Friday, 22 May 2009

Diving Characters #5: The Filipinos

The Flips aren't as bad as the Koreans. But they're not much better, either. Same dodgy swimming skills...it seems it's only the lads who grow up working on boats adapt to the ocean. Sink or swim, after all.

We did a Discover Scuba course for three very nice young people. The boat was full of their noisy and boisterous friends; never easy trying to teach underwater skills when their mates are swimming in between you snapping away with their cameras. It was my task to introduce the basic scuba equipment, and I was constantly interrupted by one of their friends who was diving later with another lad. "I'm not paying you to be my assistant, do you want to teach this?" I said, in apparent good humour but actually meaning Shut The Fuck Up, Please.

Instruction over, and it was swim time. The two divers came along. Descending, I went down slowly...whereas they sank like stones, crashing into the (thankfully) dead reef several times. Once they'd sorted themselves out, I took them round the Tangat boat. They wanted to go in, so in we went. Swimming through the hold, the fat lad I named Oddjob (after the Bond baddie) indicated to his friend he had a cramp in his calf. I waited while his buddy relieved it. Next minute Oddjob is looking at his air guage disbelievingly...suddenly giving his friend the throat-slashing hand signal meaning "I'm out of air" What the fuck..? I'm over like a shot, his buddy already giving him his alternate air source. Holding them both, I steadied their acsent and took them up to the surface. Once he'd got his breath back, I asked him what had happened. He'd got a cramp, then panicked and thought he'd run out of air. He actually had 40 bar left. I asked how much weight they'd put on the belts, as they'd had trouble getting off the bottom. Turns out they'd put 11 weights on, at 1 kilo each. They'd been thinking in pounds, so had effectively doubled their weight needs. No wonder they went down like the Titanic.

At least it was an effective Rescue exercise for the DM course, I thought...

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