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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
6/18/12 12:39 P

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Same here Jennifer! Join is in the Narced Divers Lounge where we hang out and chat.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



JENNSMITH209's Photo JENNSMITH209 SparkPoints: (4,684)
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6/17/12 1:46 P

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Thanks for the warm welcome and reply here, Michelar. Was so psyched when I saw that Spark has a scuba team! Looking forward to getting to know you all better.

"Everyone gets discouraged. Question is are you going to get up or give up? It's always your choice"


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
6/17/12 8:36 A

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Wow Jennifer I can see how that could be scary for a 1st tiIvesive but you held it together and that is very important in scuba diving !

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



JENNSMITH209's Photo JENNSMITH209 SparkPoints: (4,684)
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6/16/12 11:30 P

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Wow, great scuba stories here. My certification dive was the first weekend in June in Marathon Key, FL. My first and scariest! Our first dive day, the seas were "2 to 4' with an occasional, 'Oh, $h!+'," according to the instructor. It was a small boat, so we were getting tossed around quite a bit on the way out. The entries off the boat seemed too rushed, the instructors in a hurry to get us below the waves. Not at all like the slow, methodical entries we had completed in the pool. It was disconcerting, but I was hopeful, that unlike the surface, the water below would be crystal clear like you see in all the travel videos. Alas, not to be. There was lots of surge, and viz was low. I was scared even though we were only about 25 ft deep. I was on the lead instructor's fins like 'white-on-rice-on-a-paper-plate-in-a-snows
torm' the entire dive, as were the other two students. We completed our final skill, removing/replacing the mask. The plan was to do that skill just before going up so that we wouldn't spend a long time with salt in our eyes. We were at the anchor line and the instructor motions for us to go up. I'm thinking we are to go up on the line, safety stop, all that jazz, so that's what I start up the anchor line, but then I look around and everyone else is GONE. WTH? I don't know where they are or how to judge how fast to go up, so I just sort of hang on the line going up at a snail's pace, steadily getting more creeped out. I then see the bow of the boat, and start thinking the boat is going to plow over me or the waves are going to slam me into the boat, so I just stop. I'm clinging on that line for dear life, afraid to move. First dive and I'm alone and going to die. Where's the freaking group? We had two instructors, one was to lead and one to follow behind to keep the herd together. Apparently, both instructors decided to be the leaders on the way up. Finally - although I'm sure it was only a few minutes, it seemed like hours - one of the instructors comes looking for me. Whew, saved! Seems silly now since we were so shallow, but I was truly terrified being alone. Thankfully, Day Two and Three, the water was mirror smooth. Good times. Can't wait to go again!

"Everyone gets discouraged. Question is are you going to get up or give up? It's always your choice"


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Q8PRINCESS's Photo Q8PRINCESS Posts: 1,934
4/11/12 9:44 A

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Seals are little to like monkeys. Not wanting to be too near either one.

RDog Days Of Summer Week One: 71,662 m
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Lifetime one million meters rowed

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
3/28/12 1:56 P

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Hi Scubatrain and welcome to the team. Wow that woud have freaked me out too! Best to have played it safe.

Hope you will join us in the Nacred Divers lounge where we hang out.

Michela

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



SCUBABTRAIN's Photo SCUBABTRAIN SparkPoints: (691)
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3/28/12 1:20 P

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Hi all! It doesn't look like anyone has posted here in a while, but I am new here.

My scariest moment was a dive in Seward, AK. My buddy and I were slowly finning alon at about 15m when a female sea lion showed up. At first it was amazingly cool, being so close and watching her swim, but then she started getting aggressive. Diving at us, dashing at our fins and heads. I signaled my buddy, and we turned around and started to swim away. I know we weren't near a rookery, but there must have been a haul-out nearby because we swam straight into five more. This was a bull and four females, plus I should mention that in Alaska we have the Steller Sea Lions, which are bigger than their California cousins.

It is possible that they were just playing with us, but it certainly freaked my buddy and I out. On the one hand it was incredible to see them diving and swirling all around us, but still, we decided to abort the dive. It sounds silly now, but we hid in a kelp bed between some boulders at about 8m until the sea lions swam off and then dashed for the boat.

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
10/24/11 3:20 P

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CT I am happy it all worked out fine. That was a scary experience.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



CTTAGENT's Photo CTTAGENT Posts: 1,616
10/20/11 4:28 P

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I had a very scary experience diving today: lost from the group and my buddy at about 90 feet, no wreck in sight, low on air, and at 127 feet over sand. It was a free ascent, and unable to do my safety stop at 15 feet because no rope to help hold me there. Ascent took about 4 minutes when log reviewed, with about 100 of air left. My husband was ready to give up diving when he ascended and I was not with the group, since he thought I was ahead of him.

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JSPEED4's Photo JSPEED4 Posts: 1,677
7/27/11 5:19 P

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I was about 17 years old, doing the check-out dive for my license, at Ponce de Leon Springs in Florida. We needed flashlights for the caves, which went down to about 90 feet. The dive leader told the group about the eels, and that sometimes they would see an electric eel on a shelf in a cave!

I still don't know if there really were any electric eels in there. There WERE eels.

J. Speed Eastern Standard Time, UTC/GMT -5
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SCUBADIVA26's Photo SCUBADIVA26 Posts: 639
2/20/11 5:45 P

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I was about 14 years old, so I had only been certified for two years. My father and I were diving the same lake that I had grown up on - fairly calm, shore dive. We swam out to the drop-off and followed it down. We get to the bottom of the drop-off (about 45 feet) and things are going smooth... sort of. As we moved around sunken sailboats and ice boats, my dad (not the strongest swimmer) was kicking up all sorts of silt and debris, using his arms for power and constantly turning around, not following the dive plan. As I repositioned to be next to him, his "swimming arms" took my mind straight back to the text book that tells you to swim "with your hands at your sides or folded against your body." I turn my head to gawk at an impressive pike when my dad's hand moves in front of my face and knocks my regulator out of my mouth. I couldn't find it in the cloud of silt that had been kicked up, and of course, I did what every diver is told not to do - I panicked. I couldn't get my hand on my spare, and my dad had already turned too far away for me to swim to him and grab his spare, so what did this kid do? I gave in to instinct and swam straight up, blowing bubbles for 45 feet. STUPIDEST MOVE EVER! For the next 2 months I had nightmares about getting the bends and since that day I have developed a noticeably compulsive "checking" ritual when I dive, grabbing my reg every few minutes or so just to make sure it's still there. Good times.

emoticon

Challenge yourself today, and tomorrow you will thank yourself. That's a promise. You ARE worth the commitment.

Be kind to animals... kiss a shark. :-)


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MUSCLEBOUNDBABE's Photo MUSCLEBOUNDBABE Posts: 998
2/2/11 7:39 P

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SharkB8 - How awesome!! Did you just wanna kiss his smooshie little face? LOL

My scariest dive was really not frightening at al, but I'd only gone diving a few times. I was in Panama last year and while I was observing a pregnant momma white tip reef shark lying on the ocean floor, all of a sudden another white tip swam right underneath me from behind. I think had everything else not been so serene and peaceful, I would have freaked out. But it was cool. He didn't touch me! LOL

Lisa
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CTTAGENT's Photo CTTAGENT Posts: 1,616
8/2/10 12:05 P

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Yesterday it was a little scary to be heading back towards shore, and I looked around and couldn't find hubby. I did a 360 after the silt settled, and then tried to head for the surface. I was trying to ascend, but the gauges kept reading 18 feet. So I paused a few moments and tried again, kicking harder, then I finally broke through and started going up. When I arrived on the surface, there he was, waiting for me. Because he was behind me, he lost sight of me sooner than my stopping and making sure he was behind me. We made it through, and look forward to our next dive, with a little change in our methods.

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CTTAGENT's Photo CTTAGENT Posts: 1,616
7/8/10 11:41 P

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The seals were not plentiful today.

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CTTAGENT's Photo CTTAGENT Posts: 1,616
7/5/10 11:03 P

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Since I am a new diver, so far my scariest moment was doing the skills in the ocean; particularly mask removal and replacement.

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HOLYDIVERMANN's Photo HOLYDIVERMANN Posts: 40
2/26/10 11:17 P

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LOL IAMSHARKB8...that happened to me too in Monterey...no sharks but a harbor seal up in the mask...they must get a kick out of seeing us funny swimming mammals. emoticon

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IAMSHARKB8's Photo IAMSHARKB8 Posts: 65
2/26/10 6:09 P

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Cove II, Elliot Bay, Seattle. Marker Bouy Dive Club

It's hard to beat someone who won't give up.


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
2/26/10 11:39 A

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No fun losing the group on a night dive, Holydiverman! Bet you put those fins in motion to catch up to them.

Iamshark, how cool to come face to face with a seal pup! Where did this dive take place?

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



IAMSHARKB8's Photo IAMSHARKB8 Posts: 65
2/25/10 6:05 P

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OK. Brand new diver and diving with more experienced buddies through a dive club every Tuesday night after work. Went to the dive shop to fill my cylinder in preparation for a night dive and I'm listening to the dive masters recall how they had encountered a BIG 6 gill shark two nights in a row at the very same location I'm planning to be in a few hours!!!! The shark had been at 100' and came in slowly, circled them 3 times and slowly slid away into the blackness. He brought a smaller buddy the second night.
I meet the dive club, we buddy up and head our different directions and we're down about 100' when the back side of my right shoulder gets hit HARD! My buddy is slightly ahead and to the left so he is unaware that my heart is racing, adrenaline is pumping and my brain is humming the JAWS theme music...DA DOOT DA DOOT! I turn my light over my right shoulder to come face to face with the cutest little bug eyed spotted harbor seal pup you ever did see! He followed us along for the rest of the dive mucking up visibility and being a pest, but it was fun and not really scary.

It's hard to beat someone who won't give up.


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HOLYDIVERMANN's Photo HOLYDIVERMANN Posts: 40
2/21/10 3:06 P

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Scariest Dive for me was my first night dive in Hawaii off of Maui. The dive as a whole was pretty cool, but the scary part was when I got really interested in this shrimp, and when I looked up...everyone was gone, and I was looking into black deep water...ahhhhhh...turned around and saw everyone's glow stick what seemed like 100's of yards away..LOL!

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
1/27/10 1:32 P

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Yep, that is scary! emoticon

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



JUSTWANDER's Photo JUSTWANDER Posts: 33
1/27/10 1:18 P

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I have a few scary ones, but the one that comes to mind happened last Memorial Day weekend, when I somehow took too many meds without thinking. I took a sudafed because i was finishing up with a cold, but then my friend gave me a seasickness pill because the waves were going to be rough. The first dive was canceled and we were going back to her house and I took some allergy medicine. About an hour later we went back out on the boat and so many things went wrong before I even got in the water. Once in, I felt like I was fighting for my life against the current, and there was a leak in my mouthpiece so water kept getting in my mouth. The scary part was that I was completely out of breath adn could hear my heart pounding loudly and wasn't thinking clearly because of all the drugs.

I skipped the second dive!

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
10/24/09 4:51 P

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Gee Tulip that guide needed to be shot! What is it with these guides.
I had an experience with a dumbazz guide on a dive b4 I was cetified. Because of some serious waves, he pulled me down & I was not able to equalize and my ear was sore so I signaled to my boyfriend to call the dive but the DM forced me to stay down. I mean my bf was already an advanced diver then but the DM wanted to keep the group together. My ear got so bad in just seconds that I glared into the dm's eyes and signaled that we were going up, end of story.
So because of this nitwit I was not able to dive for the rest of our 2 wk vacation. My boyfriend got so mad at him and told him he had no business pulling me down like that and that it was his responsibility as my buddy to make sure I got down ok.


“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



TULIPLOVE's Photo TULIPLOVE Posts: 82
10/19/09 3:47 P

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Okay, my scariest dive moment happened when I was relatively new to diving. I had done about 10 dives in cold water and was supposed to do my first dive in relatively warm water in Greece. My husband was already an advanced/rescue diver and we had traveled here for our honeymoon. Well, knowing the dangers/irritations of rental equipment we packed our own regs and BCDs for the trip. Unfortunately, the Greek airport lost that bag (we found it sitting around the airport on the last day!!!) and we had to rent. On our first dive down, we got to about 30' and I noticed after a few breaths that I seemed to be getting alot of air (cheeks out like a puffer fish). Well, I did a reg exchange to my spare reg and my primary immediately started to free flow. I fixed it under water and our greek guide had us continue with me on my spare reg. Well 2 minutes later, the SAME thing happened with my spare! Now back on the primary reg, I fixed the spare. At that point, I signalled to my husband, "Shouldn't we call the dive?" The guide was upset and ordered me to stay below. He then checks my reg and (because it took ~5 breaths for it to work itself loose) found it was fine. Needless to say I had the WORST dive in my life. In one 25 min dive, I did about 15 regulator exchanges with my regulator sounding like a mac truck under water. The noise frightened off all the fish and the stupid guide was treating me as if his faulty equipment was MY fault!

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
10/14/09 6:47 P

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Wow Laura, that could of ended badly and I hope you told the guy on the boat to GTH!! Happy it ended well and goes to show how important it is to have your buddy close by at all times.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



MIELIKI's Photo MIELIKI SparkPoints: (0)
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9/17/09 10:04 P

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Two years ago, we took a tour to dive the Blue Hole. We did a wall dive before we got there. As we were ascending, I noticed some issue with filling my BC. When I got to the surface, I couldn't stay afloat. A hose had come loose and my BC was absolutely full of water. The guy on the boat was yelling at me to take off my flippers and hand them up, but I knew I would sink to the bottom. My partner dragged me over to the boat, with the guy still yelling at us, and we managed to get aboard. We got the hose reattached and ended up having a great dive at the blue hole, but I must say that I was a little nervous about it happening again. We had just had our equipment in for a check up so I hadn't been expecting any issues. Goes to show that you just never know. emoticon Laura

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
4/30/09 1:13 P

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Hey Chris thanks for the refresher on the BWRAF! Luckily I did not go to the bottom like the time I forgot to inflate my BC.OUCH!!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
4/29/09 4:08 P

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Lourie, I think you handled that situation very well. We all make diving mistakes at point or another - it's how well that we adjust to the problems created, that really matters.

Here's my story about not inflating my BC...

My wife and I decided to use a rubber raft to get out to an area at a MA ocean dive site where there was an underwater pile of rocks, that had lots of interesting sea life around it. The idea was that the raft would save us a long surface swim from shore, to get out to where we wanted to dive.

The raft was large enough to hold three people, but with two divers and all our gear, it seemed very crowded - even more so when we tried to gear up. And it proved very difficult to gear up on such a small and unstable surface inside the raft.

So in a combination of confusion and fatigue, after all that struggling with my gear, I finally back flipped out of the raft - without inflating my BC...

It wasn't a descent, it was more like a fall backwards off a seven story building! I remember hurtling down backwards through the water ridiculously fast, until suddenly I landed azz first on the muddy bottom, with my depth gauge reading 70 feet! Five seconds later, my wife landed azz first on the bottom - just a few feet away from me. She also back flipped out of the raft without inflating her BC. I guess we've always been well suited for each other... Lol

Fortunately for us, the whole thing was just really surprising, and we didn't have any real consequences because of it. We found our submerged rock pile, and the rest of the dive went well. Except, that is... when we returned back to the raft and tried to get back in. Which was very complicated and difficult...

That was our first and last attempt to go diving with that raft.

Of course, if we had both remembered our PADI training phrase "Begin With Review And Friend", we wouldn't have both fallen down into a 70 foot uncontrolled descent.

Sooo... here it is, just for a quick refresher:

Use the phrase "Begin With Review And Friend" to help you remember the checks:

Begin (B) - BCD - Check adjustment, operation, low pressure inflator connection, and that tank is firm in the band. If appropriate for the entry technique, make sure it´s partially inflated.

With (W) - Weights - Check for proper weighting, and that the quick release system is clear for ditching. Weight belts should have a right hand release.

Review (R) - Releases - Make sure you´re familiar with your buddy´s releases and how they work. Check each other to make sure they´re secure.

And (A) - Air - Confirm that you both have ample air for the dive, that your valves are open, that regulators and alternate air sources work, and that you know where to find and how to use each other´s alternate air sources.

Friend (F) - Final Okay - Give each other a final inspection looking for out of place equipment, dangling gauges, missing gear, etc.


"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
4/29/09 11:13 A

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Lourie, I have jumped in with out inflating my BC b4 but I always hang on to my mask and my reg.
But you worked it out doll! emoticon

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



LOLITA18's Photo LOLITA18 Posts: 415
4/28/09 6:44 P

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Latest and greatest......just in case you didn't catch my dive report...

On the last dive day .... just last Saturday ... I did my giant stride and my mask came off. Then....I realize I didn't put enough air in my BC. Double uhh ohh. I sucked in some ocean but managed to get my BC inflated fully .... swam to my mask, put it on, and cleared it. I then went on with my dive as my dive buddy was waiting for me at the bottom of the tag line. I couldn't let her down.

I will never...ever...go in without a fully inflated bc and I will always hold onto my mask upon entry for now on.

Stupid Lourie

"Find out who you are....do it on purpose!!!" Dolly Parton
SCUBAHONEY's Photo SCUBAHONEY Posts: 2,852
3/29/09 10:18 P

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Lolita, I have noticed that anytime I go upside down while diving that my reg does that and is harder to breathe, but, I have asked other divers about it and most say that happens to them, too, so I think it is a normal thing. Don't know why!

I am a person of infinite possibilities and dreams.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


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ATHENAMUM's Photo ATHENAMUM Posts: 349
3/29/09 8:57 P

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K, I know I have only done really lame dives, the closest I got to the ocean was a lake in the mountains unless you count the fish tanks I cleaned in West Edmonton Mall...

This is the scariest dive (or funniest ... depends on how you look at it)

One day, we were in the "Australian tank" cleaning the windows. There was a 4' alligator gar in there that had a problem with us being in the tank so was being snappy and hovering over us. My buddy (a hot fireman type dude) was warding the Gar off with his squeegee. lol I am scrubbing like mad and all of a sudden he turns to me and frantically gives me the "up" sign. The Gar has started snapping his 2 foot long mouth with all his spiky teeth at my buddy. I have never scrambled up plaster rocks so quickly! We hauled ourselves, gear and all out of there so fast. lol Then we told the other divers they had to finish that tank as we had to go rescue the sub! lol As we were lounging in the hot tub, they come by and ask us what we did to tick that Gar off? ROFL Ahhh good times!

Leanne
Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.

Walter Elliot



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LOLITA18's Photo LOLITA18 Posts: 415
2/19/09 7:39 P

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This isn't the scariest thing that's happened to me but it did give me a start.

I was hanging out in the pool 2 saturdays ago. Me and my best friend were working on buoyancy with her new BC. I turned upside down (on purpose) and my regulator hiccupped. I got half a mouth full of water. I purged it out.....but it concerns me.

Has this happened to anyone else?

emoticon

"Find out who you are....do it on purpose!!!" Dolly Parton
SLGREER's Photo SLGREER Posts: 1,537
2/12/09 12:35 P

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Made a mistake on an entry and ended up with the shark feeder (which was to cool! He just said come along with me!) But big Mama the bull shark came right up to my face - looked me in the eye and made me so nervous I shut off the camera instead of turning it on! Seemed like she was only an inch away! (LOL gotta love magnification!). And I got a huge bruise on my shoulder from a nurse shark tail hitting me while it was rummaging in the garbage can - how cool was that!

"If you find yourself in a hole STOP DIGGING"

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
Dr. Seuss

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BUTIAMLETIRED Posts: 279
2/10/09 3:25 P

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Woah...Timber Wolf, I'd be PSYCHED to see sharks that close - in all my diving I've only ever seen one Nurse, way far away =(

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ALADYFISH Posts: 15
2/4/09 9:29 P

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Yes, it has to do with your post. I worked on two different dive boats out of Freeport, TX for 14 years as a volunteer cook. Loved the job, I love to cook and dive and it worked out perfectly. I so lost of new divers doing lots of stupid stuff. The boats had a set rule no one dives below 100 ft. if you do than you would sit out the next dive. I remember once we had a guy that so a pretty fish and went to 130 and when he came up his computer was checked and he was made to sit out the next dive. Rules are rules for a good reason, they are their to protect divers because so many of them feel that they know more than the dive masters.

Even instructors make mistakes, we had an instructor from Cayman come on the boat. Her husband was pulling up anchors and need her help. She just came back from a dive, turned around and went back down to 100 feet to help him. That afternoon the helicopter came out to the boat to lift her off and take her to the chamber.

I have been diving for 32 years and love every minute of. I've tried to be safe and not do stupid things. I love this sport and the people involved. I have swam with several Manta's and two whale sharks, one 16 foot long and my favorite was 25 foot long. He stayed around our boat for 2 and half hours for close in counters with our divers. Robert Hall made a copy of Gary Rinn's tape of me and several other divers swimming on the whale shark it was shown on several TV programs. Just AWESOME!

Anyway, thanks again for your kindness.
JaVan

Thank you again.

Edited by: ALADYFISH at: 2/10/2009 (17:14)
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BIGDIVER's Photo BIGDIVER Posts: 429
2/4/09 7:33 P

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JaVan, if that referred to my post, I would have no problem with that at all. I think it is a good example of why training should be serious and repetitive, because it is all that will save you when faced with an emergency situation. "Just enough" training is just enough to make you dangerous.

Rob

"Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs one step at a time" - Mark Twain


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ALADYFISH Posts: 15
2/4/09 6:36 P

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Hi!

I was just reading your scary story. You gave some really great advice on how to control the fear of losing you mask in saltwater. Thank you!
I am editor for Bay Area Divers Club in Clear Lake City, TX. I would like to know if I have your permission of copying your email. I would like to put this into my newsletter. We have over 300 members and a lot of them are new, actually about 1/2 of them.

if you would like to visit our website go to:www.BAYAREADIVERS.ORG

Thank you in advance if you agree. I will not print if you do not want. I am too honest.
JaVan

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BIGDIVER's Photo BIGDIVER Posts: 429
2/4/09 12:52 A

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Wow - there are some interesting stories on here.

My scariest dive incident was shortly after joining the Diving Unit, after graduating off the year-long Clearance Diving Officer Course. I was new to the Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Diving Team, and as a junior officer I was eager to show I was up to the task in front of my divers. We had a task to go out and do maintenance on some fixed sonar array transducers on the bottom, which involved attaching a lifting strop to some and hoisting them onboard our vessel with a crane. We were using the CCDA / SIVA semi-closed nitrox rebreather, and because of the depth (170 ft) we were using what we called Mix 3, or half gas (33.5% oxygen, 66.6% nitrogen). That mix was only supposed to be used for easy workload dives, because of the reduced ability of the rebreather to absorb the CO2 produced at that flow rate (13 liters/minute). We don't use that mix at all anymore, and for anything beyond 140ft for MCM, we use the CUMA/SIVA+ Heliox closed-circuit rebreather).

So we calculated when slack water would be, and I started my dive to take the shackle down and hook it on. Well, it turned out we were way off on the slack water, and instead of just descending down the shot line, I found myself trying to tug the heavy shackle down the line at about a 30 deg angle, against a strong current. I was working really hard, and managed to make it to about 130 ft, when all of a sudden I couldn't breathe at all, and an overwhelming sense of panic set in. My overriding desire was to pull the claustrophobic mask and hoses off and bolt to the surface, and it literally took all of the disciplined emergency drill training that they hammered into us on course to force myself to hit the bypass, monitor my set, and then switch to my bailout bottle and come up at a controlled rate. I arrived at the surface severely out of breath, and somewhat disoriented, but alive.

What had happened was that I had overworked the set's ability to clear the CO2, and got a severe CO2 "hit". In all probability I was still getting lots of oxygen, but too much CO2 signals the "breathe" impulse in your brain, essentially convincing you that you aren't getting any air. I am sure that my desire (as a new officer) not to fail in front of my team induced me to push past where I should have sensibly realized something was wrong. What was scary was how strong the sensation was, and how fast it induced panic. I am positive that without the months of repetitive drills on the Navy course, I probably would have panicked, and done something like rocketing to the surface, which would have almost certainly given me a fatal gas embolism.

The value of lengthy training is always what makes me wary of those "learn to dive in a day" courses you see at resorts (usually in countries that don't have strong liability laws).

Edited by: BIGDIVER at: 2/4/2009 (19:37)
"Habit is habit, and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed down-stairs one step at a time" - Mark Twain


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45AQUA-MAN's Photo 45AQUA-MAN SparkPoints: (79,269)
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1/27/09 12:18 A

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DIVEBUNNY, I forgot the name of the shop, it was the one by the Sports Arena but I think they've changed owners since then. The water was really cold especial at 110 feet. I did the dive when I was swimming through the winter without a wetsuit at La Jolla Cove so I was kind of used to it.

Dennis

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I buffet my body and make it my slave!

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DIVEBUNNY's Photo DIVEBUNNY Posts: 354
1/26/09 12:50 P

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45Aqua-Man -- I did my Advanced on the Yukon too. Cold water, 10 foot viz...I almost bailed at 60 feet because I was so scared! It's a beautiful wreck though.

What shop did you go through in SD?

Pain is weakness leaving the body. Nothing in this world is strong enough to have power of me -- not nicotine, not food, not alcohol. Only I am in control of me.
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1/25/09 6:24 P

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I was doing a boat dive on the Yukon off San Diego, I was certifying for my advanced. We had just descended to the ship at 60 feet when my 30 lbs weights came off, which shot me up like a rocket. Being 30 lbs lighter and I didn't want to go there, I headed down kicking with everything I had. I managed to make it back to the weight belt and put it on; which was no easy task but, I made it. It never ocoured to me to empty my BCD. I'm glad I was in shape and had a good set of fins or I wouldn't have made it.

Chris you reminded me of this when you almost lost your tank and BCD, I guess we learn by our mistakes.

Dennis


Nothing tastes or feels as good as being fit and slim feel!

I buffet my body and make it my slave!

When I eat healthy I enjoy my food all day!


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
1/25/09 3:17 P

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WOW Alan, I know that must have been scary at the time but I call it beginners luck sighting sharks on your first dive. But then I would not want to be that close to them either!

These stories are getting scarier!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



TIMBER_WOLF85's Photo TIMBER_WOLF85 Posts: 49
1/25/09 10:33 A

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My first ocean dive was off a liveaboard in a location titled 'Shark Reef'. As i decended i was looking for the sandy bottom divers would meet. i couldn't see it so i looke at the other divers. one of them pointed behind me and when i turned there was a 4 1/2 foot male Caribbean Reef Shark about 40 yards from me. Again this is the FIRST time i've dived since being certified, the FIRST time i've been in the ocean, and the FIRST thing i see underwater is a shark. Needless to say my heart rate was a little high. about 15 minutes later my buddy and I went to another spot and a 5 foot Female Caribbean Reef Shark swam up to us. i was overweighted and could stay on my knees without moving my arms to get me back upright. When it got withing 10 FEET, i just stood up. the whole time in my mind i thougth "don't you do it!" Neither shark showed no signs of aggression which is probably one of the few reasons i didn't spit out my regulator.

This dive will be etched into my memory forever. and it's still one of my favorite dives.

If you aren't going all the way, why go at all?
Joe Namath

You are never a loser until you quit trying.
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You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one.
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Energy and persistence conquer all things.
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CGOLDSBY's Photo CGOLDSBY Posts: 698
1/24/09 4:44 P

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Wow. There is some really frightening stories posted here. Fortunately, mine pales in comparison. But it shook me at the time.

My 12 year old son and I were on a night dive in fresh water. In Oklahoma you only get about 10' of viz during the day. The silt is ridiculous. Anyway we got separated, but he followed my pre-dive instructions and all worked out. But those few minutes before we met up again were agonizing.

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1/22/09 11:56 A

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It's been a while since I've been back to this thread and many interesting stories have surfaced since then.

I guess a number of us have thrown up through our regulators. While I've never had the pleasure, and hope I never do, it's still good to know that it really is true that a reg will still work properly in that situation.

Mandy, I can only imagine how frightening it would be to have an asthma attack 80 feet down. I guess it's really true that as long as a diver can avoid panic, he or she can get out of almost any bad situation. And you're right, a lot of diving is just near misses. I know, because I've had a few of them. I've never been out of air, but one of my buddies was on one dive. We worked it out, which is good, because eventually we got married. His name is Fred and I love him very much. J/K! :o) HER name is Jean, and I love her very much! Lol

The young woman from Maine, I think you go by the name "Butiamletired", mentioned getting entangled in line. I had a situation like that while diving off the north shore of Massachusetts. It would have never been a problem, if I hadn't broken one of the most important rules of diving safety, which is, Never Dive Alone. It's the only time I ever did that, and it was the last time.

My buddy cancelled out on me at the last minute, on a perfect summer day, and feeling frustrated I just said "Oh ta hell with this!" and went alone. The dive site was one I had dived multiple times and wasn't difficult. I figured nothing was gonna go wrong, so why miss out?

But a problem with diving north shore Mass, as well as the coast of Maine, is that there are lobster traps everywhere. This can create a maze of trap lines that can cause entanglement problems for divers.

Midway through my dive that day, while exploring a rock wall at 60 feet down and admiring the large white and orange sea anemones there, I managed to get all tangled up in a lobster trap line. Now if I had a buddy with me, this problem would have been solved quickly. But I was alone...

I still wasn't that concerned at first, because I had lots of air left and with some thought and effort, I figured I could get myself free. But soon I realized that the line had wrapped around my tank valve, back where it was impossible for me to reach. Suddenly, my situation seemed more threatening.

But I still had plenty of air and some time left to think my way out of my problem. No need to panic. While concentrating on keeping my breathing slow and deep, I had an idea. I could get out of my BC, and while holding onto it, and making sure my regulator stayed in my mouth, I could turn my tank towards me and untangle the line from my tank valve. Yeah, this could work!

But after getting out of my BC, and freeing my tank valve from the trap line, I realized I missed one small detail... I forgot to dump some of the air out of my BC and now my tank and BC were trying to make a break for the surface without me!

My first reaction was to grab my regulator hose and pull down hard so the reg didn't get yanked out of my mouth, and also to bring the BC back to where I could grab the BC hose with my other hand and hit the dump button. This all happened very fast! But I got the air out fast enough, that things were back under control again. Even though now I was kinda freaked out and starting to hyperventilate.

Hugging the BC tight to my chest, like a lover I had almost lost, I got my breathing back under control. Before I attempted to put it back on, I stopped and tried to think of any other issues I might not be aware of, before I made another move. I couldn't think of any, so I very carefully turned the BC around and got my arms back into the shoulder straps, wrapped the cumberbun around me, and resnapped the connects.

And then I headed straight back for shore. I'd had enough of diving for that day...

I guess that if I lost my tank and BC, I would have ditched my weight belt and wearing full 7 mil neoprene, gone for the uncontrolled ascent from 60 feet down. Not a good choice, but it would have been my only option.

But the real point here is, Don't Dive Alone! Because not everybody is fortunate enough to be able to come back and tell you what can go wrong...

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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DIVEBUNNY's Photo DIVEBUNNY Posts: 354
1/20/09 3:11 P

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I'm an instructor so I get into my share of situations. A lot of diving is just near misses!

Two of my personal scariest:

On my 9th or 10th dive, I was diving off of Catalina with my dive buddy and our instructor. We descended in cold water (50 F), blue water descent to about 80 feet. There was a slight current and the shock of the cold water had taken my breath away. I was trying to catch up to my buddies when my relatively dormant asthma kicked in and I started having an asthma attack. I got my buddy's attention, wrote "I'm having an asthma attack" on my slate and signaled him to buddy up with our instructor since the boat was right above us. I tried to make as normal as an ascent as possible, taking little shallow breaths to keep my lungs open. I popped the last 20 feet, which gave my DM a start but since I had only been down for less than five minutes, they didn't freak too bad. They got me my inhaler and benched me for the rest of the trip.

(This is actually one of the reasons I turned pro -- my instructor was very impressed on how calm I stayed since I was a newbie and he recommended that I start advancing.)

The second one is more embarassing than anything...

It was my second week on the job here in the Bahamas. I was the new videographer (which means I solo dive my own profile) and I was at 100 feet when I noticed one of the divers going below 100, which deviated from our plan. I swam over to her and showed her my depth gauge and she looked at it and pointed at my SPG. I was below 500psi!! I had thought my reg was breathing hard but I didn't even think about it that much. I had her check my tank to make sure it was on all the way, which one of the other instructors noticed. He signaled me to go up, so I started making my way back to the anchor line, where a hang tang was waiting at 20 feet. Luckily he sent one of our interns after me, since I ran out of air at 80 feet. I was so MAD at myself! I didn't even signal OOA to the intern, I just held my hand out for his octo while I sat there and blew angry bubbles (the look on his face was hilarious BTW. He knew I was low and he still had to feel around furiously for his octo. Ever want to test someone under pressure, just signal OOA!) He buddy breathed me to the surface and I had to deal with ribbing for quite a while. I have never forgotten to check my pressure before jumping in again though!

Pain is weakness leaving the body. Nothing in this world is strong enough to have power of me -- not nicotine, not food, not alcohol. Only I am in control of me.
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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
1/18/09 3:04 P

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Suzanne that does sound rough! Can't believe at the number of times you threw up!

Rachel I would say being 80" deep with 200psi is scary enough.



Edited by: MICHELAR at: 1/18/2009 (15:06)
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



SUZANNERN's Photo SUZANNERN Posts: 661
1/17/09 7:35 A

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Hmm.. wow these are some stories!! Being that I only got certified last winter... I am not a seasoned diver... but I suppose I can tell my "scariest" story.. even though it doesn't compete with the ones here! I spoke about it briefly in another forum here when I was asking advice for sea sickness...

My husband and I went to Miami last winter to get certified. On our first open water dive, the waters were extra rough and I immediately became nauseated on the ride over to the dive spot. I vomited once before the dive... I made it through the dive...but the waters knocked both of our tanks loose (I felt so sick that didn't even make me nervous) and our dive instructor tightened them for us... then I vomited twice right before our ascent. Once again... I stayed calm and purged everything out (the fish feasted on it... gross but still entertaining) and then after popping up to the surface it was quite a struggle to get back onto the boat. Then I threw up twice more... and felt like hell.

They ended up cancelling the second dive that day because the waters were too rough. So.. I suppose it was a good learning experience and the only thing I hope for in the future is to get more control over my sea sickness!!

Edited by: SUZANNERN at: 1/17/2009 (07:37)




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BUTIAMLETIRED Posts: 279
1/16/09 10:35 P

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My experiences aren't nearly as scary as most of these. I mean, walkoffwin - your first story was epic.

I've only had 2 unnerving underwater experiences, and I was in the pool for one of them. I was at 10 feet at the bottom of the deep end, I tapped my regulator inflation valve to adjust, it stuck, inflated uncontrollably, and I shot to the top. There I was on the surface on my back, floating as the overfill valve popped and popped and popped. I was just glad that didn't happen 60 feet down in the open water somewhere...

My other slightly scary experience was getting tangled in a line during my navigation advanced dive. And it was COLD. I was straining so hard to untangle myself, but it's impossible to do much with 12 mm of neoprene on and the two foot visibility of the northern atlantic coast. I was about to cut the rope to shreds with my knife (which would have been bad since it was a prop for the nav dive belonging to my divemaster) when I finally got free.

Other than that, the closest I've ever been to being out of air would be 200 psi 80 feet down...

Edited by: BUTIAMLETIRED at: 1/17/2009 (07:38)
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BIKINYBOD's Photo BIKINYBOD Posts: 429
12/21/08 6:31 P

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I was not there. This was his 1st dive. The non-enlish speaking guide gave him empty tanks and he did not have enuff experience to know. gUIDE is the one who tried to keep him from surfacing. he is just someone who does alot of crazy stuff, makes for alot of crazy stories. This wasnt really his fault xcept for gettin quickie-certified instead of knowin how to check his oxygen level, backup tank, correct signals, all that good stuff we need to know in order to dive safely.

Edited by: BIKINYBOD at: 12/21/2008 (18:33)
FOCUS on daily goals, not what's ahead of me...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2steps fwd 2B ok w/ occasional 1step back...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Doing what you've always done will get U what you've always gotten...DO BETTER/GET BETTER RESULTS...


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SCUBAHONEY's Photo SCUBAHONEY Posts: 2,852
12/21/08 3:22 P

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Sounds pretty dangerous to me...I certainly wouldn't dive with this person. You have to be able to count on your dive buddy, not have to worry about saving their butt!!!

Edited by: SCUBAHONEY at: 12/21/2008 (15:23)
I am a person of infinite possibilities and dreams.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
12/21/08 3:05 P

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Should this friend be diving at all doll? That is scary!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



BIKINYBOD's Photo BIKINYBOD Posts: 429
12/19/08 10:06 P

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My friend got quickie-certified in Acapulco. his 1st dive 50+ft. Instructors didnt speak english. he thought he had 2suck a bit 2hard 2get air but was sure tanks must Bfull,rite? he blew OUT last breath & had no oxygen 2breathe IN. Tried 2surface, guide held him down by his legs so he wouldnt blow out eardrums. They were tryin to communicate underwater by hand signs. he broke away,surfaced, blew out eardrum & suffered painful plane trip home! Same friend who tied speargun rope around wrist!...
emoticon

FOCUS on daily goals, not what's ahead of me...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2steps fwd 2B ok w/ occasional 1step back...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Doing what you've always done will get U what you've always gotten...DO BETTER/GET BETTER RESULTS...


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
12/16/08 10:53 A

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Wow Bikiny those are some stories! Thanks for sharing!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



BIKINYBOD's Photo BIKINYBOD Posts: 429
12/14/08 12:48 A

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Just made me think about our old Aussie friend "The Crocodile Hunter" & how he died from a ray hit. R.I.P. AMIGO.

FOCUS on daily goals, not what's ahead of me...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2steps fwd 2B ok w/ occasional 1step back...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Doing what you've always done will get U what you've always gotten...DO BETTER/GET BETTER RESULTS...


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BIKINYBOD's Photo BIKINYBOD Posts: 429
12/14/08 12:43 A

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Did ya'll see movie "Open Water"? About couple who accidentally got left behind on snorkel excursion? When I saw movie I thought loose railing on boat seemed familiar, I used DVD player 2 ZOOM in on T-shirt Bahamian guide wore & saw it said "Stuart's Cove"; exact same guide service & exact same boat I went out on! How awesome & what a small world esp'y 4us Parrotheads. We chummed the sharks on that boat & saw sharks acting like pitbulls & we were in the h20 takin' pics. Crazy hunh? What a blast I'll never 4get. That's how we do it!

FOCUS on daily goals, not what's ahead of me...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2steps fwd 2B ok w/ occasional 1step back...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Doing what you've always done will get U what you've always gotten...DO BETTER/GET BETTER RESULTS...


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BIKINYBOD's Photo BIKINYBOD Posts: 429
12/14/08 12:24 A

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I think it was Bahamas Shark-Ray Aley, guide said rays only hit U if U STEP ON 'EM, Not 2worry! He had big ugly oozing wound on his leg, someone asked him what happ'd? He said "Ray". we still had fun...no incidents.

FOCUS on daily goals, not what's ahead of me...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2steps fwd 2B ok w/ occasional 1step back...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Doing what you've always done will get U what you've always gotten...DO BETTER/GET BETTER RESULTS...


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BIKINYBOD's Photo BIKINYBOD Posts: 429
12/14/08 12:10 A

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SPEAR FISHIN RODEO!! I didn't enter h2o on this but, but these guys were on our boat. Fishin@rig off TX coast,2 guys went in 2spear fish...1 wraps gun-rope around wrist so not 2lose new gun...speared BIG barracuda which takes him way down&about rig...he really wanted 2bring barracuda in, didnt want 2lose his NEW gun! He event'y got rope loose from wrist&kept gun but lost fish. His fishing partner witnessed it. They were natural spear fishin, no tanks.

Edited by: BIKINYBOD at: 12/14/2008 (00:52)
FOCUS on daily goals, not what's ahead of me...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
2steps fwd 2B ok w/ occasional 1step back...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Doing what you've always done will get U what you've always gotten...DO BETTER/GET BETTER RESULTS...


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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
12/8/08 8:27 P

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Yeah, that's about as low as it gets, isn't it? Geese!

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
12/8/08 6:16 P

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I heard about that story Frank ad also tuned in to it! I hope that guy rots in hell!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



DIVER200's Photo DIVER200 Posts: 480
12/7/08 12:08 P

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Hi, guys:

Just remember, practice makes perfect. Take your mask to the pool, it will be a safe environment!!

Hey, are any of you all following the story about the guy they are indicting for killing his wife on their honey moon by turning her air off? Wow, it will be interesting to see how that goes. If any of you remember Open Water, the movie (which sucked), it was based loosely on a real incident when two divers were left stranded on the Barrier Reef. The boat captain was charged with but found not guilty of manslaughter charges. It will make it interesting because this current case also took place in the Barrier reef.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water....

hugs and kisses,
Frank


Dive Often, Dive Safe
A good diver is ALWAYS learning

Keep passing open windows.

"Slipnoose hangin' in my darkest dreams." (EJ and BT)

There are two types of pain: The pain of discipline and the pain of regret, and the latter of these two is the hardest to overcome. (Adapted from unknown author).

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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
11/26/08 1:18 P

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Oh Kissie, not sure how I would have handled that. Sounds scary and I still have not practiced Frank's suggestion about filling it in the shower. I just feel that if it comes off unexpected I would automatically snort up water and choke. If I am in water and take it off myself I think I will be ok cause I am prepared. I did do it in open water after all.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



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11/26/08 1:43 A

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I hadn't read this thread in a while. Funny, cus I started it.

Lolita...I started this thread with my choking incident on a shark dive at 50 feet. If you're interested, go back to the 1st page of this thread to read my story.

Mich...I've lost my mask on more than one occasion and because of my physical "limitations" can't put it back on myself. Once the strap came unthreaded at 90 feet so I swam over to my buddy and requested assistance. Three people, including the dive master tried to fix it while I waited maskless at 90 feet. Finally the divemaster gave me his mask and I ascended, but it didn't fit right and flooded immediately. I did my safety stop with a mask full of water. Same thing happened my 1st week of diving but that time I was only at around 40 feet and I just handed my buddy the mask, he re-threaded it and we continued diving.

If we can be courageous one more time than we are fearful, trusting one more time than we are anxious, cooperative one more time than we are competitive, forgiving one more time than we are vindictive, loving one more time than we are hateful, we will have moved closer to the next breakthrough in our evolution.



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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
11/13/08 12:33 P

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Well Chris that is some story. If you think she would have broken it off with you bc of that then you were better off without her. There is "no nonsense" and then there is "common sense". You were lucky you took a chance and nothing happened. The things we do for love!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
11/11/08 12:18 P

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OK, we've talked about the scary stuff, well here's one of my dumbest moments diving. It was back before I met my wife, and I was on a diving first date with a young woman I really liked. We were shore diving in Gloucester, MA, at a place called Norman's Woe. No idea why it's called that, other than guessing that a guy named Norman must've had a bad experience there.

The thing about this site, is that it has a fairly long walk of several hundred yards through a wooded area to get down to the ocean. Parking is also restricted, so you have to unload your gear and then park the car further down the road and then walk back to the path that leads to the site.

So while I parked the car, my buddy moved most of her gear down to the water, except for her second tank. Just as I got back to the path, she was picking up her second tank and heading back to the water. This is when things went wrong...

I tried to take all my gear in one trip, so we could dive that much sooner. And I was also probably trying to show off a little bit, for my diving date. Wearing 30 lbs of lead and carrying both tanks with my arms down at my sides seemed difficult, so I stopped and tried to hoist one of my tanks up on my right shoulder.

As I lifted the the tank upwards, instead of it going on my shoulder, I managed to launch the tank valve right into the side of my head, making a direct hit in my right ear. The pain was immediate and excruciating. I wanted to cry out and fill the air with curses! But hey, I was on a first date, and my male ego was on the line here!

My buddy was several paces ahead of me and hadn't noticed anything, so with all my will, I forced myself to suffer in silence, even though I was in blinding pain. The pain of embarrassment seemed worse...

At this point, I did have the sense to leave my second tank behind. But now I was dizzy and slightly nauseous, and wondering if I was in any condition to dive. The prospect of having to tell my new girlfriend that we couldn't go diving, because I had managed to hit myself in the head with my own tank, made me feel much worse.

But by the time we got all our gear down to the water, the dizziness and nausea was gone. My head and my ear still hurt like hell, but I was thinking clearly, so we went diving. Both dives went without a hitch and we had a good time. Later, I noticed that I had a blood blister behind my ear, about the size of a large marble.

She and I ended up having a nice summer romance. We eventually split because she was working for IBM and she got transferred down to North Carolina. Sometimes I wonder if we would have gotten past that first date, if we had to abort diving because of my stupid accident. She was a real no nonsense kind of person, so I doubt it...

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
11/7/08 6:55 P

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Thanks for the suggestions Frank! I like the shower idea and will try it this weekend. I tried dunking my head in shallow salt water & the pool so many times could never let myself stay in long enough. But I know I have to force myself to do it. It is honestly my biggest fear. And also the snorting water up my nose. If the mask fly off my face expected I think my natural reflex would be to breath in water right away. That's what petrifies me.
It's great having you on the team!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



DIVER200's Photo DIVER200 Posts: 480
11/7/08 2:30 P

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I'm proud to say that I have taught hydrophobic divers to dive, and one of them is now a dive master herself. One of the students was learning to dive because of his fiance's addiction to the sport. I had to teach him to swim before he learned to dive, and he now has more than 100 dives, and swims regularly. I love to teach people that think they can't do it!! Once they realize that they can, they get the greatest smiles and grins!!! Makes it worth it.

BTW: The mask in the shower drill ALSO serves to teach you not to breath through your nose....thus decreasing mask fog as well. Not to mention snorting water, which is, I suppose, another way to get water into your lungs that you have to choke out.

Frank

Any Buddy has the UNQUESTIONED Right to End the Dive at ANY TIME FOR ANY REASON

Edited by: DIVER200 at: 11/7/2008 (14:36)
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There are two types of pain: The pain of discipline and the pain of regret, and the latter of these two is the hardest to overcome. (Adapted from unknown author).

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11/7/08 1:32 P

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That is such good information about the mask clearing. I'm gonna try that with my Hubby. He's still saying "no way" to diving because of the mask!!! If that doesn't work, I'm sending him to you for lessons. Sounds like you have much more patience than me. I'm thinking....."Honey, quit being a baby and clear your mask already so we can go diving together".

"Find out who you are....do it on purpose!!!" Dolly Parton
DIVER200's Photo DIVER200 Posts: 480
11/7/08 11:42 A

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Hey, Walk,

Thanks for the great words!! You are absolutely right. Once you become a dive leader, you never dive for yourself again. Your head goes on a swivel, and you are looking out for all the divers you are with, and sometimes miss something cool because of it. But because I love this sport so much, I want people to enjoy it. I put safety first and watch to make sure that divers with me are safe, confident and comfortable divers.

I will say one thing. Once you become a dive leader, generally, you are helping or teaching classes with a dive shop. That relationship is absolutely crucial in my mind. So called "independent" instructors lose out on this issue. When you dive regularly with a shop, you get to know the divers you are with, and learn those that need a little extra attention, and those that don't. This is really true for divers of all levels. I firmly believe that diving regularly with the same dive shop is a vital relationship to improve safety. You as a diver know that the dive leaders are going to be capable of helping because you have seen them in action plenty of times. And dive leaders know how on alert or relaxed they can be because they know the level of diver they are with. Everybody learns from each other.

What I am getting at is that diving in resort locations is, in my humble opinion, MUCH safer if you go with a group from your local dive trip. Not only do you have little to worry about from the travel arrangements perspective, but you also are diving with folks you have either been diving with in the lakes or diving with on ocean trips. So, my advice to you, if you are interested in being a dive master, is to establish a relationship with a dive shop and dive with the groups as much as you can. Then you can start to relax when you are diving with other divers.

Also, with a dive shop, dive leaders often take dives together. Every Memorial Day, a group of about five of my dive leader friends go down to Cozumel and do some diving, including some extreme diving. It is great!! Now, having said that, we all laugh about how we still are watching the other divers, even those with thousands of dives!!!

Anywho, again, thanks so much for the kind thoughts. I love safe diving and am more than willing to help people with issues when they need it. Just let me know. You can also pm me if you have questions you don't want everyone to know about. Or email me at fminogue@satx.rr.com.

Thanks again,
Frank
Ascend Slowly, and Breath constantly!!

Dive Often, Dive Safe
A good diver is ALWAYS learning

Keep passing open windows.

"Slipnoose hangin' in my darkest dreams." (EJ and BT)

There are two types of pain: The pain of discipline and the pain of regret, and the latter of these two is the hardest to overcome. (Adapted from unknown author).

If you have your hand in the mouth of a hungry bear, pet it. profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseac
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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
11/6/08 7:38 P

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Hiya Frank! It's good to have another guy on board, who posts regularly.

I was very interested to read your story about being a dive master and having to deal with a diver who sank down to a dangerously deep depth. Let me just say right now, that I have a great respect for DM's and guides who are willing to take responsibility for the individual lives in groups of divers... when you have no idea of what to expect from these divers.

I have a great deal of respect for your experience as a dive master, because there was a point where I could've become a dive master myself. I had all the skills and ability as a diver, to take it to that next level. It wasn't the training that daunted me... I could have passed that easily.

No, it was the realization that once I became a DM, that I'd be responsible for protecting the lives of other divers, whom I knew nothing about. That was the hardest thing for me to get over... That on a regular basis, I'd be dealing with divers, who might be capable of anything. Divers who might rush to their deaths, before I ever had a chance to help them.

It's hard enough to get to know your own dive buddy, on just an ordinary dive, and to be responsible for his/her own safety, when you've just met them, and know nothing about them. It must be so much harder to lead groups where you have seven to ten divers that you're diving with for the first time, and you have no idea what to expect from each and every one.

Personally, on more than one occasion, I've been in experiences where just one diver gave me everything I could handle, to save him/her. I guess I can't deal with that kind of responsibility, if it's spread over several divers at the same time. In my experience, I've found beginner divers to need all my attention one on one, and I can't deal with trying to spread myself thin by trying to monitor several other divers, when lives are genuinely at stake.

Of course I know, that DMs like you, make resort diving possible. My hat is off to you! You have a tremendous responsibility, and because you can do what you do, it's possible that the rest of us can come down and have the dive vacations of our lives, because you have the knowledge, experience and ability to make it all possible!

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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SCUBAHONEY's Photo SCUBAHONEY Posts: 2,852
11/6/08 7:45 A

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Frank, I'm glad we have you on our team! Yay, our own private instructor!!!! emoticon emoticon

I am a person of infinite possibilities and dreams.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


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DIVER200's Photo DIVER200 Posts: 480
11/6/08 12:46 A

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Michaela, ABSOLUTELY, this is the most common fear, and the one most easily over come. Before I started diving, I had the same fear of opening my eyes under water. It was heightened by the fact that i wore contacts at the time (THANK GOD FOR LASICK). But, i had to get over it, and then especially when i started teaching class because, as you can well imagine, I have to demonstrate the techniques thus exposing me to my fears. SO, here it goes. You have to promise to try the method and not laugh at me until you give it a whirl.

For one thing, the obvious is to start by opening your eyes in as controlled a setting as you can...in shallow water that you can stand up in. You'll soon find that it is not that big of a deal.

Another very effective method *restrain your laughter* the next time you take a shower, take your mask in with you. While you are in the shower, put the mask on. when you are ready, flood it by pulling back on the top of your mask. Once it is flooded....open your eyes, and you will be amazed how much this will work to build your confidence of being able to not only clear your mask without fear, but also to get you used to having your eyes open under water.

Okay, salt water stings, you say. True, but only for a few seconds. When you open your eyes in salt water, it takes a few seconds for the salinity of your eye to balance with the salinity of the water. So, in shallow water, flood your mask, and open your eyes. do this a few times.

All of these techniques serve one primary function: To teach your body, and your natural instincts, that you ARE capable of doing what you don't think you can do. It is really true that the human body is an amazing thing, and you can adjust to a great many things by the power of your will to do so. The next time you get afraid of any skill, whether it be clearing your mask, sucking in water, or whatever, just remember that you can train your body to accept this as normal, and that you have the ability to move on and fix it. You do. Just think about the guys that walk over a bed of nails, or who "swallow" fire, or any number of crazy stunts we do with our body.

Now, the teacher needs to heed his own words and remember that he can avoid unhealthy decisions, and get his weight back under control; Right?

Frank
Never Hold Your Breath

Dive Often, Dive Safe
A good diver is ALWAYS learning

Keep passing open windows.

"Slipnoose hangin' in my darkest dreams." (EJ and BT)

There are two types of pain: The pain of discipline and the pain of regret, and the latter of these two is the hardest to overcome. (Adapted from unknown author).

If you have your hand in the mouth of a hungry bear, pet it. profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseac
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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
11/5/08 1:27 P

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That is great info Frank!

My fear, which should not be a fear, but it is, is losing my mask and taking in water through my nose. Had a hard time with mask removal in my OW cert dive and it remained a fear ever since. Also I have a very hard time opening my eyes underwater. Any word's of advice for me Frank.



Edited by: MICHELAR at: 11/5/2008 (18:44)
“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



DIVER200's Photo DIVER200 Posts: 480
11/4/08 1:39 P

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Lolita: In answer to your question of what to do if you get to choking on water....I've never had it happen to me, but as an instructor, I can tell you how to deal with it. BUT before I do... the only way I can conceive of this happening is if you had taken your regulator out of your mouth during the dive and power cleared (using your clearing valve button) while the mouthpiece is in your mouth. The odds of that are slim, so in large part your fear is unfounded. Your worst enemy in this situation is your fear that it will happen and that you are unprepared. That can elevate your "panic" response if it every did happen. So you do need to put your fear to rest. Again, Lolita, it would be odd to occur. It would be very unusual. But, having said that, there is a way to deal with it:

The first step is the easiest to say and the absolute hardest to do. Stay Calm. It is hard because your natural instincts to get the heck out of there fast are strong. Your breathing is likely to increase in response to the panic response. Slow down your breathing as much as possible. Then, you need to cough normally, with your regulator in your mouth. As you cough, any water in your chest will be expelled in the same way as if you were manually clearing your regulator. Within reason try to stay at the same depth.

Just remember that the human body is designed with the instinctual response you need....just let it work.

No matter what ever happens when you are diving, try hard to not forget your training for a bad situation: STOP, THINK and then ACT. Stop what you are doing--get your breathing in control. Think about what to do and remain as calm as possible, then do what you need to do, act, to solve the problem.

As much as you can, practice in controlled settings. If you have a pool that would allow you, go try it in the pool. Maybe your dive shop can let you tag along the next time they go to the pool. It is unlikely what you are worried about would ever happen, but it is much easier to deal with it if you are in a controlled setting.

Easiest way to simulate the situation you are talking about: take your reg out of your mouth and put it back in without clearing it. Then, as soon as it is in your mouth clear it with the clearing valve. That will send water rushing in.... and the game's afoot.

I hope this helps at least a little. Remember, the chances are just so remote that you are probably worrying about something you need not to. But since you are worried, you do need to be prepared for that eventuality.

Frank
Dive Often, Dive Safe

Dive Often, Dive Safe
A good diver is ALWAYS learning

Keep passing open windows.

"Slipnoose hangin' in my darkest dreams." (EJ and BT)

There are two types of pain: The pain of discipline and the pain of regret, and the latter of these two is the hardest to overcome. (Adapted from unknown author).

If you have your hand in the mouth of a hungry bear, pet it. profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseac
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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
11/4/08 11:08 A

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These are unbelievable stories everyone!

Didn't realize till now all of you posting here!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



MARGOLD's Photo MARGOLD Posts: 151
11/4/08 10:30 A

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I refuse to watch Open Water :). I'm a big chicken its bad enough that I have the Jaws theme occasionally go through my head.

My scariest experience was during a safety stop when a 5 ft barracuda kept circling us. It would come to a couple feet of us then back off and come back in again. One of the dive masters had a video camera that he thought was attracting it so he went up and into the boat early. I really became concerned when the remaining dive master put himself between me and it. Give me sharks any day! It finally got disinterested and wandered away.

I'll share my husband's scariest moment since I was the cause of it ;). We were on a dive that had a lot of sharks at the beginning of it (that picture in my gallery where the shark is swimming by my husband.) We proceeded on our dive and I was taking pictures - so of course was the last person in the group. Well we looped back around where all the sharks were. We were now further out from the ocean. I always feel safer when I'm right on top of the coral when sharks are around. I figure (maybe stupidly) that they aren't going to ram their heads into the sharp coral to get at me. Anyhoo, I'm in the deeper ocean and can see the sharks are agitated off in the distance. I look down and there is a cavern below that I can see bunches of them swimming back and forth. I then look up and see everyone swimming rapidly away from me - including my husband. So before he can get too far away from me I want to have him slow down. So I kick up to him and grab his ankle. Weellll ... he thought it was something else clamping down on his ankle. I was wondering why he gave me such a surprised face. It wasn't until we were up in the boat that he told me he thought I was a shark. oops. Well darn it, he should be watching out for his partner. ;)

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LOLITA18's Photo LOLITA18 Posts: 415
11/3/08 10:25 P

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I freaked during one of my check off dives in Kings Bay Florida. We had horrible visability and we were demonstrating our descent on an anchor line. The visability was very bad. I had to keep my console at 10 inches to read it. Also...the water was full of manatees that were as big as a couch. I know they're docile...but I didn't want to bump in to one in that murky dark water. I made it to the bottom and then did a controlled ascent. I was so glad when it was over.

My biggest fear is getting strangled by water down the windpipe and having to work it out at depth. This has not happened to me and I fear that I will panick and bolt to the surface. Has anyone gotten choked on water at depth? If so, how did you handle it.

"Find out who you are....do it on purpose!!!" Dolly Parton
DIVER200's Photo DIVER200 Posts: 480
11/3/08 8:36 P

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My scariest didn't really happen TO me, as much as it was a diver I was with. I was in Cozumel (on Santa Rosa Wall) and I was with two new divers doing their final open water dives. There was a group of us that were going no deeper than 60 feet. One of them was a woman who had only 6 dives before the trip, all of them in Yap (poor her). She insisted on wearing 18 pounds of lead, on a skinny frame of maybe 105-110. We kept telling her she had too much weight. That's what I needed in Yap, she'd say (well of course, the salinity in Yap is probably twice that of Cozumel. And, on the same dive there were a few folks that were going over onto the wall, while the shallow group stayed on the top of the reef. This woman was in the shallow group. Well, we got to the part where the deeper group was going over the wall, and for some reason, she broke from her buddy and went toward the wall. The group had to go through a pass through to get to the wall. I saw her and signaled my store owner/boss. He told me to go with her, and he would take my two divers. Well, I went down and as we were waiting to go through the pass through, i tried to signal her. no good. She didn't hear/see me. She proceeded through teh pass through which let out at about 80 feet. As soon as she got through the pass through, she dropped like a rock. The dive master from the boat was signaling her, to no avail. He went after her, and i stayed with the group. As soon as he got to her, she started into panic and was hitting the boat dive master. I thought for a second, then figured that it might be better for me to go, since she more or less sort of "knew me." so I went down to her. It did help, but by this time we were at around 130 feet and sinking fast. Not that i mind, but i was on 36 percent nitrox. Well, once we got her buoyanat, we were at around 135. The boat dive master signaled for me to take her up. Which I gladly did, for fear of going deco or worse going toxic on the oxygen. So we made a controlled ascent. Once we were on the surface, and both of us had stopped shaking, she told me what happened. She was using a rented BCD, it was a Mares, and it was one of the first ones to have power inflators that were like a lever, instead of a button. She told me she pushed it the wrong way, and so she lost all of her air in her BCD. SO finally she agreed to take off some lead. She and I stayed out for an extra long surface interval, and she definitely felt embarrassed, scared, and sorry for "ruining" my dive. I was just glad we didn't lose her to Davey Jones!!! The moral of the story: Don't rent equipment, buy it. Think of it this way. All cars have the same equipment, lights, turn signals, heater/A/C, etc. But think about the last time you rented a car. How long did it take you to get used to all the locations and use of the equipment. Now think of that at 80 feet......

Dive Often, Dive Safe
A good diver is ALWAYS learning

Keep passing open windows.

"Slipnoose hangin' in my darkest dreams." (EJ and BT)

There are two types of pain: The pain of discipline and the pain of regret, and the latter of these two is the hardest to overcome. (Adapted from unknown author).

If you have your hand in the mouth of a hungry bear, pet it. profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseac
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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
11/3/08 5:14 P

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Yeah, now that would be seriously scary. You must've been so relieved when you saw the boat. I saw Open Water also... a real horror movie for divers.

Your experience Alex, reminds me of a boat dive my wife and I were on, off the coast of New Hampshire. The weather was clear when we jumped off the boat, but when the dive was over and we surfaced, we came up in a thick fog (not uncommon in New England waters) and we couldn't see anything at all, never mind the dive boat.

I had set my compass for an out and back heading, so I hoped that the compass would lead us back to the boat through the fog. In about ten minutes, the dive boat slowly took form in the thick mist, like the appearance of a ghost ship. We were very relieved, and eagerly climbed up the stern ladder and got on board.

But as we started to get out of our gear, we soon realized that we didn't recognise the other divers on the boat... Turns out that we had boarded the wrong dive boat! Happily, this problem was easily corrected when the Captain radioed our boat, and told them to come pick us up. Turns out that there were a couple divers from the boat we returned to, who ended up on our boat, so we swapped.

That still left three divers out in the fog, who didn't find either boat. Both boats slowly cruised through the fog, blowing their horns in the hope that the missing divers would hear and answer. But thankfully the fog soon cleared and they were located. It was probably a really scary experience for the dive crews as well as the divers.

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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11/3/08 4:33 P

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I went diving off Miami Beach on a charter boat a couple years ago. I went alone, and they were supposed to pair me with another diver, but it turned out that all the other divers were either already paired-up or were doing coral research for a local university. So a Safety Diver told me to dive around the researchers and she would keep an eye on me. Since this was very clear water compared to what I'm used to, and somewhat shallow, I decided to give solo-diving a try.

The dive was fine, but when I surfaced, I looked all around and the boat was not there. I took a second spin, and still no boat to be seen, nor land in any direction. I was stranded in the middle of the Atlantic! And yes: I had already seen the movie Open Water. :( I freaked a little, but kept looking around for the boat, while thoughts of chewing coral, and signaling cargo ships were going through my mind.

The boat was here... it just happened to be hidden in a trough behind a wave both times that I looked. I caught a glimpse of it on my third spin... just to see it disappear again behind a wave.

Alex


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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
11/3/08 10:15 A

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Lol! :o) OK, the honest truth... She did ask me not to tell anyone about what happened on the dive, but she was the one who suggested that we go out for drinks later.

I did find out later that most DMs who know that area, won't dive it if the surf is rough.



"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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I didn't think you did blackmail the guide...you just don't seem like the kind of guy to do that...I don't think...well...I dunno....maybe.... emoticon

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Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
11/3/08 9:32 A

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TY for reading, Tina. I guess everything happened so fast, and was over so quickly, that I wasn't left with any permanent fear. Plus, in spite of what happened, I really did fall in love with tropical diving that day.

BTW, I didn't really "blackmail" my guide. ;o)

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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SCUBAHONEY's Photo SCUBAHONEY Posts: 2,852
11/3/08 9:11 A

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Chris, I read it, but didn't get a chance to respond. It is a very scary story...and I think a lot of beginner divers would have quit diving after that experience!

I am a person of infinite possibilities and dreams.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
11/3/08 8:44 A

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Thanks Kerry! I was beginning to wonder if anyone read it.

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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KISSIETAZ2's Photo KISSIETAZ2 SparkPoints: (31,395)
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11/2/08 11:12 P

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Now that's a good story! emoticon emoticon

If we can be courageous one more time than we are fearful, trusting one more time than we are anxious, cooperative one more time than we are competitive, forgiving one more time than we are vindictive, loving one more time than we are hateful, we will have moved closer to the next breakthrough in our evolution.



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WALKOFFWIN's Photo WALKOFFWIN Posts: 4,338
10/31/08 2:55 P

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Hey, since it's Halloween and the perfect occasion for scary stuff, I thought I'd share my scariest moment diving.

It was back in 1985 in Hawaii, on the north shore of Oahu at Turtle Bay. I was with a group of friends who weren't divers, but having been recently certified, I was determined to do some blue water diving for the very first time. So I found a dive shop and a guide who was willing to take me on a shore dive at a place called Shark's Cove.

My guide was a young woman from Chicago, who was barely 5 feet tall, and looked like she weighed under 100 pounds, but with short blond hair, blue eyes and a nice shape, she was attractive and had a friendly, animated personality. I had only a handful of dives under my belt and knew nothing about where we were diving, so I was completely ready to follow her lead.

Shark's Cove had a sand beach, which on a calm day, made for a quick and easy entry. But this day, the surf was rough, and my guide said that the waves would knock us into the numerous lava rocks just off the beach if we tried to go in there. So she wanted to walk across the lava field to the right of the cove, out to the edge, where we could jump in and get down to 50 feet immediately.

Wearing our tanks and weights and walking across 80 yards of the dark brown old lava was quite a challenge. We wore booties to protect our feet, but the lava field had a very uneven and treacherous terrain. Being burdened with tanks and weights, it was hard to keep your balance, and not fall. The lava also had a very abrasive and sharp edged surface, and falling down on it would almost guarantee lots of cuts and scrapes. My guide had a wet suit, which would help to protect her, but I was in just swim trunks and a t-shirt. Thankfully, neither one of us fell.

Once out to the edge of the lava, we got ready, waited for a break in the waves, and plunged in. This being my very first tropical dive, I was immediately transfixed by the clarity of the warm water and the numerous colorful fish swimming around us. It was like falling deeply in love at first sight.

But Shark's Cove had another striking feature... There was a submerged lava wall that was honeycombed with a network of small, short, open ended caves. My guide led me through many of these, and it was really fun. But she was often swimming rather fast, and it almost seemed like she was leading me on a game of chase. I figured out later that she was trying to run me low on air so she could end the dive sooner. She didn't know that at the time, I was a distance runner and my air consumption was excellent. So I didn't mind playing chase and my air held out just fine. At a depth of 50 feet and 25 minutes of bottom time, she motioned for me to tell her how much air I had left. I could see the slight look of surprise in her eyes, when I signaled back that I had 1800 psi.

When we were back out of the caves, she decided to take a more leisurely pace and explore the outer cove. There wasn't that much coral to see, because during the winter huge waves batter the area and break up the coral, leaving only large humps and mounds of coral reef behind. I was still loving every minute of it, because I saw my first sea turtle and also a small but very brightly colored octopus. And there were still lots of tropical fish all around.

We made our way to the left side of the outer cove, where there was another lava wall. My guide approached the entrance of a cave and suddenly darted inside. Another game of chase? I started to swim in after her... and instantly found myself in a suicidally fast uncontrolled ascent! I exhaled furiously, trying to rush all the air out of my lungs so I wouldn't embolize, as a powerful invisible force rocketed me upwards. I saw my guide above me, her small body horizontal but spinning head to fins in circles as she was pushed upwards to the light of an open surface. We'd just ascended fifty feet in about five seconds!

As my head broke above the surface, I had about two seconds to notice that we were inside a pool around twenty feet wide, and surrounded by lava walls. That's when the first large wave came crashing down on top of me and slammed me hard into the lava. I was lucky because it was my back that hit the wall, with my tank taking the force of the blow and protecting me.

I had another two seconds to look around me and realize that the walls were too high to climb over and there seemed to be no way to get out. There was also still a tremendous force of water pushing upward from below, which made diving back down impossible. Then the next wall of water buried me and I reflexively turned my back to the walls with my tank again taking the full force of the blow with a very loud metallic CLANG!

This time, I managed to wedge my back into a cleft in the wall, to try and hang on in there when the next big wave struck. "I could die here" I thought... There was no time to think anything else, because the third wave thundered down on me, but somehow I hung on and seemed to be unhurt. I had no idea where my guide was, or what condition she was in.

Then the water in our trap suddenly went calm. I saw my guide bob her head up near the opposite end of the pool and spin around in a couple circles as if she was trying to find something. Then she piked and dove. This seemed like an excellent idea and I instantly followed. The strong upward current that forced us to the surface of the pool had disappeared and we raced down and out of the hole. My guide sped off for the opposite side of the cove, putting as much distance between her and the entrance of the hole as fast as she could swim away. I was right behind her.

Then she stopped, wheeled around and saw me. Her eyes bugged out in her face mask as she repeatedly flashed the OK sign in an exaggerated rapid motion. I flashed her the OK back and tried to look as unperturbed as possible. I even took my regulator out and gave her a big underwater smile. Her wide eyes rolled as she pointed her index finger at me and then at the side of her head while spinning the finger around in circles. She wasn't asking me if my ears were okay; she was telling me I was crazy...

The truth is, that it was truly terrifying to be trapped up there, with those huge waves crashing down on top of me and slamming me hard into the jagged lava walls, with what seemed like no hope of escape. But it all happened so fast, and was over so quickly, that it was almost hard to believe it really happened. To this day, it still has an almost dream like quality for me.

What actually happened, was that just as we were next to the entrance of the hole in the lava wall, some huge deep waves rolled through and a large volume of water was forced up the hole, taking us with it like two bugs sucked up a vacuum cleaner tube. As soon as the waves were gone, we could get away.

But it's a miracle that neither one of us embolized as we shot 50 feet to the surface in a matter of seconds, and also that once we were trapped up there, that we weren't smashed to death by the waves against the walls. I came out it with with nothing worse than a few scrapes on my thighs, and she was virtually untouched, although her wet suit had some deep gouges in the neoprene. We were both very lucky.

After we were back on shore, she showered me with praise about what a good diver I was and how she still couldn't believe how calm I was after all that. I laughed and replied that I just thought it was all part of her usual tour. It was then that she leaned forward and said "Chris, could you do me a really big favor?"
"What's that?" I asked.
"Don't tell anybody about our little adventure here today. Other people might not see it as such a good thing." I knew what she meant right away. Not a good thing, as in bad for her reputation, and bad for business...
"Well, I dunno..." I replied, with a sly smile. "This might need further discussion."
"What's that mean?" she asked, looking slightly wary.
"That means that we should head for that bar near your dive shop, have a couple drinks, and see what we can work out." She took a long pause while giving me an appraising look, and then agreed.

The rest is another story...






"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself. -- Nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Franklin D. Roosevelt


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2/3/08 9:44 P

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That was a great place to learn that lesson!!! emoticon

If we can be courageous one more time than we are fearful, trusting one more time than we are anxious, cooperative one more time than we are competitive, forgiving one more time than we are vindictive, loving one more time than we are hateful, we will have moved closer to the next breakthrough in our evolution.



Jonas Salk


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SHORTTOOTH1's Photo SHORTTOOTH1 Posts: 1,036
2/3/08 9:40 P

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Compared to these stories my incident was pretty minor. But it happened when I had zero experience, so it was a bit unnerving.

On the very last pool dive for my OW certification towards the end of the class my air started to get low. But I reasoned with myself that if I went up I wouldn't have time to get a new tank before I had to get out and it would be a few months at least before I could dive again. (I was taking the class in NYC during March and would have to do local dives so I needed to wait for warmer weather.) It was a fun day since we were basically playing with toys on the bottom. Then I tried to take a breath and there was no air left. I tried to signal someone around me but they were absorbed in the game of frisbee. I was preparing for my first real emergency ascension and started to go. Then I felt one of the instructors grab my arm. Turns out, he noticed from the other side of the pool that I was looking a bit panicked and trying to grab peoples legs as they swam by me, so he came over to see what was going on. Lesson Learned: The air tank has no concept of '5 more minutes.'

Edited by: SHORTTOOTH1 at: 2/3/2008 (21:40)
If you greatly desire something, have the guts to stake everything on obtaining it. ~Brendan Francis


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MICHELAR's Photo MICHELAR Posts: 22,248
2/3/08 3:09 P

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I hate the thought of being in a really scary situation and if it happens I hope to have the sense to remain calm and work it through without panicking.

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”

We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore. (Anonymous)

From wine what sudden friendship springs! (John Gay 1685- 1732)



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2/3/08 2:09 P

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I found that the secret to clearing is to start as soon as I hit the water, way before I feel the need. Also, I cannot clear going down head 1st, so I have to have sufficient weight to drop down feet 1st. No kicking down the 1st 15 feet. And, though I know we all learned in our scuba classes not to take drugs and dive, I cannot dive without sudafed, the little red ones. I used to have lots of trouble clearing, but for me, these things make clearing easy as pie.

I had a bad ear clearing experience myself early on. My husband and I were doing a specialty dive on Andros Island. It was a dive through a shoot that came out at 210 ft. It was done with just two divers and two divemasters.

The four of us were the only ones on the boat (which in retrospect seems extremely stupid).

We were told that once we jumped in we needed to get to the shoot (which was at 100 plus feet) as quickly as possibly to minimize bottom time. It was going to be a decompression dive.

What they neglected to tell us is that they had switched from the steel tanks we had been diving with all week to aluminum tanks and so I did not add the extra weight needed with the aluminum tank. We all jumped in the water and I could not descend. There was no one on the boat to give me more weight and everyone was motioning for me to hurry. So...instead of aborting as I should have, I started kicking to get down and I could not clear my ears. They were killing me, but I foolishly kept going. My ears did finally clear by the time we reached the shoot and we completed the dive to 210 ft. When I got to the surface and took off my mask, I realized I had a bloody nose. That scared me! Luckily I didn't bust an ear drum, but it was a foolish thing to do and I learned a valuable lesson. Never keep going when things aren't working for you. Abort!!! emoticon

If we can be courageous one more time than we are fearful, trusting one more time than we are anxious, cooperative one more time than we are competitive, forgiving one more time than we are vindictive, loving one more time than we are hateful, we will have moved closer to the next breakthrough in our evolution.



Jonas Salk


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SCUBAHONEY's Photo SCUBAHONEY Posts: 2,852
2/3/08 11:56 A

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OMG!!! That's not only scary, that's dangerous!! I also have problems clearing, but I take my time, and found out it's easier to do if you stop and make sure you are upright. Also if you tip your head, stretching your neck on the side that needs to be cleared as you blow against your blocked nose, it seems to help me.

I am a person of infinite possibilities and dreams.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.


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2/3/08 9:08 A

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yeah , that would be unnerving .........my scariest moment was .......we were in Aruba about to do the signature dive , when I descended and couldn't equalize. I (stubborn beast that I am) tried and then tried again . Finally I got down but was only down a minute when I signaled to hubby I was going up. I was so frustrated and mad I started to cry . Dive master asked me if I was ok ...I looked at hubby who was waving his hands like a banshee. Evidently the dive master was on my right side and I could not hear him at all..... Long story short , it was the middle of the week, I did a micro tear of my trigeminal nerve in my face and couldn't dive for a year . I have since learned that if you can't equalize, you can't dive and don't push it *s* ......... emoticon

 
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2/2/08 9:47 P

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We've all had some scary moments diving. I thought it might be fun to share them.

Here's one of mine.

We had just arrived in Freeport, Bahamas and our 1st dive was a shark dive. One of the divemasters was dressed in maille and he was going to interact with the sharks while we all watched.

We jumped off the boat. It was a 50 foot dive. Just as I got to the bottom, I started choking, seriously. I could not get any air whatsoever!! The diver next to me noticed something and gave me the ok signal. I shook my head no. I was thinking, "this is not good". I was also thinking, "even if I was on the surface, I would still be choking, so just stay calm and ride it out." When I still couldn't get any air, I thought "it will not be a good thing if I pass out under water" so I signaled the other diver that I was going up. I started asending slowly and about halfway up, I got air. I went back down to watch the shark show. That was some dive! emoticon emoticon

Edited by: KISSIETAZ2 at: 2/2/2008 (21:48)
If we can be courageous one more time than we are fearful, trusting one more time than we are anxious, cooperative one more time than we are competitive, forgiving one more time than we are vindictive, loving one more time than we are hateful, we will have moved closer to the next breakthrough in our evolution.



Jonas Salk


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