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Friday, September 6, 2013

Rotan Wall dive

    A dive vacation in Rotan, with two dives every day, one morning deep dive and one swallow afternoon five, we had decided to skip the night dives. This was the dive vacation where I perfected my SIT technique. Saturation Interval Time (SIT) is used to allow for the out gassing of nitrogen accumulated when diving at depth. SUBA diving is an inherently dangerous sport, 100 feet below the waves is not a natural environment for humans, we would not last long without training and rules. The rules of diving are not really rules, they are survival tactics, these are not rules you can break without consequence, and following your SIT guidelines when diving two times a day becomes deadly important. In Rotan I marked off the SIT requirement in a Hammock with a book in one hand and a drink close to the other hand. This worked so well I keep the pattern even when not diving.
     The dive hotel in Rotan provided dives, food, drink and sleeping quarters. A packaged dive vacation with everything provided by professional staff, this was my first packaged dive vacation. I have a preference for diving far from the tourist, making my own way; usually I would select an underwater destination while in American then make it happen.
     The hotel was in the rain forest and had “tame” monkeys running the manicured grounds, wild animals that had found an easy living. My future wife and then current dive partner was playing with one of the monkeys, feeding it scraps or something. The monkey hugged her, then clutched her and would not let go. The monkey was attached around her neck, firmly attached around her neck, and growled at me when I came close, displaying teeth and claws. There was terror in her eyes and the staff came running. The whole situation had become frightening. She did the right thing and did not panic, one diving rule that is constantly practiced is don’t panic. Panic kills when underwater. One of the female staff coached the monkey free and took it, and my dive partner was ready to strangle me for bringing her on such a dangerous outing into the middle of a jungle.
     All was made well with the wall dive of the next morning. An underwater cliff rising a thousand feet from the sea floor to a plateau thirty feet below the surface, miles long and covered with aquatic life. A geological anomaly and a diving wonder, this was a dive I had long wished to add to my dive log. Years later I can close my eyes and still see the wall, endless and overwhelming, floating before the wall you feel insignificant, a witness to life adapting to any condition. I felt like a sparrow flying by a skyscraper, coasting up and down, fluttering in and out before this underwater cliff, with every piece of real estate covered by coral, every crevice occupied by a moray ell, or a lobster or a fish.
     Crazed monkeys on land and starved moray ells in the water, what a great vacation.

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