Terryfying Event 50′ to Deep but 50′ to Shallow Scuba diving is something my dad loves to do, I like it to. It was no small suprise when my dad took me on a scuba trip the summer I got my scuba certification, I was 12. We went to Cozumel Mexico, and in case you did not know this is considered the “diving capitol of the world”. The only problem is that a lack of experience in any field, no matter how pretty the view is, can be terrifying. The dive itself was a easy drift dive (I say easy 4 years and 30 dives later) all you have to do was go down drift along look at the pretty fish and enjoy the ride while the boat hovers along above.
This was no problem for the other people, as they got down. I on the other hand I had a head cold. [Before you can understand what this means you must first understand some basic principals. Water is heavier than air. The space inside your middle ear is filled with air, under normal conditions air flows slowly between your middle ear and pharynx, through your Eustachian tube.
This movement of air equalizes pressure between you middle ear (tympanic cavity) and the atmosphere. As water is heavier than air, the pressure change is also “heavier”, meaning that above the water you can ascend or descend hundreds of feet before the pressure change becomes noticeable. Under the water however the change is much more dramatic, (this is rough and the figure changes as you get deeper or shallower) ergo, 500′ in the air is equivalent to the pressure change of 20′ in the water. Now, add on to this equation a head cold (the Eustachian tube is clogged with mucus) and the fact that I am a 12 year old inexperienced diver.] I got down all right, just like everyone else. For the first 50′. I realized then that I could not equalize and there for could not descend further withought pain or serious ear damage.
Picture me hanging there arms out like a sky diver looking down at the other people 50′ below me, the boat 50′ above me. It could have been the greatest thrill of my life flying along underwater, letting the current push me steadily along looking at the mountains of coral below me, sun glinting along the water surface above me. I was flying, the only problem was I did not want to be there right then. I wanted to either be up on the boat or down with the rest of the people. It was terrifying. Me cursing along 50′ above 50′ below, if I went up to they boat I thought I would have been called “chicken”, and would of ruined the dive for the other people.
If I went down I could have hurt my ears badly. So I tried unsuccessfully to tell the people I could not equalize. Picture me now terry eyed, folting 50′ above them, looking up at my siliout as I flapped my arms stupidly, pointing at my head. They either understood or not, but I was still floating along terrified, remembering the “shark week” on discovery channel, wishing I was any where but where I was, suspended in the crystal clear blue water, crying my head off with no one to hear me. I eventually (only about 10 min, but it felt like eternity!) was able to equalize and joined them at the bottom, red eyed , but happy.
When asked about it on the surface I said my mask had leaked and the salt water had bothered my eyes. And as to them not coming up to see what was wrong, the dive master said huskily “Only one way to learn boy, got to do it your self”. English Essays.