Surfaced In A Storm Pt. 2
We last left off in the middle of what was slowly becoming a search & rescue operation for a group of divers off the Florida coast. A serious storm moved in while we were in the water. Four groups went in... only three were pulled out.
By this time we were looking for the fourth group for well over 10 minutes. The divers on the boat spread out so that we were able to cover a full 360 degree around the dive boat. The dive boat was engaged in a circular search pattern in hopes that one of the divers standing at the boats edge would be able to spot either the divers or their flag.
The seas were rough, the winds were strong and the boat being pushed to its max. The dive master asked the ships captain to call for a second dive boat to help us with the search. The second vessel was at least 10 minutes out.
Back in the ole’ days (prior to the reign of the evil empire) - a search and rescue operation would have really exited me. By this point, I would have asked for maritime charts and using GPS would have mapped out an appropriate search pattern for both vessels. I am well trained for this type of operation and could rely on my vast experience with rescue and EMS command.
But this rescue occurred post-republic when the most important thing to me was to prepare for the next dive. I have saved enough lives - I was there to dive. But lets face it - it makes good reading.
Before the second dive boat arrived a lady sitting down in the middle of the boat casually raised her arm and yelled “there they are.” I found it quite ironic: 8 gun-ho divers standing at all points of the dive boat doing everything they can to find the missing diver s.... and the missing divers were found by someone who was sitting down not even appearing to be paying attention.
The boat headed to the divers and the dive master threw them a line with ring float. The currents were so strong it took three divers to pull them to the boat’s dive platform. Once back on board - no one spoke of what happened - like it never occurred. Everyone was very quiet - which is very unusual after a dive.
With all divers back on board.... we headed back into port to end the morning dives. A quick switch of equipment and divers and we were back on the water within an hour for a great afternoon of diving.