The sun was radiating heat despite it still being early in the morning. With a cup of coffee in my hand I longingly look towards the boats that will takes us out at sea for a refreshing dive. With a sigh I turn my attention towards my dive equipment. The boats are to small so we need to set our gear up before entering the boat. Afterwards a British instructor gives the dive briefing for the first dive and matches us with our dive buddies for today. I'm being buddies with an Italian whom speaks little to no English. A buddy who will turn out not be just annoying, but also very dangerous. What would you have done in my place?
My girlfriend and me are travelling through Croatia and decided to stop for a week of scuba diving on the island Korcula. While she is getting her OW certificate I'm taking the deep dive specialty. As such I'm sitting besides my new Italian friend who's trying, in his best of English, to convince me what a great diver he is. All this with the roar of the boat engines in the background while we speed over the choppy waters of the bay of Vela Luka.
Scuba diving buddiesI really loved my deep dive training, especially the exercises we did below water to show how the deep effects your mind and what the pressure of all that water is capable of. I'll never forget the breaking of an egg at 35 meters depth and being able to play ping pong with it. During that first dive nothing untoward happened accept that my buddy was all over the place. It's really annoying as you constantly need to check where your buddy is. But some scuba divers are like that, let's blame it on enthusiasm. It was what happened during the second dive which makes I'll never forget this certain buddy.
We all know that your second dive is always shallower then your first dive. As we reached 40 meters
of depth during our first dive we would only descend to a maximum of 30 meters during this second dive. Our dive briefing was really clear, a steep descend till 30 meters after which we would make a gradient ascend again. On our boat was also a Divemaster in training which was guiding 4 scuba divers. They would only dive till 18 meters of depth. During our dive, around 25 meters, something happened at the group with this Divemaster. Our instructor signalled to carry out the dive as planned as she hurried over to the other dive group. I never saw what it was what happened. I was to busy with keeping an eye out for my buddy.
Scuba diverAt reaching 30 meters it was the point where it went wrong. My buddy decided he didn't want to ascend and instead he wanted to stay at 30 meters depth. I signalled several times we had to ascend, but he just signalled back he wanted to stay at this depth. At first I thought he maybe was inflicted with nitrogen narcosis, but this wasn't the case. He just refused to come along and follow the dive plan. In the end I didn't know what to do, but to ascend and keep myself safe from a deco dive. He even signalled some times he was OK. After 10 minutes our instructor came back and saw that my buddy was still below at 30 meters depth. He let himself drop and while slowly ascending he dragged the Italian with him. Instead of the 'V' shaped dive our Italian friend had made an 'U' shaped dive.
My buddy had made an enormous deco dive. Where we had a normal safety stop of 3 minutes at 5 meters he had a safety stop of over 20 minutes. He was lucky that we where training for the deco dive and that there was a tank hanging ready at 5 meters. When he finally came out of the water our instructor was furious and with good reason. Despite having a dive computer he claimed he hadn't heard the alarms and was just enjoying the scenery below. As I (his buddy) was ascending with four other divers he hadn't seen the problem of staying at this depth.
I truly can't understand what is going on in the head of such kind of scuba diver. You jeopardise not just yourself but also other divers who have to potentially rescue you. In this situation I made the call to ascend and leave him to his own dive. Looking back I would make the same call all over again. What would you have done?
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!
8. Using my rescue training in practice
9. A drift on the Red Sea
10. My weirdest dive