Veteran’s Park, Redondo Beach, CA
I dove as a safety diver with Instructor John’s Open Water class of five and returning students Bonnie and Clyde, who were there for “more experience.”*
In With: 2100 psi
Out With: 1900 psi
Max depth: 20 feet
Waves: 1-3 feet
Visibility: 10 feet but getting shittier
Water Temperature: Warm
Total Bottom Time: 10 minutes or so
Notable Event: Dealing with a diver near panic, unable to swim against a current.
*The names of students have been changed, probably because I don’t remember them to begin with.
So now the students get to SCUBA dive.
Leeza turned back in because of nerves.
There was a strong current going North towards the pier; it usually goes the other way.
All but Leeza made it through the surf zone.
I was the first to submerge; the rest were suppose to follow.
Lurch, Young Hottie, Bonnie and Clyde made it down.
John was having problems getting Pedro and Green Horn down.
We were all waiting in pretty crappy visibility that was getting worse because the students were stirring the bottom up.
After ten minutes of waiting, I signaled for everyone to surface.
John called the dive because of the current; we were getting closer and closer to the pier.
Pedro was trying to dog paddle against the current.
I told him that I would tow him; he rolled over on his back; I grabbed his tank and started towing him.
After a minute, Pedro yelled, “Stop! Stop! I can’t breath when you do that!”
I let go.
Pedro started to dog paddle against the current, floating towards the pier.
I said, “I need to tow you if you can’t beat the current, you’re going in to the pier.”
I grabbed his tank again and started towing him.
Pedro yelled, “Please stop that! I’m having trouble breathing when you do that!”
By this time, John had made sure everyone else was on shore and dove back in the water and swam over to Pedro.
John grabbed Pedro and started towing him.
Pedro did his, “Oh, stop please I can’t breathe!” routine.
John held on to him and yelled, “God damn it Pedro! Don’t you dare panic on me! Do exactly as I say.”
John continued to tow him.
Once close to shore John yelled instructions to Pedro, who was sort of combative.
I was exhausted.
I think it was a combination of no breakfast and a hang over.
John later told me, “When someone who is near panic won’t respond to a calm and rational voice, just start cussing at them.
“Maybe they’ll be more afraid of you than drowning.”