Word and Image

Archive for November 14, 2014

Unintended Consequences


I would laugh but this was seriously demented on my part. If you ask my kids they would chuckle and nod in agreement. That aside, the parties involved in the story know who they are so no names are necessary. I got my rescue diver qualification this summer. Since then I have rescued myself. And now I got to put skill to the test once more. I have been supportive and encouraging a friend to dive. He hasn’t been diving for some time. He’s cautious. He called upon an instructor to give him a refresher course. Me, I don’t listen. I should have seen the warnings. The poor guy is not so comfortable in the water and my encouragement does not trump his nervousness. We came to the dive venue together and after a long wait, we found the instructor was ill and would not be attending.

I am one specialty skill away from being a master diver, the top rank before you advance to become an instructor. Diving and teaching are two different things entirely. The instructor told me to go ahead and dive. My friend was already open water qualified. No problem. He agreed. I did all the usual. We rented gear on the spot and I double-checked him on set up. When he geared up I double-checked. Yes, his air tank was on.

From there everything went downhill. His body shape is such that his weight belt slipped down over his belly and on his hips and his BCD rose above his shoulders around his ears. He did not pack enough weight on his weight belt. We made a couple trips back to shore to correct things. The calamity was not over. With extra weight he sank like a stone. So I had to keep him from hurting his ears.

For the purpose of a good dive tale, I exaggerate freely.

But buoyancy was a definite issue. At one point I had to grab hold to reassure my friend he was safe and okay. Yup, two guys hugging in the coral having a special moment together. I was hoping none of my instructor acquaintances were watching, or anyone else either. Well, after fits and starts, I actually was able to get my friend to decent buoyancy balance as seen in the pictures. Of course getting to this point required considerable skill and patience. There was a lot of hyperventilating by all parties. And I did use my rescue skills. There was new meaning to ‘never come directly face to face with the other diver’ where he may grab onto you. As well as we knew each other it is not good when he embraces you in the water. Does the term death grip come to mind? Laugh. It wasn’t so bad. But the thought cross my mind as I was swinging around to grab his regulator to control his erratic movement. Remember what happens in the water stays in the water. So if you ask me, it never happened. Besides look how good he is floating above the platform.