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OPEN CHALLENGE TO ALL DIR ACOLYTES, PADI PUSHERS, NAUI NAYSAYERS, AND SSI SYCOPHANTS.
Try posting a dive story without mentioning your gear configuration, or agency affilation. Just tell the story of the dive, don't make it an ad for GUE. Or PADI. Or SSi, NAUI, et all.
Going on a thousand dives, in all environments, I've always been careful not to exceed my limits.
I had an experience yesterday, however, that was a real eye opener.
A friend was visiting from Florida, and wanted to dive a water fall/ swimming hole up in the mountains where he had previously camped. All he knew was the hole was about 75' across, too deep to touch bottom without effort, and had a waterfall in one end. Rangers had told him there was a cave up under the waterfall (He's GUE cave).
We hiked our kits about 1.8 miles up the mountainside, a real treat. The pool was a breathtaking site (and temp, in our .5 skins). The waterfall was about 5' across, and 3' deep, 10" high, sharply channeled between two tall rocks. We geared and went, for a quick recon, and met up top for a dive plan (which we had planned).
Knowing how dangerous water currents can be at the base of a waterfall, we decided to edge in from the left. There was a clear avenue of undisturbed water there. We actually got behing the falls, and found the mouth of a small, unusually geometrical room, that a skin diver might mistake for a cave, about ten feet in length/depth.
We were at about 20", hardbottom, looking into the room with our lights, when the current shifted, fast and easy as you please, and sucked me under the falls like a vacuum cleaner. It grabbed my fins, and swung me 90 deg (ffwwwuthup). There had previously been a minor outbound current in that spot, although I could reach out and put my hand in the whitewater. It got exiting real fast. I had true vertigo, tumbling on all axises, in crystal clear white water. The most disorienting factor was that you couldn't tell where up was, or where the solid rock wall was around your head. And looking at the direction of your exaust bubbles was a foregone conclusion. I was in an area maybe 10x10x10.
I had to stop and think what to do. I covered my head and waited to get spit out, but it didn't come. I reached around me and couldn't feel anything. I had my regulator securly in my mouth, and took time to check the secondary. I remember clearly thinking that my dive buds would laugh their axxes off if I got killed in a mountain stream (thanx, guys).
After about 30 seconds of Tilt-a-Whirl, I just kicked as hard as I could in one direction, and shot out almost at the surface in front of the water column. I was above my dive bud, who had (bravely or insanely) wedged a foot in the rocks and was reaching in for me where I had disappeared. I had to pull him back from where he was.
Needless to say, we got out from behind the falls. We dove another 20 minutes, and got out.
What's the moral of the story?
We planned our dive.
We knew the dangers.
We looked over the target and planned a specific approach.
We were in 20 ft of water.
But the agua, she didn't cooperate.
And even a mountain stream, ten feet wide and knee deep, can introduce you to Darwin.
Last edited by Custer; August 17th, 2003 at 09:54 AM.
Sounds kind of fun. It also sounds like the planning you did couldn't account for "unknown" conditions, which is what i'd expect. I mean, who could know the exact boundries and strength of the turbulance before they get there. Sometimes in a high flow cave you can find yourself in the wrong place and have a few tence moments. While it might take a few moments to find your way on it's seldom a big problem. However, just liks passing a restriction or your situation it can result in team members being momentarily solo.