As an underwater photographer, I can tell you the excitement level of discovery can be describe as ecstatic. Larger animals, such as sea lions, rush out at you, pause for a split second and then they are off like a flash. You need to stay focused and ready for that kind of high energy interaction. If you’re not vigilant of keeping track of your position constantly, you can easily get lost. This beautiful and wonderful world can turn nightmarish fast.
Unlike being lost on land, if you lose your bearings underwater, a deadly time clock starts. You carry a limited supply of life-giving air with you. As anxiety rises, so does your breathing rate, using your limited resource more quickly. Some new electronic compasses are equipped with a special feature that will keep track of your course changes underwater, and then point you the way home with a push of a button. On one particular dive I was chasing a California two-spotted octopus and lost my position. I stayed calm, used my electronic compass, and had no trouble getting back to the boat.