Lately I felt I needed to push my limits once again, I wanted to see what it feels like to go scuba diving very deep. So I decided to go down almost twice as deep then I have ever gone down to before this dive. I know that other people have done it, including my partner, so I wasn’t worried about it… on the contrary I was very excited.
From the beginning, my first mistake was to not get myself familiarised with the new dry suit that I was renting out. I felt too complacent with diving, and from what I’m learning lately, this is not a very good state to be at because that’s when things start to go wrong.
We got all suited up, and went into the water, ready to submerge. Right from the beginning I had trouble with buoyancy, I couldn’t get the air out of my dry suit with ease, after a bit of a struggle I submerged to meet my partner who was waiting by a cliff that quickly drops off. We gave each other the Okay sign and began submerging down into the abyss. As we were submerging, the colors were slowly changing from green, to dark green, to eventually full black, until we couldn’t see any light at all. Eventually we reached our planned depth, where both of us stopped and gave each other another Okay sign. It felt unreal being that deep, I took a moment to appreciate being there. I then glanced at my gauges, and at that moment I had a huge head rush… I felt very light headed, and felt as if I was about to faint. Nitrogen Narcosis was playing its part on me…
At that moment, I felt scared. I thought I was going to die if I were to pass out. The place that I was initially excited and in awe of visiting now felt like a nightmare that I was trying to “wake up” from. I slowly started to ascend, breathing faster with each passing moment, trying my hardest to stay conscious. I looked at my partner, who was watching me ascent, knowing that there was something wrong.
As I was getting higher, my rate of climb was increasing due to the increase in buoyancy. I had to let some air out from my dry suit to allow a more gradual ascent. This would allow the nitrogen in my body time to dissolve (it’s dangerous to shoot up very quickly to the surface). For some reason though I was having trouble letting the air out from the dry suit, I was actually closing the valve instead of opening it. Another example of how I did not familiarize myself with the new dry suit before starting the dive. At that point I started to panic a bit, and after some struggle, I realised I had still some air in the BCD and I let it out. This stabilized me at that particular depth and I was able to relax and get my mind straight.
My partner caught up to me, signed me asking if I was all right, I pointed out that I had a problem with getting the air out from my dry suit. We stayed at that depth for a little while, until the point when I looked at my gauge and realised that I was low on air. I was really surprised how fast my air was gone! I still needed some air to stay at 15 feet for a few minutes for decompression. So I pointed it out to my partner, and we started to ascend.
Once again I was having trouble with buoyancy when I went up higher, and I had to hold on the rocks to stay at 15 feet depth for decompression. As the decompression time was up, I was already taking the last breaths from my air tank. When I finally surfaced I had no more air in my tank.
I was lucky to have an experienced partner with me when things went wrong. He really helped me out in this situation. My partner told me that this is a good lesson for me to be diving with a partner, since as he told me: “You were getting too cocky with all your solo diving and all.” A good lesson for me it was…