Location: Direction Island, Cocos Keeling
All in all, it was a great first day in Cocos Keeling, and everyone had fun. After a very prompt and on time wake up, we broke up for a myriad of activities. A group of crewmates went ashore to explore the uninhabited island that we are anchored near. Another group starting gearing up to go on a morning dive to see one of the many reefs that surround the boat. I myself went down below to study but hadn’t been below for more than five minutes when Josh K. came running down to tell me there was a distressed diver in the water! A little backstory, Carolyn, our Marine bio teacher, and I are working on getting certified as rescue divers. As part of the certification, we have to complete a real-life rescue scenario, and this morning turned out to be it.
Luckily when I got on deck, I saw the two Divemasters in training, Jack and Caisha, waiting to assist us. Carolyn and I geared up and got in the water to rescue what turned out to be three different divers! The three crewmates who are dive instructors made the scenario as difficult as they could, Taylor S. was tired on the surface and required a tow back to the boat, Matt H. was unresponsive on the bottom but turned into a panicked diver once he got to the surface. Maggie P. was unconscious on the bottom and needed rescue breaths in the water and CPR in the boat. After dragging Taylor back to the boat, grappling with Matt, and rescuing Maggie, I was exhausted. We debriefed and decided what went well and what we needed to work on, and then had a much-needed lunch of pasta salad. After lunch, the second group of crewmates got the chance to go ashore, and I geared up to go on a fun dive with Bryant and Siva. The dive was awesome; I had been snorkeling yesterday, but actually getting down on the reef was spectacular. I hope I get the chance to dive again before we leave on Tuesday. After the dive, I hadn’t been on the boat long before I got wind of a scheme that was in the works. Our rescue scenario early had really only been a practice scenario, and the real was soon to come. Carolyn, the DMs, and I quickly met up to go over a plan for if a similar situation occurred. A few hours later, I heard some commotion off our port side. Upon investigating, I discovered Captain Kris thrashing about in the water, a panic diver! As quick as I could, I reassembled the dive gear I had just put away and got in the water. Carolyn had beat me into the water and was helping Kris, but his frantic and dramatic panicking needed two people to tame. Once we got Kris sorted out, Jack had gotten in the water and was rescuing our dive instructor Marina. Once she was up with her gear on, I carried her up the ladder on the side of the boat, and we performed CPR and gave her oxygen. After that, all was well, in all the commotion we had attracted most of the crew. Everyone took a shower with the sharks, and we got ready for dinner, it proved to be another jam-packed and exciting day aboard Argo.