I was preparing for my first saltwater dive when I glanced to a dive log. There was a magical number: 50! 'She is very experienced, she has fifty dives!' I whispered to my girlfriend. I think I adored my new buddy. The dive goddess was an American lady in her thirties and I thought would I ever be an experienced diver with that much dives?
Since 2001, the start of my regular trips, I had many chance to dive with beginner divers. To feel their excitement when they ask how many dives I have can be satisfying. But on the other hand I've already met many divers who has much less dives but as good divers as me. You can ask what 'good diver' means to me. No, not those who dive to 70 meters with single tank of compressed air or swim faster than Michael Phelps but the divers with perfect buoyancy, low air consumption, careful moves and a sense of catching sight of the underwater life. Diving is a special competition where not the 'faster, stronger, deeper' rule apply. Maybe with 50 dives I wouldn't confess if I envy somebody regardless of her or his logged dives but as I become more experienced I'm quite happy to see those smart new divers. It's better to dive with them- you can say I'm selfish. Yes, I am. After many dives where other divers stirred up the silk or frightened away the hiding animals I appreciate the good dive buddies.
So the question became simplier. If I meet a new diver I'm not interested in 'how many' but 'how'. And I'm able to decide if I want to dive with them more even without asking them. The nice numbers in your logbook won't tell a word about this. And certainly my logbook is useless too- something to remember. For the buddies I should be a good diver but it's much easier to collect 50 dives than doing everything well on every single one.