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Any Divers here? Long Swim!

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posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 01:22 AM
I've often talked about diving here. Was a commercial diver for a while, but I was also a recreational diver too. (I guess it figures).

When we talk about "EDC", diving comes very much to mind. Your dive might be 45 minutes, or 15 days (in saturation).

One time I brought my 'girlfried' (now wife) over to SE Asia. (I was crazy then). One night we went out on a night dive (seemed crazy to everyone but me, because all my dives were at depth) Anyway, my buddy and I went out on this night dive; we'd hired a boat (a Malaysian fishing boat), and we dove a reef on an island off the shore of Tioman Island in the South China Sea. It was dark, dark as the inside of a cow! Perfect diving (for me anyway).

We (me and my buddy) got to about 70 feet...and the next thing we knew, the boat took off!! Seriously! Gone! What happened next is the most amazing story I've ever experienced!

I didn't mind diving in the dark; frankly I was used to's all we did. The visibility was good, unusual for me. I was used to 5-6 feet of visibility "viz" in the dark, we had maybe 70-80 feet of "Viz" on this night.

The boat took my (future) wife back to the dock, and left to go fishing. We were alone several miles off shore. The visibility was incredible, we were on a MAJOR reef; there were cuttlefish which changed colors, rays, sharks, eels and all manner of spectacular life!

My friend, Henry, freaked out a little bit when the boat left. (the bastage...the boatman). We would have to swim across a channel, with the tide flowing, to get back to the island we left from. It was a long way, but in the was time to just dive.

It wasn't a particularly deep dive (maybe 30 to 80 feet). We were on single air tanks (3300 psi), maybe a bit more). It was a FANTASTIC dive! We swam around the entire island; it was wonderful.

Henry came up to me on the backside of the island and motioned he was low on air. Holy crap!! I still had 2200 psi left; he was down to less than 700. He must have been "sucking" some serious air!

Henry was a body builder, cut and chiseled in every dimension. I wasn't. His muscles were what we called "short" in the diving business. I was much larger (frame wise), but I'd been trained to swim (forever), and had what they called "long" muscles. The difference is the amount of oxygen your muscles burn.

We hit the surface about 4 miles off shore. Henry was out of air. I still had 1500 pounds left, but it was going to be a long, LONG, swim. And, the wind was blowing...and the tide was running against us.

It's probably one of the furthest swims I've ever had, but in the water you never fear, you just go. We both knew the boat had left. I think Henry got nervous about that though. I always knew we were going to have to swim back, but I guess he didn't

The wind was actually blowing surprisingly hard for that part of the world, but we were between two islands, and the tide was running. For a while I told Henry we needed to stay just below the surface (and to conserve his remaining air). We finned for a couple hundred yards and he was completely out of air (just completely). He was sucking O's so hard it was just amazing to me!

By this time we were out in the channel. The water was black, and there were whitecaps.

Henry was the baddest dude I ever knew, just a bullet proof tough guy body builder (Conan style)! Of all the dive training I'd been through, the one guy I never even imagined I'd have to rescue was Henry. What happened next still chills me to this day!

Henry came up, out of air, and said he was "done", he couldn't go on. Prior to this I wasn't particularly worried, it was just a long swim. Yeah, we had gear on, but we had fins biggie. Then Henry went vertical and started sucking water! I pulled him over and dragged him for a couple hundred yards, just to shame him. (C'mon, man...cowboy up!). When I stopped Henry said he was completely and utterly exhausted...and couldn't go on. Holy CRAP...this was getting serious!!!

It was much easier to swim underwater than above in the surf. I inflated Henry's BCD and tied a line through the back of it and swam on. On the surface, Henry, was a huge drag. I tried as hard as I could and made it for about another half a mile or so, but I was workin' hard (with the current and wind and all). It was like I was towing a big old bouy.

I was down to about 1000 psi, and I wasn't going lower. I was only just below the surface, but I wasn't going lower. Poor Henry was just a wreck, he was completely exhausted and cramping. All those big muscles were just useless to him. I sat there on the surface and looked at the lights off in the distance on the beach. I'd put my head below the surface and hear all these fishing boats, but I couldn't see any of them on the surface (none had any lights). It was one of the only times I got scared in the water. (I was a "fish" after all).

I sat there on the surface with Henry, I wasn't leaving him no matter what! I looked at the lights off in the distance and realized I'd swam all that way with my weight belt on. It takes a lot of weight for me. So I said screw it and cut my weight belt off, letting it fall to the bottom (dude left us, so he can suck it up for his belt, dammit!).

All my rescue diver training had mostly centered on dealing with problems at depth. Yes, swimming was important, but most of the really important skills were getting a diver to the surface and rendering aid on the surface, not swimming for miles. Seriously. open water, against the tide and night, in the dark.

Okay, time to toughen up myself. This wasn't fun anymore! I had to stop and take stock of the whole situation. Put about 5psi in my BCD, pulled Henry's regulator, cut his tank off, fully inflated his BCD, cut all his weight off, dropped everything I had, cut everything off Henry but his BCD, mask and fins (he was only semi conscious at this point, cooperative, but out of it.)

Now we swim, it or not. We SWIM!! C'mon, dude!! We swim long, and we swim HARD!! Otherwise we're gonna' drown out here tonight, the most beautiful place on Earth!! DAMMIT!! SWIM, dammit!

He was completely cramped up. Three fin strokes and he'd lock up and start flopping around, grabbing his legs and it was a mess. Okay, they said never give up...and I'm not gonna' give up now! Three miles to go.

"Henry, just relax...float on your back". Across the surface, through the current and the small whitecaps I dragged that big lug to the beach. I'm not sure I've ever been more tired in my life, but I did it. It was a REALLY long swim, not something I ever want to do again.

I fell asleep on the beach for about 3 hours, until daylight, but I woke up and was 'okay'. Henry, poor fellow, could barely walk for several days.

On a positive note, this really cute girl form Norway rolled my tired :censored: over and took my vest off and brought me a cup of some seriously great coffee. I think they liked Henry better.

Oh well.

(that was a really LONG swim)

edit on 10/1/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 01:40 AM
The water temp was about 78-80 degrees, and though this seems hot, it's actually pretty cold after a while.

By the time I got Henry to the beach he was pretty much hypothermic, I literally had to drag him out of the surf.

I was okay, simply because I'd been working my body so hard I'd been able to keep up my body heat until I got to the beach. 80 degree water!!!!

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 01:58 AM
P.S. I look back on this story, and it seems almost unbelievable to me today.

I can't even believe it happened really.

I'll just never forget bobbing on the surface looking at the lights on the beach off in the distance thinking how incredibly far away they were, and how hard (impossible) it was going to be to get there (even just myself, never thinking I'd have to drag Henry half the way the water)! one point, with the tide, I actually didn't think we'd make it. I even contemplated riding the current to some other distant island. I really did. Positive Mental Attitude is everything though! Just SWIM! It was really that hard.

ETA II...BTW, this is VERY much a true story. Kinda' boring probably, but true none the less.

edit on 10/1/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 02:18 AM
I got my first certification "Padi Basic SCUBA" in 1984 and I have logged about 1200 dives in all kinds of conditions. At night, in caves, wrecks, and even under the ice.

I've learned through long experience that relaxation is the key to stretching your air supply. I have seen many new or apprehensive divers burn through a tank in minutes and I would have 2500 lbs left in my tank. Once after about 18 months on the beach, I was going diving with son in the Dominican Republic, I was a little apprehensive about the long trip in a small boat to the dive site, the water was rough, we were diving a sea mount. To reassure his old man Jay said "Dad you will be fine when you get back into your element". He was right as usual. Smart kid for a 38 year old as I tough him to dive a 9.

I have never been left by the boat, and often dive from my own boat. So I am unsure how I would handle that at sea. My partners and I often talk about what to do if we are left behind considering some of the seeder operations we have used in Mexico and Jamaica.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 02:40 AM
I've never SCUBA, but as a 20 year free diver i will call absolute BS on your story.
Nothing adds up.
A weight belt is easier to drop than it is to unbuckle a seat belt.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 02:41 AM
a reply to: Nickn3

Had I not spent months diving in complete darkness and essentially zero visibility in the North Sea, freezing my backside off, I probably wouldn't have survived that night in Malaysia. To this day, I still wonder if I could still do that again...and it was only 20 years ago. I've seen worse, but not nearly as long. Man, that was one HARD swim that night!!!

I just remembered my rescue diver training. It wasn't the physical part I remembered as much as the mental part. I remembered how unbelievably difficult it was, but how absolutely vital the skills were. I remembered..."never give up, no matter how hard". Of all the things, like trying to render CPR on the surface, with no support, treading water, in the waves...never give up.

Yeah, I think we had to swim a half a mile or so (maybe 3/4) in full gear, but that part was easy. Things like airway and trauma in the water were exponentially more difficult (and I was an EMT too!).

I never saw anyone truly give up before that night. I'd been around people you could beat with a hammer all day and they wouldn't quit, tougher than me. I never thought I'd be faced with that moment...where someone truly just couldn't go on.

A life was in your (my) hands. (still troubles me, even though it worked out).

edit on 10/1/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 03:22 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk
Cool story bro. Though I do feel sorry for you buddy. You got to remember that muscle sinks, while fat floats, even if your average in build you would be a whole hell of a lot better off in open water, then if your some Goliath and 250 pounds of solid muscle in water, because that just means you got to carry that 250 pounds of weight that is constantly trying to drag you down and keep it afloat above water.

Basically strap some lead weight to you and try to swim, a 100 pound vest should let you get a hang for it. There is a reason why big heavy muscled dudes stay away from water. And why in strongman competitions or any sport requiring muscles or size there is no swimming or anything to have to do with water.

Also all muscle grows specifically for what you train for, your buddy being a body builder as you said, was trained for heavy but short periods of time, burning through oxygen real quick, and the more muscled you are the more oxygen you will burn through, while you more long and leaner well you get the picture, muscle grows and adapts specifically for one thing, that one thing being what you train or adapt to. If you want to run for miles and miles or swim, well there is such a thing as to much muscle, while in other things, the reverse would be true.

Its why those marathon runner who run over 30 miles are on average 110 pounds and nothing but skin and bones, and even most athletes don't put on to much muscle because they would gas out faster on the endurance part, the only exemption being certain sports and things, in swimming and long distance running muscle wont help you that much. In a strongman competition or even street fight which generally last a min or few seconds, it may be a different story, or other such sports, and in those things size does matter, but outside of it? Well! If you know what I am saying. And even then it depends.

Poor guy must have burned through all his oxygen and once the lactic acid hits, in water, oh ya cramp time and then his muscles must have locked up. Kind of like when you try to do the bridge and touch your toes in water. Its a miracle he survived, that he had help.

I was thinking of becoming a diver once, but I swim like a rock, no joke, I have to fight to even stay afloat, though it depends were, on the sea were the salt content is high, I can just float on my back like a reed, but in lakes? It ain't so much swimming as a constant fight not to sink.

Though with my luck if I was in that situation in the middle of the sea, I would probably get attacked by a giant squid or who the hell knows. Stranger things have happened. Anyways the moral of the story is, stay away from octopi and squids, you never know what there going to do, and were in the open ocean they may creep out, it is there domain after all. And they are a lot smarter then they look, they can track things, including people.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 04:05 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Yeah, I think we had to swim a half a mile or so (maybe 3/4) in full gear

Though that sounds quite a bit but myself and my spearfishing buddy had a much longer although shorter in length swim .To give some idea there is a picture from google maps below . The circled bit is an rocky outcrop that only goes under water at high tide .

Anyhow we were spearing around the edges of this rock and i poke my head up to see where my mate was . I was quite close to the rock and upon looking for him there was a fin in the water that was way to large to be a bronze whaler . A quick look under the water confirmed this . Anyhow the mate was quite close and i called him and told him to swim over to the rock very gently . He swam over and said whats up and i just pointed . Now we had seen sharks before , not often but on occasion but we would cut any fish we had shot loose . Back to the rock . As i stated above the rock goes under water at low tide and here we had a big fin hanging around . Well eventually the shark moved on and as there were no boats any where near we had to swim back to shore . Only 200 meters you say . Longest 200 meters of my life . The water was a consistent 2-3 meters all the way and i am sure i almost got whiplash with all the looking for the shark . It never turned up and i was pretty damn glad about that . Now you might say , you wimp its only a shark . I would say to you , hop in the water with a great white , with no protection .
edit on 1-10-2016 by hutch622 because: (no reason given)

ETA , if you want to see where this was google wallaroo and go to the point just north .
edit on 1-10-2016 by hutch622 because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 06:14 AM
Man you both had serious luck that there wasn´t a drag current. This is why I always, really always have my signal gun with me.

Where was your future wife? Why didn´t she protest and why didn´t she get another boat to get out there? I suppose you both had flashlights. You would never drown if your jacket is inflated, you´d probably die because of dehydration and hypothermia. Every jacket can be inflated with the mouth. Before you drown, a shark will probably test out if you´re a good meal.

CMAS since 1992. At some point in time I got lazy with the numbering and just filled in the necessary fields. Some really are not out there for the experience but filling their logbook. I saw freshman divers with 30 dives behave better than the ones with 100+. The attitude of some PADI instructors I´ve learned to know is something I can´t stand, really. None of the ones I met were fit enough to do the CMAS test. Throw all your stuff into the water around 10-15m, put on your lead belt and get down there to put it together. Then your dive starts.. In fact one PADI dive master (!) nearly killed us all. Everything went wrong, not completly her fault but I was doing deco with 30bar left at 7m and my computer showed 25min DECO time / 6 minutes of air. She went up, without doing DECO and went into her cabin. If not for the crew (god bless them) that instantly knew something is wrong and got us some fresh bottles down there, 5 people would have had serious problems. The next day the dive base was closed, she didn´t make it to the chamber fast enough.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 06:22 AM
a reply to: hutch622

I was snorkeling and following a turtle that was around 5m depth, I was nearly exaclty above it, when I saw a shadow and my thirst impression was that it´s a bullshark. As it turned up and opened it´s mouth to get the turtle showing the finger long teeth, I realized it was aiming for the turtle and that it´s a Giant grouper(Epinephelus lanceolatus). That mouth was so big, I would have fit in there vertically without even touching. It scared the # out of me as I went off to the side over the roof of the reef, it decided the turtle was a little bit too big and turned away

That thing was at least 3m long. Others saw it too.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 09:28 AM
a reply to: randomtangentsrme

Which is all I did.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 09:30 AM
I did NAUI certification awhile back and have dove at most of the islands in the Caribbean. I liked the Caymans and BVI the best.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 09:57 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Cool story man

I spent a couple of months on Tioman in 2002, oh the memories your post has brought back, such a beautiful island.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 08:33 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Most of the really tuff skills are mostly mental. As you know anything that happens at depth has to be handled under water until a controls ascent can be arraigned. I have been injured a few time mostly cuts and stings once even electric shock and it's all about the training and mental control. A diver that can handle the dark with failing lights, or lots of shark or humboldt squid and not panic is the kind of diver I want for my buddy.
Another cool fact I find women are often as good a diver as men.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 08:36 PM
a reply to: randomtangentsrme
Correct, pull the belt away from your body to arms length and drop. Cut away is a slang turm in some circles describing dropping weights or gear.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 08:46 PM
Great story! I thought with all the 'darkness' I might have panic attack just reading it. I took lessons, and even in the Olympic size swimming pool, when the instructor put aluminum foil over our masks with a hole or two punched in it so we could see what it was like to dive in murky water, I almost freaked out. I hated it. I like the nice bright sunlight at 30 feet, and see all the little fishes and corals. That's my speed.

You are a brave one! Plus with an exhausted person. God.

But I don't get it. What's the fun of diving in darkness? You can't see anything cool. You like being disoriented and frightened, or what? And oh, that idiot that left you. God lord, I hope you tracked him down and beat his ass.

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 09:16 PM
You see things in the water at night which you don't see during the day. ALL the fishes are out. EVERYTHING is alive! Night diving is the best of all diving!

Yes, it's a bit skeery sometimes, especially with the big fish (not all sharks either). We dove once at night off the edge of a deep water ridge. The water off the ridge was about 2,000 meters deep. The dive boat missed the ridge when we went in. We were in deep (blue) water. We spotted the ridge (reef) we wanted to dive and it was about 400 meters from where we entered the water. All of a sudden we got into a school of Tuna. Fish the size of a small car, who weigh 200-500 pounds. They swim like bullets, howitzer shells actually! They didn't even care about us, they were just looking for small fish to feed on...which were attracted by our lights. I've dove with sharks many times, but that experience with the Tuna was probably one of the skeery-ier ones!! They would shoot by, out of the darkness, these huge fish, swimming 60-70 mph. If one of these fish hit you it would be fatal. It was amazing how fast they were. Black on the top, and silver on the bottom. From above you couldn't see them, and from below you couldn't either! All of a sudden a 400 lb rocket would shoot by you so fast it would spin you around.

They were everywhere, above us, below us, beside us...criss-crossing up, down and all around us. I've never seen as nimble of a fish as a Tuna in open water. It's no wonder they're so big!!!

edit on 10/1/2016 by Flyingclaydisk because: grammar

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 09:28 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Do you carry lights? (Oh wait, just saw that in your post, nvm)

Oh. And wasn't your girlfriend terrified to leave you? Didn't she object? (Sorry, I can't get over them leaving you. I really think that was criminal.)

You must be an "adrenalin junkie'.
edit on 10/1/2016 by angeldoll because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 1 2016 @ 09:32 PM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Then you are lucky to be alive. (Tuna hit - could be fatal.)

You should STOP this AT ONCE. Sooo freaking scary.

posted on Oct, 2 2016 @ 05:02 AM
a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Where was your future wife? Why didn´t she protest and why didn´t she get another boat to get out there? I suppose you both had flashlights. You would never drown if your jacket is inflated, you´d probably die because of dehydration and hypothermia. Every jacket can be inflated with the mouth. Before you drown, a shark will probably test out if you´re a good meal.

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