Adventurous d(r)iving

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Normally we dive on the wreck of the Mediator on Sundays but currently this is not allowed when there is a US or British cruise ship in the harbour. And because most cruise ships have a fixed schedule during the season most probably there will not be much diving on this wreck during this winter. As an alternative Karel organized a dive to the Blue Room, a dive site on the plantation of San Nicolaas. Meeting point was the dive shop Trukdivers on Sunday morning at 9:30. That is where the problems started.

Jaap, one of the divers that would attend this dive called just before 9:30 that he was involved in a small accident and that he had to wait for the police to arrive and handle the paperwork. When he arrived at the dive shop it was more than an hour later than planned. Luckily there were no personal injuries and the damage to his carr was also small.

 
 

BlueRoom_20081221_004_kleinSo with quite a delay we went to San Nicolaas. We had the key for the gate so getting onto the plantation was not a problem. But shortly after entering the plantation Alex stopped his car and went out checking his tires because he was hearing  suspecious hissing for some time. And he was right. His car had a flat tire. And apparently he was driving for some time with that flat tire because the side of the tire was torn. So the tire had to be changed. Teamwork made this a rather quick job although there were some complaints that normally a pitstop takes less time. After the repair we went on toward the dive site far later than originally planned. Consequently a few telephone calls were made to inform the people at home of the delay.

First we went checking out the dive site. It appeared to be difficult to enter the water and even more difficult to leave the water. Because of the waves it would be impossible to leave the water here. So we agreed to enter the water at this dive site and leave the water at the next site, Santu Pretu. After donning the dive equipment we went toward the shore. There some of the divers decided to take the high jump into the water and the others decided to climb down for a smaller jump. I was part of the latter group because of my camera. Finally we were all in the water. BlueRoom_20081221_019_kleinAt this dive site there is a large cave called the Blue Room. We entered this cave. Depending on the water level the entrance to this cave is just under water. Today there was a small gap between the ceiling and the water. A pretty sight from inside. The cave itself is nothing special.  Inside the cave the ceiling is high so you can stand upright and breath normal air.

The dive itself was uneventful for the first part. We dove at a depth of about 40 feet in the direction of Santu Pretu.

After about half an hour it was time to check where we were, so Jaap went to the surface. With a new heading on the compass he led us toward Santu Pretu. And that was the plan. Two of the divers just started the Rescue Diving course so something had to go wrong on this dive. Sam Pieter and Ellen appeared to have tanks with polluted air so they got sick under water. Ellen was in pretty bad condition but Sam Pieter was still able to warn Jaap that there was something wrong. So Jaap and Karel went to the surface with him. BlueRoom_20081221_033_kleinWe lost Ellen in the process because she was unable to swim any further because of her condition. So when we all surfaced we missed one diver. The purpose of this all is to start coordinating the rescue. The first time this is of course not going smoothly but it is a good way to learn handling situations like this. The exercise was terminated at that point so Sam Pieter and I went back to get Ellen. She was still "unconsious" so we both took an arm and started to swim toward the coast. Sam Pieter had a special technique to get her conscious again so after a short while she was able to swim on her own.
That was not the end of this dive because Santu Pretu appeared to be much farther than we anticipated. So the last part of the dive we had to swim on the surface.
And because our cars were at Boca Fluit we started walking in that direction till we reached a point that we assumed could be reached by car. Karel, Alex and I continued our walk while the others waited with all the equipment. On our way to Boca Fluit we passed several deep pools with rain water; too deep for Karel's pickup. Alex and I both had cars with 4-wheel drive and we were able to pick up the others and the dive equipment. It was well past 2 PM before we went back to the dive shop. It was a long day with lots of surprises.