Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting Warmer

The high winds of the past two weeks have dropped off, plus we're much further south, so the air temperature is now about 15 degrees warmer than last week. This will make things rather hot and sticky while suiting up for diving, because the water temperature does not (can not) increase as quickly. We still need to dress for cool water. This morning started out at a new location, Shaab Maksour. The plan was to dive deep to the north plateau and look for sharks. We hopped in the water and had to swim across a current to where the plateau drops off into the deep sea. It was a bit of work but just after we arrived an oceanic blacktip was seen circling. We were down about 85 feet or so. There were actually two sharks, but I never did see the second one.

While all this was going on, one diver separated himself from the group and swam much further along the drop-off than where we were hovering. It was our resident legend in his own mind, Nels. (Last week's solo wanderer, Bryan, stayed in the vicinity.) At one point Nels had purposely gone so far away that divemaster Darwish told us all to wait, and started swimming after him. A furious exchange of hand signals ensued, which ended with Darwish throwing his hands in the "air" and turning around and swimming back to us. The newer divers were running through their air because we had been quite deep for quite some time, so we swam shallower along the reef for a while. Still no Nels. We did safety stops, still no Nels. We were getting back into our zodiacs, still no Nels. The group I was with was all back on our zodiac and were motoring back to the boat and still no Nels.

The other zodiac waited and of course he came back, and I'm told he got an earful. Not only was this the second dive where he took off on his own, he also had gone into deco (only a short obligation, but still). Yesterday, he left a dive in the middle, abandoning his buddy, because the dive was "boring." When the staff asked him why the heck he left his buddy, he just shrugged and said that nothing was going to happen to his buddy because it was such a boring dive. This all pissed me off enormously. We're a boat at sea, with a mixture of divers. In my mind the more experienced people need to be attentive and respectful so that the divemaster can keep an eye on the people who actually need watching. Nels swimming off is a problem, the people who know what they are doing should NOT be the ones causing problems. When I saw him back on the boat I said to him, loudly, angrily and in front of everybody, "I don't care that you are a demolition diver and a Naval officer, you are a douchebag in the water." He rolled his eyes and said "right," which was what I expected. I was damn mad, because the last thing we needed was for this jerk who was bragging last night that he hacked his dive computer to finally make a real mistake. If dude wants to do gonzo stuff on the job or with his tech diving friends that's his business, but here on the boat there are ways of doing things, and no one should be above the rules because that models bad behavior.

He was bitching at one point that this was a horrible boat, but the senior staff talked him down. They also talked me down a bit, but now that I've yelled at that ass I'm done with him so it's all good. I have no reason to speak to him for the rest of the week. We moved the boat after breakfast to Shaab Claude, a reef with labyrinthine swim throughs. Erin wound us through the maze, and we ended up in a gorgeous coral garden. We cruised around for a while, and some guys with rebreathers and side mount rigs wandered by. It looked like a lot of stuff to deal with. I'm assuming they were rebreather students from another boat because I can't imagine why else anyone would be diving in such a shallow area with all that gear, plus they weren't very good swimmers underwater. I am not sure but I think we are having to Sataya now to visit the dolphins. I think I have another late afternoon dive coming up, too.

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