Night Dive Surprise

I am an instructor with an unnamed association, a divemaster with another and an adv/EANx, decompression procedures with another. Who cares? Exactly. Just shingles to hang on the study wall. Looks impressive though.

I would like to share a night dive with you. I was assisting a new instructor on her first advanced course and this was the students first night dive experience (by coincidence my last). We were at St. Leonard's pier and had six students in the water. It was a pleasant night and all were keen for some fun.

We had nearly reached the end of the pier when I noticed one of the students making his way to the surface. So far during the course this bloke had appeared a pretty level headed sort of person, so I signaled to the instructor to keep going with the group and that I would see to our friend up top. I surfaced along side of him and asked if everything was all right. He calmly showed me that the lens had fallen out of his mask and asked what he could do as he wanted to finish the dive. Well after a bit of fiddling around with his mask I felt something gradually tightening around my legs and waist. 'Bloody fishing line' was my first thought and I went back to fixing level headed student's mask. Just as quickly as the lens had fallen out, it just popped straight back into place. I said to our friend that due to the circumstances that we should end the dive and head back in.'Before you go could you please have a look under the water and see if you can see if it is fishing line that has wrapped around my legs?' He agreed and put his regulator in his gob and started to descend.

No sooner had he gone under the water than his regulator came flying out of his mouth along with some very audible expletives. He then pushed me away and started free styling like the clappers in the opposite direction. So much for level headed. Helpful bastard I thought to myself. I then shone my torch into the water to see if I could see what was going on and these bloody shiny, beady eyes reflected straight back at me from chest height. Well, I got such a fright that I nearly s..t my wetsuit! A big, and I mean BIG, black stingray at least fourteen feet between the eyes was partially wrapped around me! What to do? PANIC is always a good option. 'Can't do that. Level head has already beaten me to that trick!' Just then the light must have been too bright for my cuddly little buddy and he just let go and swam away. It was either the bright light or the smell that was surely coming out of my wetsuit by now that scared him. Whatever, I was pretty relieved that he had decided to leave.

Anyone on St. Leonard's pier that night could have been forgiven for thinking that the Queenscliff light house had fallen from its mount and landed under the pier, because on the way back in I had a torch in every hand and one in my gob shining in all directions making sure that 'Blackie' didn't come back looing for another cuddle.

After a record swim across the top of the water, and an equally impressive climb up the sixty degree embankment back to the car park, with fins still on, I casually put my gear in the back of my van and wondered how the student had got his gear into the van because I had left it locked. I had fears of him ripping doors off or something. He had found the key and wasn't moving out of the passenger side for any reason! I cautiously asked if he had seen anything interesting on his dive? He was very quiet for the rest of the week-end and we both agreed that we wouldn't say anything.

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