Parm Gill is a fourth-year Biology and Environmental Studies student, vice president of UVic Scuba Club, and Vikes Nation member.
Martlet: When did you first seek to try scuba diving? What prompted it?
Parm Gill: During first year, the UVic Scuba Club came around to our class saying, “Hey—scuba diving—join—there is a dive club on campus.” But first year, obviously, it’s really hard to get all your finances in order. So I didn’t join first year. I did join second year though. I saved up for it and took the Open Water course [in Victoria]—I’ve been hooked ever since!
M: Have you had the opportunity to explore diving outside of Victoria?
PG: I have! I’ve been diving in Squamish, Whitecliff Park, and around the Island. I’ve gone [diving] in Nanaimo, Campbell River, and Tasis.
M: What attracted you to Scuba diving?
PG: So, there is a funny story to this, I saw [scuba diving] in a movie and thought some people were really cool because they were diving, and I wanted to be cool too, so . . . haha . . . But, at the same time, I’ve always been captivated by the natural beauty that is the environment that surrounds us. I grew up in Squamish, which as you [may] know is one of the recreational capitals of Canada, so I was very well attuned with my natural surroundings. When I came to Victoria though, although it does have greenery and shrubbery, it is a bit of a city. So I started exploring different avenues to get in touch with the environment, and one of the ways that I found that was through scuba diving.
M: What is your current favourite dive site, locally?
PG: Ten mile point—by far! It’s a pretty accessible dive location [being] only a 10-minute drive from the university. It’s amazing. It’s a huge wall dive; you can go down to about 80 feet and [the wall] is absolutely covered in life—it’s so vibrant and full of energy. Other than the attractiveness of life, because it’s so accessible, if I know I have two hours free, I will throw my kit in the car, park on campus, go to my class, jump in my car, go for a dive, jump back out. And although I may not have time to take off my onesie, I will still be able to make it to my next class!
M: What is the coolest thing you’ve seen underwater?
PG: You can see this above-water too, but, bioluminescence. The coolest thing is to be swimming and just have bits of light streaming past you—it’s fascinating. And seeing creatures that illuminate themselves [on night dives] is absolutely breathtaking.
M: If you can sum it up, what does the ability to breathe underwater mean to you?
PG: The ability to breathe underwater for me is a privilege. You’re going into an environment that we have an effect on but we never really have the privilege to visit and see those effects. That’s what breathing underwater gives you, the ability to go down there, take a look around and see the effects that we’re having on the environment. One thing that I also find underwater is that I can meditate, which, under normal circumstances, I’m not going to sit there for 45 minutes to meditate. It’s not my personality. But if I’m underwater and I just tune out and get in synch with my environment, I find that it’s very relaxing and it keeps me grounded. Grounded while maintaining neutral buoyancy!