Over the holidays, as 2021 drew to a close, the media once again began to overflow with retrospections on the year that has gone by, and heads of state, prime ministers and royalty gave reflective New Year’s speeches on national radio and television.
As always, I heard or read the usual fair share of speeches, but this time, it made me pensive, and I began to ponder—just as a thought experiment—what I would have said if I had to give such a speech. To whom would my thoughts have gone? Whom would I have thanked and what hopes would I have expressed?
There have always been plenty of humanitarian and environmental crises in the world about which to be concerned and many good causes to champion, but this year, it has been different. Indeed, my thoughts go out to the many good and hardworking members of the dive industry and community who have been terribly affected by the pandemic.
It has been not just one but two years since the onset of the pandemic, which has turned out to be arguably the most destructive event ever to affect the dive industry. In the past, 9/11, SARS, and the global financial crisis in 2008 were bad enough but are mere blips in comparison.
During the past two years, anni horribili, countless dive businesses have ceased operations and dive industry colleagues, many of which we have known for many years as hardworking individuals and entrepreneurs sinking endless hours and effort into building and developing their operations, have been forced to close or mothball their businesses. It has been heart-breaking.
But we have also seen amazing resilience and ingenuity in the face of adversity. In the middle of all the bleakness and devastation, many dive industry members have fought hard to keep the lights on, managing to stay afloat and live to fight another day. Some have had to temporarily step away to do other things for a while in order to be able to pay the bills, while others have managed to restructure and adapt their businesses to the changing circumstances.
My thoughts therefore go out to both those members of the international dive community who have sadly become victims of the impacted economy, as well as all those who have fought and found ways to carry on, sometimes at great cost.
Divers are a hardy bunch, and the dive industry and community will surely bounce back once this devastating pandemic is beyond us.
In the meantime, we carry on, and continue to serve and support the dive community to the best of our abilities.
We wish you all a happy 2022