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All's Well that Ends Well…
I guess it is the ultimate diver's nightmare, to come up from a dive to
find your boat is nothing more than a tiny dot on the horizon. Well this
recently happened to a couple of divers here in Sharm, where it is easy
to become lulled into a false sense of security by our flat, warm waters.
But even then, and even when all the usual safety precautions have been
taken (ie. carrying SMBs, Mirrors, etc) mother nature still rules the
roost, and you can still get caught unawares.
I first heard about the incident via the incredible Sharm grapevine, by
which time the story had developed waaaay beyond reality, however the
fact of the matter was that at that time two divers had gone missing off
Shag rock and that the seach was about to be called off with no sign of
success. Grief, sobering news.
Of course we now know that Andy and Milly, two experienced divers based
here in the Sinai, managed to shelter in a wreck that they found upon
a reef nearby having drifted in open water (just like the movie!) for
four hours. Even then, things were not easy, as they were suffering from
the cold, dehydration and were not clearly visible whilst inside the sheltering
Once again chance would have it that a local fishing fellucca had also chosen to use this reef to shelter from the unusually strong weather and having looked out at just the right moment,
the couple were able to gain their attention and hitch a ride back to safety. Meanwhile half of Sharm was devastated, fearing the worst.
As can be read in November's Dive Magazine, neither the crew of the liveaboard,
nor the divers were at fault here, with all the correct proceedures being
followed, however just on occasion, nature really does get the chance
to show us who is boss. Of course this doesn't mean that taking these
precautions is worthless, otherwise this kind of story would be a much
more common tale. Apparently, early on in the dive there was a problem, and the couple got caught in a drift pulling them away from the reef, and away from their expected exit point. Hence even their SMB's were not visible to the crew when they decided to abort the dive.
As a guide out here, as we are coming into the winter
months with rougher seas (ok not quite the North Sea, I admit) and with
the sun hanging low in the sky on that last dive of the day, I am only
too aware of how a couple of divers look like a couple of tiny black marbles
as they ascend from a dive. So it is DSMBs all around in my opinion. You
don't even need to learn to use a reel, just a simple inflatable that
can be sent up once on the surface, can make such a difference.
Anyway, whilst I do not know them personally, as a fellow diver and friend of friends, my heartfelt relief goes out to
both Milly and Andy that they found refuge, used their common sense and were brought back relatively unscathed, all things considered.
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