The importance of a buddy
Contributed by Mellow
Recently a group of us went down south of Perth for a boys week of diving and to finish of our advanced course. Most of us have been diving for many years and have logged over a couple of hundred dives. We arrived on the Monday afternoon and arranged a night dive on the Busselton jetty, this was the first time any of us had dive the jetty.
Once we submerged, we realised that we had been missing something for many years, fantastic was the common word out of our mouths when we finished, the depth was around 8 metres and the vis was just as much at night, the live coral and fish life is incredible. For the non diver, there is an observation deck being constructed at the end of the jetty to take advantage of such a beautiful sight.
When we got back into our boat, we were worse than kids on Xmas morning, every body was talking at once, what a way to start a week of diving, the very first dive was great. The next day was our deep dive on the HMAS SWAN dive wreck at Dunsborough, this was another great dive, however we didn't have much time to look around once we finished our deep task, so up to the top mast for a safety stop, back in the boat and another round of childish chatter, onto the shallows to do some navigation work and then to a well deserved beer. So far the week is getting better and better.
The week kept on getting better and better, the last night we decided to do the SWAN at night, we all prepared and full of confidence down we went, by this time we were still on the high of a great week, but gladly still experienced enough to ensure we did everything safely.
About half way through the dive, one of the guys was inside a compartment with his buddy close by, it was pretty dark and their lights where just glowing enough to penetrate the silt and dark. It was time to leave the compartment when Steve breathed out ready for another breath, then bang, his hose blew out at the 2nd stage which blew the reg out of his mouth and into the distance, he reached for his occy, however when the hose blew out it almost instantaneously emptied his bottle, in the dark, torches quite dim, buddy exiting the compartment, not a good time, Steve looked around at got a quick sight of his buddies fins leaving the compartment and quickly grabbed his buddies leg and reefed him back in and basically attacked him grabbing his occy.
As Steve said he was nearly out of air as this happened as he was breathing out, nothing left in his lungs. I have read many articles about bad buddies and diving on your own, well this is a great add for staying with your buddy, if Steve had been on his own or couldn't find his buddy within a couple of seconds, you would be reading this in the papers as a diving accident.
When we all surfaced we discussed the accident and the alternatives we could of done if the buddy couldn't of been found. This dive came at the end of a great week diving and one that went without incident until this time. By this time we were all quite confident in the water and at ease with what we were doing, however it bought it back to us very quickly that if you are not on your guard, things can go wrong very quickly.
Apart from Steve's scary moment, we did have a bit of a laugh when Steve described the size of his buddies eyes in his face mask when he was unceremoniously hauled back into a dark compartment by his feet