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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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September 2000 Vol. 26, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Left at Sea

from the September, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Two British divers in the Red Sea were left behind when a dive boat from Emperor Divers headed to port without them. They swam to a reef, hailed boats, and eventually got spotted. Why were they abandoned? Two divers on the boat were named Paul. When a guide asked if “Paul” was back, someone replied “yes,” and they headed home. The other Paul was left at sea.

Another strike against informal head counts. Another reason divers get left at sea is that the boat topside is empty. In July, two Florida divers set their anchor on a submerged boat off Jacksonville and went merrily on their way. But, the swells yanked the boat loose and “the anchor went flying up like a skyrocket,” said Ralph Bledsoe, 50. His buddy, Paul Bryant, 42, grabbed the anchor but it pulled him up so fast his mask blew off his face. He let go. By the time they surfaced, their boat was drifting away. They lashed themselves together, and for the next 30 hours they talked and tried to sleep. Bryant said his greatest fear was hitting the Gulf Stream.

As they drifted the next day, they tried to flag down a commercial fishing boat, but were not spotted. Eventually, the Coast Guard rescued them, after being alerted by Bryant’s wife. They were treated for sunburn and dehydration.

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