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February 1999 Vol. 14, No. 2   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Thumbs Down Keel Hauled

from the February, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Thumbs Down Keel HauledWhen I first saw a comment from reader Teresa Yent (Raleigh NC) about how she “always thought that divers had the best etiquette around,” I was inclined to agree. We’re a “help your fellow diver” bunch by and large, but Yent’s story of a night dive gone awry sounds like the exception to the rule. Her North Carolina group was spending a week at CoCo View on Roatán last May in the midst of a full-fledged sea lice outbreak. Yent says that she “wished we had read your sea lice article before we went. They were terrible!” (For readers who missed the article the first time around, the full text is posted on Undercurrent’s web page at Undercurrent.)

According to readers Keith Young and John Murphy, the group was looking for CoCo View’s strobe and spent 20 minutes following a couple of lights before they spotted a strobe, surfaced, and found themselves alongside Peter Hughes’ Wind Dancer with their boat nowhere in sight. With four to five foot waves in pitch-black seas, the group of six lost divers asked the Wind Dancer crew for permission to come aboard, but were met with a less-than-heartening “no, stay away.” After 20 minutes, the Wind Dancer crew decided to tow them back for what turned out to be a 20-minute ride. Young lost one of a $150 pair of flippers, and the prop heaved a seaful of sea lice up under the v-necks of everyone’s hoods and inside their dive skins and masks. Murphy estimated that he received at least 800 stings, enough that he reported his body stinging all over and shaking like a leaf. He had nausea and dysentery the rest of the week.

No one offered any explanations or entertained the group’s complaints, but to my way of thinking, it wouldn’t have taken the world’s best etiquette to have figured out a better solution to the problem.

— J.Q.

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