View Full Version : Shallow water blackout
10-26-2004, 08:28 PM
I have had three instances, all different situations,that were bad. One could have been fatal, If not for my buddy.
The first one occurred when I was very young and new to diving. I was certified, but had'nt done much diving. I was maybe thirteen. My family was vacationing at Big Pine Key. One day we were exploring American shoal, looking for lobster and whatever else we could eat for dinner that night. The boat was anchored and I was freediving around. Dan Armstrong, father's friend was on scuba, and using a dacor underwater scooter to hunt around. I recall the depth was around 25- 30 feet. I was following Dan as he was scooting through a coral ridge. I had dove down to the bottom a few times and was swimming pretty hard. Didn't realize but I was probly building alot of waste gas and depleting my blood of Oxygen. On one of the drops I saw a lobster as Dan scooted right past it. I posted up my net and tickle stick and swiped it from the bottom. I remember that on my way up my legs were burning like mad. As I sat at the surface I got a few breaths and was fooling around with the lobster. Suddenly the lobster escaped and shot back to the bottom. Almost instantly I dove after it and made it to the bottom, chased it a few feet and scooped it. At this point I was really depleted. On the way up I could barely get my legs to kick, the burning had taken over my legs and was working to my arms and chest. Luckily I did make it to the surface. After that I always made sure that I didn't push my oxygen reserves to much. I was really young and had never been through that before.
10-26-2004, 08:59 PM
This was the really bad situation. I was frediving M7, an artificial reef in about 50fsw. Vis was awesome that day and I was in the water with Spear, and Mario. Mario had gotten back in the boat and Spear and I were still hunting. About the same time, we saw a giant AJ. Very unusual for them to be there. I wanted it bad. We both went down on it the same time. This biggun was on the bottom. I quartered towards it and made it to the bottom before Spear. I was pushing hard swimming deeper than I had all day. It was still a bit out of shooting range and I swam towards it. I knew that I was pushing my limits at this point. I had no idea how long I was under at the time, in retrospect I was under for over a minute. I caught up with the jack and stuck it behind the gillplate, trying to stone it. I did not stone it and it took me for a long ride. I tried to swim up but the fish had so much power that it dragged me along the bottom. My gun at the time was an abellette with a single flapper head. Thank god that head pulled out of the fish! At this point I was really burning, been down almost two minutes, swimming the whole time. As I limply floated to the surface with feeble kicks, I could feel my lungs burning and squeezing. My legs were done, my arms were done, my chest was done. Everything faded to black. Luckily, Spear was right above me. He later told me that I made it to the surface, but did not purge my snorkel. At that point he lifted my head out of the water and I inhaled. I could have easily inhaled water. If he was not RIGHT there I would not be here today.I vomitted in the water and slowly made my way to the dive platform.
After that incident I decided I would not freedive and be that reckless any longer. I was lucky to be alive, and Spear was lucky he didn't lose his best bud. I limited my freediving to lobster in water less than 30 feet and the same for spearing. I didn't want to get drug by anything big, and I didn't want to Push myself when digging in holes for bugs. When in doubt I would tank up. Much safer!
After that Spear whacked the jack and brought it to the boat. funny thing was he did not shoot his pnuematic! He had poked it with his gun and grabbed it by the tale! Mario and I pulled it into the boat. Spear was telling us that the gun had jammed and he hadn't been able to fire. Just then the fish went off and flopped so much the gun went off! The shaft was pointed at the bottom of the boat, and when it went off the handle and barrel flew into the air! At this point I clubbed that beast with the fish bat until it twitched not a bit. That was the first and last time he ever used a pnuematic gun.
10-26-2004, 09:23 PM
This one is the least of the three, still potentially dangerous.
Spear and I were diving a long ledge in thirty feet of water off Venice. We where diving off a hookah rig and had been down awhile, it was our first dive of the day. The ledge was really long, lkie two hundred yards. this ledge had everything, cobia, gags, lots of snapper, hogs, lobster, jewfish, nurse sharks,and lots of bait. There was alot going on and we both lost track of time. I was rooting around under a section of ledge for some bugs deep in the undercut. they were just out of arms reach. I laid on my back and got my head under the edge of the ledge, with my arm above, reaching far. I had a grab at the bugs and they retreated deeper. I wiggle my midsection under the ledge and reached again. This time I got one. was able to get it to my bag even though the space was tight. I was going for another when I noticed there was less volume of air in my breath throught he hookah hose. My next breath was almost nothing. OH CRAP! No big worry I had a full breath and I knew I could get to the top with that breath, but first I needed to get out of the ledge. I was shimmying out when my stringer caught on a rock. I got that free, then my bug bag got caught. Not pannicking, but moving quickly I freed myself and started to ascend. I was not exhaling too much and making a normal ascent. Finally I got to the surface and I saw that Spear was already up. made my way to the boat, Spear was like, Dude you were down forever! I was worried about you!
Somehow when we thought the motor was full of gas it was not. Looking back on it I chalk it up to negligence, I should have made damn sure that deal was slap full of gas.
I have been extremely lucky during my bulletproof younger years when I would party all night and dive all day. Now after experience and much learning I realize that I am definitely not bulletproof and The little things can get you. Always look out for the little things and the big things will take care of themselves!
11-01-2004, 02:58 PM
Stainless you are one luck SOB and also lucky to have a good partner with you.
Point - remove snorkel when starting dive this does several things, first it allows you to swallow your first breath which makes you in turn relax your mouth. More muscles relaxed =longer dive time. Second when returning to the surface if you don't have enough air to clear your snorkel you don't have to worry about it because its to the side and you can simply just breath. Third if you blackout on the way to the surface and you break the surface you may be able to breath on your own or your partner doesn't have to worry about taking the snorkel out of your mouth or the snorkel isn't full of water in your mouth when you wake up.
No snorkel in mouth while freediving!
If you had a float line connected to you, you might have not even thought of dropping your weight belt. When your legs are burning and you can't barely move them it time to ditch the weight. Wether you have a float line or not ditch the weight! Better to be alive then to loose $20 - $30 bucks on a weight belt and weights.
For a while I used a Inflatable vest when diving deep. When I spent too much time on the bottom and my legs were burning I'd inflate the vest which would assist my accent. About 70-90 bucks at West marine.
Just some thoughts -
11-01-2004, 06:07 PM
Thanx i'll definitely use those techniques!
vBulletin® v3.8.1, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.