend I never knew. I have 25,000 brothers and sisters in this area, and I can’t wait to see them all in Tacoma in a few weeks!

    For more info:http://www.diveandtravelexpo.com

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