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Lost Diver

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#21 divadiver



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Posted 06 April 2010 - 07:40 PM

Cozumel DMs have an especially hard job with currents and bottomless depths. My hat goes off to them. Baysitting adults is challenging, especially when they are arrogant, abrasive, hell bent or just plain inexperienced. Some divers forget it's a group not individual sport. Others lose their heads as soon as they hit the water.

I admire you for taking charge of a difficult situation. I can't imagine how the DMs felt with that group of folks.

Your denture diver story is funny, but sad.
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#22 austinacoustic



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Posted 06 April 2010 - 10:06 PM

I had a dive in Nov. 09 where the dm's tank blew a seal. At about sixty feet he turned his bcd around so his tank was in front, and turned his valve on when he needed a breath.... Completed the dive...International badass!!!
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#23 ljohnson



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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:22 AM

HI Friends,

Divers Alert Network has some great safety information on lost divers and divers going adrift. These articles give great information on why these types of accidents can happen and tips on how to help prevent them.

This article was from Alert Diver November/December 2008: http://www.diversale...p?ArticleID=957
This one I wrote about a mishap during during a night dive in Cozumel: http://www.diversale...p?ArticleID=967
Safety Products to help avoid abandonded divers: http://www.diversale...x?newsid=985930

Happy Diving!

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Laura Johnson

#24 Charles



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Posted 08 April 2010 - 12:43 PM

I witnessed an incident around year 2000 in between and past the muelle International and Puerta Maya and farther south. A group was doing a night dive under the direction of DM who was a North American, an idiot, knew nothing about the currents and peculiarities of Cozumel and spoke no Spanish. It seemed that his group of 8-9 divers(?) were equally inexperienced in Cozumel waters. At least some were hotel guests and they may or may not have been mixed with cruise passengers.

If the waters and currents can be tricky elsewhere, the waters around the two cruise ship piers are nothing short of bizarre. One of the reasons of protest of construction of Puerta Maya in that location was the effect that the Muelle International had on the currents and construction of another obstructive barrier was going to only complicate and compound the situation.

A group of inexperienced divers and it seemed a large group to be led by one inexperienced DM entered the water around the Muelle or between the pier and La Ceiba Hotel. They began to drift to the south under and through the International pier. Once they entered the zone in between the two piers, the group encountered currents which scattered them in all directions. Panic and total disorder began. Some divers surfaced and tried to fight their way toward shore, other divers tried to swim underwater toward shore. My guess it took less than ten minutes for the entire group which at that time had become widely separated to reach the conclusion they were in serious trouble. If any of the divers were experienced Cozumel divers, they would have most likely known to expect the unexpected.

People were in the water shouting for help as they were lost and could not control their movements. Divers were reaching shore along the entire strip between the two piers and three divers exited the water south of Puerta Maya, one almost 100 yards to the south of the pier. I called security, alerted them to the situation. The head of Groupo H security was present handled the situation as well as possible, opening the security gate for divers to exit to the pier area, sending guards to aid the divers who had managed to exit south of the pier. The fool of a DM showed up finally complaining that it wasn't his fault as he had told the group to stay together closely.

I think of this situation when I see inquiries that very experienced divers are coming down and they don't need the services of local operators. They wish to simply rent equipment and primarily do shore dives. When people with our level of experience are diving, why should we waste the money on a local DM? I told the DM that he had better know the count of how many divers went into the water and to insure the same number exited and were safe or he might face criminal charges. And then he couldn't speak a word of Spanish, I had to talk to the taxi jefe to insure that the drivers were to be paid by the empresa once they were returned to the point of origination. It seems the divers had neglected to bring cash with them in case they needed taxi fare to return to their starting point.

Reminds me too of the jet ski incident at the northern end of the island in mid 1990s(?). He ran out of gas, his buddy went for gas and could not find him when he returned. A massive air sea search was called off after 48 hours, he had disappeared. He was found on the 5th day off the coast of Ft Myers, Florida badly sunburned and dehydrated, still with the jet ski and was most lucky to be treated and released from the hospital there.

The Yucatan peninsula is about as flat as a pancake. The fact that we have a 3,000 foot deep channel between the island and the mainland means we have powerful currents here that should never be under estimated. One should never second guess the opinion of an experienced Cozumel dive master. You may indeed be a very advanced diver with experience of dive sites around the world, but Cozumel presents some unique challenges, that is what makes it so special and brings so many back for repeat performances.
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#25 nauticab



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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:41 PM

when the boat the princesa maya was still alive, we did snorkel and BOND ride, which were underwater motorcyles, per se, which had the person sitting on this machine with their head in a bubble, powered by a small motor. the client had control of steering, we as their divemasters, made sure the thing was working and that they followed us and we made any modifications as needed in regard to current, weight, and the status of the client. the machine weighed about 200 pounds WITHOUT the person, plus all the additional weights for the heavier folks. get to the point.... our tours were just south of puerta maya (less than 100 yards, just outside the official marine park line) and we knew how the currents would perform and would wait it out until they were tolerable before putting anyone in this machine. since the boat was moored during the tour, we dove against the current and came back with it, directly to the boat platform. the machines had a buoy attached that floated on the surface.
one day we got in, the currents were calm, and all of a sudden, as i was directly in line with the boat, close to shore, but about 50 yards away, the current kicked in and VERY strong going north. my other 2 divemasters had one client each, were south of me, and i had a couple in my charge. a very large couple, weighing at least 250 pounds each. the batteries for my machines were pretty much shot so there was no power to the motor. normally we simply push the machines back to the boat. however, the current was so strong that as we were pushing against the current to get back to the boat (as we were being pushed north at a very rapid pace), we just kept losing ground. i was pushing BOTH bonds with both people. about 1000 pounds of machine and human. due to them technically "diving", they could not just get out and go to the surface. they are breathing compressed air and are about 10-15ft deep. plus the currents were even stronger at the surface. i had to stay low as long as possible.
i finally got in line with the safety rope thrown out by the crew for the 60+ snorklers out there at the same time, saw that the photographer had a hold of one buoy of my bonds, i raised the other bond to the surface and got my person out safely, putting their hand on the rope. i was still about 15 yards from the boat, completely out of breath (screaming obscenities for help by the mates), exhausted, and had to pull this monstrosity to the platform. then had to dive back down, get my other person out and haul his bond back. and help the other divmasters with theirs who were several yards behind me. all four clients got out safely, and all snorkelers were fine, just tired. thanks to the efforts of the crew ready with safety lines, ready to hook up the machines to the platforms, and my divemasters, who were TRAINED IN THESE WATERS and reacted in the best way possible, it was a very successful rescue that we couldn't have anticipated but reacted as though we could. i can't imagine what would have happened if i had a DM from outside of these parts that day under my supervision.
after this craziness, the currents calmed down and my couple actually had the NERVE to ask to go again as they didn't get all their alloted time in. we did, they left happy, the currents started up again but not so bad, and do you think the customers actually tipped better that day for saving their asses? nope. nothing more than normal. for currents and all the crazy current dives i have done, that day was the scariest, for all crew and DMs involved. any DM here who worked with these machines will tell you that it was much harder (physically) than reef diving. combine it with wicked paradise reef currents, wow. what a day. we all drank some cold ones that afternoon. :)
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#26 2islandbums



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Posted 24 April 2010 - 06:54 PM

Telling a Captain of a boat what you will and will not do is beyond arrogant. Telling a dive master that you hired to keep you safe is just stupid, I don't care if you are a dive master nija black belt super hero and can leap tall reefs in a single bound.

I used to build houses of a living. I would hire the best carpenters around. Sometimes they were better than me, sometimes not. But if my name was on the job I was the last word. If they didn't like what I was doing they were free to move on no hard feelings.

Same goes for people that don't want to listen to the DM he is the boss. If you are better and smarter fine good for you, buy a boat and teach the world how to dive.

Maybe all these great divers should check there ego at the airport.

Nice job finding the Mike keep you eyes out and I hope you never see on your boat, unless I paid to be there. (unless your start letting people dive for free) :) :)
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Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.

Albert Einstein,

#27 miral13



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Posted 30 April 2010 - 08:32 PM

Wow. I now have a home on the island after visiting for over 15 years, the last 10 for the diving. I have been fortunate to have been with good DMs. I'm a DM myself but reading these posts taught me much more about current diving. Thank you.
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