Surfaced In A Storm Pt. 1
Several days ago while diving it was very cold. The air temperature was in the lower 60’s with a 10 - 15 mph wind. Jumping into the 76 degree ocean, from the dive boat, felt like jumping into a hot tub.....only, there was no hot chick by my side - and I was wearing a different type of protection . We quickly descended into “warm enough” water. It was “warm enough” because anything was better than being out in the open air on the dive boat - it was freezing up on the surface.
The dive was amazing. Things were beautiful.
Upon returning to the surface it was immediately apparent that things were not as we left them. South Florida is famous for storms that appear out of nowhere - and this was one of them. We were in waves four to five feet high. The waves were so high we could not see the boat unless we were at a high point of a wave. We had a dive flag - I activated my signal strobe on my vest to aid the dive boat in locating us.
A few minutes seemed to pass, then out of nowhere the safari diver appeared to pick us up. A remaining challenge was getting into the dive boat with waves as high as they were. I was only slammed into the dive boat ladder 2 or 3 times.
Now that I got back on board - something else became evident - we were not the last group to be picked up. There was still a group of divers missing. Four groups went off with their own flags - three were back on board.
With no idea which direction, the distance or even if the other group had surfaced yet - each diver on the ship peered out into the distance looking for the missing groups flag. The fourth group was considered “unfound” - well at least for the first few minutes. As minute by minute passed, and the dive boat continued its search pattern it became clear that the boat crew and other divers were starting to get nervous. While we were not too far from shore, the waves were high and the current was very strong,.... strong enough to quickly overcome a diver.
We should have been able to see the divers flag from the surface - even if the divers were still underwater, the flag remains floating away at the surface. The divers have a reel and line attached to the float underwater. With the ocean waves crashing over the stern of the dive boat, and no flag in sight... things started to get more and more tense as time passed. Eventually the dive master and ship captain started quietly talking about calling for a second dive boat to assist in the “location” of the missing divers.
The dive boat was making hugh circles at top speeds hoping to find the diver s. This was quite the search pattern I must say. One would think with a boat full of divers, that one of us would be able to locate the fourth groups flag.
More to be continued very soon..... stay tuned to find out if the fourth group was ever recovered ---- ALIVE! (of course they were).