This adventure didn’t happen at Lock 23. It was at Ivy Lea Campground where divers regularly take in the underwater scenery on the northern shore drift. The adventure wasn’t about the dive itself; it was about getting into the water at the start.
Picture the general scene: The shoreline is rocky with plenty of boulders. Not far into the water, however, these drop off quickly and steeply.
Eight highly experienced divers (all guys – ahem), including four instructors and a couple of divemasters, have all donned their suits and are sitting around the water’s edge in various stages of final gear prep, pulling on gloves, masks, and fins in the last few minutes.
Here is the brief but memorable adventure of our friend we’ll call “Ted”. Fins and mask in hand, he steps out onto a rock that he considers sitting upon. He slips. His fins go flying. Or maybe it was his mask. At any rate, they get retrieved and he starts again.
The second time he slips again, but this time steps beyond the intended spot into water over his head in strong current, again without fins or mask, BCD not inflated, and, ahem, reg not in his mouth. Down he goes. Way down.
He comes up. Someone yells, “Put your reg in your mouth!” as the others frantically get their fins on. He goes down a second time.
He comes up. This time he has his reg in his mouth and is able to pump some air into his BCD but can’t manoeuvre without fins and mask. Fortunately someone is now able to reach him so that the dive, and the day, is saved.
I don’t need to go into lessons to be re-learned here: working in pairs and keeping an eye on each other in less than ideal conditions, not entering the water until everyone is ready, watching for ever-possible slippery rocks, ensuring that BCDs are inflated, and ABOVE ALL, KEEPING OUR REGS IN OUR MOUTHS. I can’t put enough exclamation marks after that! Anyone who knows me knows it’s a constant reminder called out at shore’s edge to any diver, experienced or not, whether I know them or not.
“Ted” has smilingly suggested that I cannot put “hearsay” stories on my blog, but remember, Ted, that almost all of my “teaching moments” follow adventure stories that we often laughingly chat about afterwards. This weekend was no exception!
Where were the ladies? We were wine-tasting in a happy place far from the water :).
By the way, wasn’t there someone else who starred in that film of long ago?