Diver Experience (You Need Some)
I was wondering how to sneak some more dive shots. I recently saw how hard it can be to learn scuba diving. I learned and the next week was following Farid up and down the reef without so much as a hiccup. When Julia visited, she had dived Central America and the Caribbean. We never had a problem.
A couple of docs at the hospital decided to learn scuba. I encouraged them and with my iPad assured them they would see a whole new world. Samir went first. During his pool dive at our compound Wissam came by on the way to the gym. Wissam signed up on the spot for lessons the very next week. He even bought all his gear ahead of his lessons – a bold move.
This thing looked like coral to me. But I saw a picture and someone describes it as a nudibranch. Well, ok!
I took Samir to his first (and soon to be last) open water dive. It was the usual hot sunny Red Sea afternoon at 100 plus degrees. All was well and the water was a pleasant cool change from the heat of the land. Samir went up during the dive. He had some buoyancy issues and then he came back down. The first open water dive is about 30 minutes with safety lessons. When we emerged I was last out of the water. I saw Samir lying on his back head down and legs elevated. He was dizzy. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast and we assumed he was hypoglycemic. His dizziness persisted. He vomited after he had some juice. We had to remove him by wheelchair. The cool A/C of the car should have perked him up. But he staggered into his villa when I dropped him off. The next day, the verdict – ruptured round window (ear). It seems that Samir had stapedectomy surgery years ago. There are certain precautions to take. Since he forgot to mention this, we were all unaware. His brief diving career is over. Some say you can dive but others say never. You can’t take a chance with your day job.
Wissam took his pool dives and the ER chief stopped by. Déjà vu. He threatened to sign up for lessons. And… I took Wissam for his open water dive. Same resort and same weather, I was carefully watching his progress. Voila! No problems. He did great. Second dive, we did a little touring north along the reef since there was still time and air in the tanks. Visibility was poor. At ten feet it was hard to see the next diver. We were in line and I was second. Wissam was just behind. I kept feeling him swim into my fins. Then the dive instructor turned and looked at me with his palms up in a, “What gives?” I looked back and then realized Wissam was gone. Swimming back and looking around reef outcroppings I imagined him pinned somewhere and unable to move. Nope! I soon surfaced to see whether he had come up. There was a diver on the surface tank up and face down (dead??). I had to swim hard to get close. I was relieved to see him kicking his fins and confirming that he was alive. It turned out he got a cramp. When he reached to massage his leg, he hit his BCD inflator. He shot to the top and that’s how we lost him. Bobbing on the surface, he got seasick. Oh, brother! Now Farid says I’m not to swim with the new guys. I just might be bad luck.