Sunday, 23 November 2008

Rescue Diver Day Two: A Clean Break

Farmer continued on the next day. Jon picked him up for putting his breathing apparatus on the tank before he'd secured his jacket to it. Schoolboy error. We were briefed that we were to carry out search patterns on the bottom for a missing diver. This involves one diver navigating with a compass, his buddy counting fin kicks and looking for the victim. It was all clearly explained on the surface beforehand. So Jon indicates that I'm Navigator for the first one, and Farmer counts. He's supposed to tap me when he's counted enough fin kicks, and it's time to turn 90 degrees. We therefore search in an expanding square pattern...very effective. IF your buddy taps you to turn.

The first turn was supposed to be after 5 kicks. After 10, Farmer was swimming alongside me gormlessly. I had to stop and use sign language to say "Count 5...tap me...count 10, tap me" He nodded affirmation. Did he tap me? Did he fuck. I've never had a wobbler underwater, but I was close then. Bloody clueless. Jon wrote on his slate "Do your's his responsibility to do the rest." So as long as I took us in the right directions, I'd pass. Surprisingly, in less than 2 metres visibilty, we passed it all first time. The surface rescues went well too...apart from Farmer trying to give rescue breaths to Jon as the current carried them away.

So...back on the boat. we were just waiting for one of the sneaky surprises they spring on you to test you. We'd already had to jump back in to get Jon and Red 10 minutes yelling instructions to Farmer who'd said "What do we do?" Fuck me sideways, this lad's a potential killer. Could be more prolific than Dennis Nilsen the rate he's going.

Surprise, surprise...Red's 30 feet from the boat and splashing about like a loon. I got my fins, mask and snorkel back on. Had to prevent myself screaming at Farmer. I'd told him to watch Red and point to indicate his position while I swam out. I turned round to see him following me down the boat. "Watch Red!!" He about-faced.

Kitted up, I stood on the edge of the boat. 10 feet up. On putting my other fin on the gunwales, I realised too late just how wet the surface was. I slipped and fell chest-first onto the kayak moored alongside the boat. Look before you leap, indeed. Hitting it, I felt a snap in my ribcage. Rolling into the sea in agony, I momentarily slipped below the waves. I'm confident I hold the world record for swearing underwater. Surfacing, I saw Jon and Red powering towards me "Are you fucking about?". I could hardly breathe, and just shook my head. they pulled me towards the back off the boat, me on my back looking up at concerned faces above me on the boat "That went well, I thought?" I quipped.

Back on the boat, they stripped the wetsuit off. Jon looked concerned.

"Those ribs don't look normal..."
"Believe me, mate...they don't feel normal"
"Speedboats on it's way, fella"
"Any chance of a cuppa, old chap?"

So...brew in hand, I was whisked off back to shore. I missed (sadly) Red tearing a strip off Farmer. But apparently it went a little like this:

"You fucking moron, man. You're on a Rescue course, right? Well, asshole...your buddy's in the sea breathing his last while you stand there holding your dick in your hand, motherfucker!! Sort your shit out."

Quite, old chap. Couldn't have put it better myself. Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

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