‘Ahh, I just love the smell of wetsuit in the morning!’

It was one minute past eight, and staff were still in the process of switching the diveshop sign around to ‘open’ as we strolled in the door. We were the first customers of the day.

Random though that comment seemed, it did hold a grain of truth. Wetsuits do have a particular scent. And in a world where our five human senses get culled once underwater, smell being one of the main ones, you come to recognise fragrances on land with that bit more respect.

Sea water does have a particular smell, as does stagnant water, (though ‘stench’ may be a more apt synonym there) because different plants and fish probably do have their own aroma, just as flowers and land animals do. Why should underwater be any different? Apart from that our noses aren’t designed to inhale when surrounded by any other substance except air (I know. I’ve tried. My sinuses were clear for days… ).

And I’m sure you have all noticed the flood of aromas that hits us after a dive? Shampoo lingering in a removed hood. Boat engine fumes. Fish and chips from the café next to the wharf (yes please). And wetsuit wash. They are always there. But post-dive they seem that bit stronger. And it has to be because that olfactory function is halted for the duration of the dive.

In a world where humans are categorized by those five particulars, then underwater we must become something else. But it doesn’t matter, or bother us. Because by losing those things we gain others. Lack of gravity for instance, but that’s another story.

Interested? Read Got No Sense!