Entited: "I Almost Made It Again, or ...

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Posted by retrodiver on September 07, 2001 at 20:36:41:

...The Rumours of Our Deaths Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"

by Ret Ro Diver

There I was, scuba diving at Monastery Beach with my dive buddy, Mike (for some reason roughly 50% of all divers are named Mike, go figure).

Since, we had been reading a lot on the California Scuba Diving BBS about the unfortunate consequences of novice divers not being prepared for OOA emergencies, and having not practiced such skills since our own OW classes, we decided that our first dive of the day would be devoted to refreshing our OOA procedures.

After entering the water, we descended down to a patch of sandy bottom amid the towering stalks of magnificent green kelp, and well away from any of the life encrusted rock reefs. Our computers indicated a depth of approximately 60’. My partner and I began simulating an OOA situation. Mike spit out his primary regulator and with a wink gave the OOA hand signal.

Calmly, I unclipped my octopus from a D-ring on my BC harness and offered it to Mike. Once Mike was breathing off my spare and had given me the okay sign I showed him my SPG. It read approx. 2400 psi. Everything was going smoothly and we prepared to repeat the procedure, but this time I would be breathing off his octopus.

Suddenly, and without warning, a dark figure descended upon us. At first I thought the GWS had finally gotten my number, but the shape was not so streamlined or as elongated as that, and I realize that it’s another diver. A solo diver, who began to wildly wave his arms in wide-eyed excitement but giving me the OK sign at the same time. He seems to be having no trouble breathing, so I tried to ignore him and continue with my training exercise.

That’s when the $#!^ hit the proverbial fan. This INTRUDER, James Bond wanna-be, jerks the regulator from my buddy’s mouth, pulling $3000 worth new bridgework with it. Mike never knew what hit him. With utter astonishment I watched poor Mike’s eyes roll back into his head as a wave of excruciating pain overwhelmed him. Before I could even react this uber diver jams a narley custom made mouthpiece into the wound that only milliseconds before was my partner’s mouth. The once clear water began to cloud with Mike’s blood and a whole hell of a lot of bubbles.

Not knowing what the hell was happening I started to reach for my knife, but before I could reach it a hand lunged into my face breaking the seal on my mask and knocking the regulator from my mouth. The stinging flood of sea water in my eyes made it difficult to discern exactly what happened next, but I can tell you that another nasty custom mouthpiece was now jammed into my mouth, loosening several teeth. For a moment what I believe was our hero’s clamped down firmly on my privates! The crushing pain in my groin further disoriented me so that I was not immediately able to clear my mask.

Although, I could not see what was happening I knew by the whistle in my e-tubes that this maniac was attempting to drag us both to the surface! I could feel his hand on my BC shoulder strap and was about to try to peel his fingers off when I banged my head on what I now believe was his pony bottle, but this only caused a minor delay in my thinking. Fearing that we would soon rocket to the surface I desperately tugged at the dump valve on my jacket. I believe this action may have been what prevented a DCS hit on us all. We were a mere 10’ from the surface when I was finally able to clear my mask, and see that Mike appeared to be breathing, though his head lolled helplessly to and fro.

Once on the surface, I was able to re-inflate our BC’s and assist our “rescuer” in kicking for the shoreline. The whole way to the beach the madman continually cursed a stream of obscenities at us, and then some unintelligible nonsense about “doing it wrong.” We were no sooner on the sand, than the nut shed his gear and ran away. For good I had hoped, but he soon arrived with the help we now truly needed.

“What was it?” he asked upon his return. “A flooded dry-suit.”

“We’re both wearing wet-suits…” I replied dumbfounded, as I cupped my aching member.

Later I was to learn that this diver had been diving deep on air and was suffering from a severe case of narcosis. Mike and I agreed to drop the assault charges, once the fellow promised to cover all of our related medical expenses.

I hung up my fins that day and have vowed never to return to the sea.

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