Newbie's dive # 5 went to 86 fsw. Feet went numb. What do you think?, the first place to look for a dive instructor

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Posted by Wayne on May 26, 2002 at 20:50:26:

OK. Background stuff. Julie and I went on a cruise to celebrate the big 25. We stopped in Cozumel and booked a "Certified Diver Tour". We dove the Santa Rosa Reef. My computer showed 86 fsw and the wife's showed 95 fsw. Dive was a two-depth special with the latter portion of the dive in about 50 fsw. The computer barely was in the yellow during the dive and never exceeded NDL. FOR ME or the wife.

On the ride out to the dive area (all on the one big boat) a young honeymooner got sick and came to the stern and thought about fish feeding, but felt better once in the open air. We chatted to her while we rode in the boat. We also chatted to her and her husband while they were getting rental gear at the dive shop after that boat ride. Then we all went diving. The group we had was big, so they took 6 of us and put us on a seperate 6-pack boat and we were slightly seperated from most of the cattle on the other boat. We all dove the "same" profile and mostly were within a few hundred feet of each other.

That night at dinner she and her husband walked by our table and we asked how they enjoyed the dive. She said that it was good, except for the safety stop. She ascended too fast and hit the surface before she could stop. She told us these were dives 5 and 6 for them (I am assuming that dives 1-4 were OW certification dives). Then they asked us WHY ARE SAFETY STOPS IMPORTANT? I did my best to simply explain the point of slowing down the ascent and all that good stuff and how DCS can be serious -- especially a spinal hit-- and how "fast" those tissues are, etc. Then she let the other shoe drop.

Within 5 minutes of hitting the surface, she lost feeling in both feet. A nice lady on the boat tried to massage them to help her get the feeling back, but this did not help much. Her symptons resolved in about an hour and she did the second dive to 50 fsw, again missing the stop. Her symptons did not return. More background: they never thought this was anything to worry about and never told the DM about it.

I think I scared the living spit out of them when I described the symptons of DCS. I begged them to pay very careful attention for any return of the symptons. I told them about DAN and told them if they had ANY symptons they needed to immediately seek medical attention. I offered to contact DAN with them, etc. We never saw them again on the ship (easy with >2000 passengers) and we never saw anyone helicoptered off.

The wife and I were blown away that these newbies did not recognize the signs and symptons and did not seem to understand the problem of safety stops. Also I was impressed that these total newbies were taken that deep without some help in the ascent rate. Anyway, I hope it was no problem and I know they will not dive again until next summer, so the N2 will be out by then....


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