My Stories: ‘Using my rescue training in practice’

This is my 8th story in a series of personal scuba diving adventures since I got my PADI certificates. In my last post I wrote about the best wreck dive ever in Egypt. However during this same scuba diving holiday I also got the change to use my rescue training skills during a real dive. The Red Sea was really turbulent that day with waves of around 4 to 6 meters and fierce winds.

This was our fourth day of scuba diving. We had stood up early again to catch our boat. Our first dive site was a beautiful lagoon in the middle of the sea. Our boat would drop us on the outside of the lagoon and would pick us up on the inside again. Things started getting wrong already during the drop off.

Our guide wanted to check the currents before we would jump after him. However one minute after the guide submerged the crew of the boat where yelling: "jump, jump, jump". Our guide surfaced again and watched with anger how our boat was sailing away. Off course the current was in the wrong direction, a strong current at that! We quickly had to descend before we would be slammed on to the reef by the 5 meter high waves.

 

According to Murphy's law something else had to happen and indeed it did. The amount of lead for my girlfriend wasn't enough. She couldn't submerge. I had to drag her down with me. Nothing really special, but as my girlfriend didn't have much experience at that time it only added to her stress. High waves, strong current, not being in control by being able to submerge and an irrational fear of being attacked by a shark. All this didn't really help. She was clinging to my arm and I was dragging her with me following our buddies.

Within 15 minutes I was down to 50 bars. Our guide flabbergasted, we had to surface. Here things where getting worse. Once to the surface we saw we where only half way to the safety of the entrance of the lagoon. The dingy on our boat was of no use because of the high waves.

Scuba diving Egypt - Sharm el Sheikh

At this point we had waves of 5 meter high trying to slam us on the reef and a strong current. We had to swim in a zig zag motion, away from the reef and then against the current towards the entrance. This doubled the distance we had to swim. My girlfriend already stressed was getting tired and started panicking.

My rescue training kicked in. I took her fins and placed them against my shoulders. Pushing her along. In the meanwhile, to let her forget her fears and panic I started to pick a fight. She was furious with me at that moment. Every time it looked like the fear would return I would inflame that anger. It worked... We made it to the safety of the lagoon and the boat. Quickly I told her why I picked the fight and the dive ended with our guide yelling at the boat crew in Arabic and me and my girlfriend hugging.

Only now did I have time to ask how my buddy and his girlfriend where doing. They where to far ahead during the swim to talk. I knew he would be fine, his girlfriend however was also calming down. Neither her or my girlfriend made a second dive that day. Me and my buddy made two more dives that day with the last dive being a story on itself.

In the 'My Stories' series
1. My very first scuba dive in the Netherlands
2. A first dive without a guide
3. My biggest scuba diving mistake
4. Why I love wreck diving
5. What does scuba diving mean to me
6. Scuba diving in an emerald sea
7. The best wreck dive ever!

Posted in Country Stories, My Stories, Scuba diving Sharm el Sheikh.

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