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Rescue Me!

Nov 13, 2009

Location: Green Island, Antigua
Author: Jenny
Today we woke up with much anticipation as we officially start the in-water part of our Rescue Diver course today. But before we had even finished cleaning up breakfast, we found out there was a different type rescue mission to be had. unclogging the girl’s head! This drew the interest, and breathe-holding, of the entire crew as Kevin worked to loosen the head parts, while Casey and Eric jumped in the water with a scuba tank to reverse the air flow through the output hole, in a hope to push the source of the clog (thankfully just toilet paper) back. After forcing a lot of scuba air in, the pressure subsided, and with a nice kur-plunk the toilet paper shot out with such force that it seemed like it could make a dent in the head! Gross rescue mission 1 accomplished.

With that, dive group 1 jumped in the water and worked through a series of basic skills that we may encounter in a rescue situation- breathing with a buddy, using a buddy’s secondary stage, mask clearing underwater and inflating our BCD’s orally. Then the real fun began- we started simulating how to approach divers both underwater and at the surface that were either tired, unconscious, or panicked. The scenarios involving panicked divers were the most entertaining as it entailed creativity and dramatic acting skills on the victim’s behalf. Victim’s flailed, yelled and splashed around while the rescuer attempted to control them. Tricky victims tried to swim away, throw off gear, or jump on the rescuer while speaking gibberish. Don’t worry, we have been well trained by Casey on how to manage these situation, and were happy to able to do it while having fun. Once dive group 2 had their turn, I know we were thoroughly entertained to watch our fellow shipmates undergo “organized chaos.”

After completing our rescue diver missions, Emily and I jumped into the galley to begin a delicious lunch of chicken Caesar salad wraps, only to hear some laughing from the engine room. We peeked in and saw only Eric’s head peaking out from the bilge. Gross rescue mission number 2, retrieving a displaced o-ring, with his toes while the guys looked on at his misfortune.

After lunch, groups were brought to Green Island to search for firewood to make our night’s bonfire. After successfully mounding a massive pile of dead, dry wood and Casey built a neat fire pit for a BBQ, we all took some RandR time on the beach. Some swam, some sunbathed, Kevin kite boarded, and I continued working on learning how to wind-surf. It’s a tricky sport, made harder by being only 5 feet and having a sail and boom that is too large and high for my size. However, I find it fun to learn and am up to the challenge! Some other shipmates are also taking the opportunity to learn the methods of wind-surfing. In particular, Phil quickly has caught on, even performing the more difficult jibes while sailing.

Beach time continued as the sun faded away and we started up the coals in the fire pit for barbequing some hot dogs and hamburgers. I think the guys enjoyed reverting to the chest-pounding caveman feeling that comes with building a fire for food! After stuffing ourselves, we gathered around the roaring bonfire, where we sang along to popular songs as Dan accompanied us on his guitar. We ended the evening by satisfying ourselves with large pieces of Funfetti cake in lieu of s’mores.