You have to do safety stops when you ascend (ascend 10-15 feet, chill out for 3-5 minutes, keep ascending), after a certain depth (about 25 metres/80 ft, mandatory at 100 ft) ’cause of plenty reasons including decompression sickness – “the bends,” ruptured blood vessels, joint pain, paralysis and other fun stuff including straight up, death. The pressure underwater contracts your lungs and if you go up fast or if you don’t make safety stops, your lungs could pop and it’s instant death OR you can still make it to the boat, discombobulated, and die within seconds or minutes.
Also, are certain hand signals you learn for diving since we can’t talk underwater. From my understanding, I was to pair with the Belgian and my travel buddy (ex) with the divemaster.
My partner was busy taking photos underwater, which was cool, up until I started signaling that I was low on air and we need to go up. We all carry an extra/emergency regulator so I swam towards him, in hopes that he could spare some air and get us both to safety. My supply was getting close to the red part of the indicator (at where we were, I had just the right cut to get me back up, which is better than short but still no good).
The spot we went to wasn’t too great at the time: it was an overcast day, there was a current nearby, anemone particles in the water – all factors which lessen visibility.
Before we went in, during the briefing, we were told that sharks come by every now and then, which I was both excited and nervous about; they’re less likely to attack groups of people. I’ve only ever seen a couple of baby hammerheads that were about a foot long, which we swam away from ’cause we feared the protective mother. But sharks supposedly just kinda swim around and mind their own business up until they get hungry. Even then they prefer fish so don’t wear anything shiny that could be mistaken as fish scales underwater. They get curious, “Oh hey that’s new. I wonder what it is? I’ll take a nibble and find out…” 🤔
Anyway, I started swimming closer towards my partner, when something started tugging my fins. I looked back and saw nothing, “Uh OK. Maybe I just hit something,” shrugged it off and kept going.
I was trying to calm myself down. I needed to save oxygen and freaking out isn’t really conducive to that.
I felt the tug again… a couple times this time. I looked around and did a 360 to check. Still nothing.
The “occasional sharks” started entering my thoughts but it wasn’t so exciting at this point.
I felt the tug again. This time around, it pulled me at least about a foot backward.
For a couple of seconds, I was in pure fear, “Fuck! I’m about to get eaten alive!”
I screamed until I felt a tap on my shoulder.
To my relief, it was my friend, the divemaster.
He gave me his emergency regulator and said, muffled underwater but I heard it very clearly, “I got you.”
We all partied that night as usual.
I still dive to this day.
All in a day’s work.