It took me about 30 seconds to understand that something bad is going to happen to this guy.
He, On the other hand, wasn’t even aware of the underwater danger that soon will befall him.
Many things can happen underwater, most of them, to my experience, are pretty amazing!
Let's Go Back A Bit
I fell in love with the underwater world while I was chasing my dreams looking for the a-pecs predator of the oceans, the Orca, in the cold water of New Zealand.
When I got back home, I was a man on a mission, get enough experience at diving and apply for a job at a local diving club, that way, I could spend as much time as I want just being underwater.
Something about being there made me feel so relaxed, it’s hard to explain, but it feels like the rest of the world is on mute
I Got The Job
Nothing fancy, just cleaning around the dive club and helping people get ready before there dives with all their equipment, hauling it into the boat and back, making sure the dive tanks were full and so on…
Just the simple maintenance jobs that no one wanted to do, a pretty sh*ty job, but I didn’t care because I could take free diving equipment and go diving in my free time before or after work, and that was worth it!
Soon enough I started my dive master course! (nailed it, of course =)
As a Dive Master, my job was to take groups of divers underwater to explore the old shipwrecks in the area, I would make sure that everybody had a dive partner and that all the equipment is checked before we get on the boat (it was nice not carrying all the equipment for a change).
I was the first to get my head underwater and also the last to get it out, going to explore and getting back to shore to take another group, that was my job =)
The Sunken Submarine
It lay perfectly still at 32 meters (105 ft) below the surface.
The Scirè submarine was a WW2 Italian sub that sunk on the 10th of August 1942, damaged by depth charges dropped by a British naval trawler.
There was only one danger with diving to the sub, the danger was hidden from plain sight and could strike with extremely strong blows, it was the unpredictable current in the area where the wreck had been.
So, for obvious reasons, it wasn’t on the usual diving plan, but more for the experienced divers only bonus dive.
Again, my job was to be the first to get my head underwater and also the last to get it out, but not this time…
I knew most of the group, and all of them had more dives on record than I did, some of them had been diving before I was even born, but I was in charge of the group.
I gave the usual pre-dive briefing and explained about the dive site and what to expect once we’d go underwater.
They didn’t care too much, “come on kid, we don’t have the whole day!…” I didn’t care, just made sure they were listening to the next part:
It Was Time To Go
After my dive equipment check on the ground, we set sail to the dive site GPS coordinate saved on the skipper’s phone.
Once we got in the proximity of the site we spotted a buoy that was connected to the submarine below the water.
When the skipper gave us the O.K that we were all tied up and ready to go, we all got into the water and by my request (more of a demand) had to swim to the buoy and grab hold of the rope.
Everything was going according to plan, everyone on the group was in the water holding the rope and I signaled 👌🏻 – “okay”, 👎🏻 – “going down”.
We started the descent, when to my surprise one of the group members decided to let go of the rope and go on its own down fast to “gain” more bottom time alone before the rest of the group.
It took me about 30 seconds to understand that something bad is going to happen to this guy. Not wanting to waste time with the rest of the group being slower than him, he thought that he could get down first and explore on his own.
He wasn’t even aware of the underwater danger that soon will befall him.
Besides the strong current in this dive site, the visibility at that day was one of the worst, I could see no more than 5 meters ahead of me and I knew that if I would let go of the rope and go after him, I would leave the rest of the group alone and that was not an option.
From that moment on I had to assume that he will follow the pre-dive guidelines that I gave, surface and signal the boat for a pickup (I was sure that he managed to descend but I also knew that there is no chance that he’d get to the dive site without the help of the rope in that current).
After 5 Minutes
I was down with the rest of the group exploring the sunken submarine, the rest of the dive went according to plan.
It was on the way back to the sub’s bow (The bow is the forward part of the hull of a ship or at this occasion, submarine) just moments before I wanted to signal to the group 👍🏻 – “going up”, that I saw him again!
I could see that he was in distress, moving his arms and legs in all directions trying to get close to me, he was missing one of his fins and I could see in his eyes that he was afraid.
I grabbed him and just acted on autopilot from that moment onward.
- Checking his air pressure – not good! He was nearly out of air and we were 32 meters underwater!
- Releasing my second octopus (secondary air hose used to share air from the same tank) and putting it in his mouth, pressing the purge button to clear the water so he could breathe normally.
- Signaling to the rest of the group that it is 👍🏻! “time to go up!”.
- Trying to calm him down as we go slowly up, and every now and then checking my own air pressure – I had plenty left for the both of us.
- Signaling the skipper to pick us up and help me get him up to the boat, he could not do it on his own, he was exhausted to a point that we had to pull him up.
Once on the boat
I helped him take his dive equipment off and slowly he recovered.
He told me that he was impatient and just wanted to go down and see the sub, he remembered letting go of the rope and going down thinking that I was just trying to scare the group with all my warnings about the current there, when it hit him…
He couldn’t remember how long it took him to find the submarine and how he’d lost one of his fins.
I can only imagine what would have happened if he didn’t found the Scirè in time…
In The End
A lot of things went wrong with this guy, from the moment he decided to let go of the rope and then not surfacing up once he noticed that he was lost and trying to manage alone underwater without his dive partner (that was left with the rest of the group).
This is just something to think about, for me, this experience had changed a lot in my life.
I’m by no means a perfect guy, but I do think twice before I get impatient about things.
Plus, I found a good thing about that past experience in the underwater, I got the chance to be tested on a real situation if I can take the pressure and perform as I should, and I did, if I’m looking at this from this perspective, I’m happy.
Before I Go
This post is a part of a series of past experiences that made an impact on me or even changed my life!
If you want to read the last post in this series click here and it would be a huge help if you could share this blog with your friends and family, you can use this Sign-Up link it would help a lot! Thanks!