In the News: Open Water -- The Sequel?
Over the past few days, we've been following the unfolding drama of two divers who were deserted by their dive boat and spent 19 hours adrift in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. During this time, they tried to avoid saying the "S" word (the waters are shark-infested) and shouted "I love you" to stay awake, according to a Daily Mail online report.
As a diver, I'm more fearful of equipment malfunction than losing my group. When I dove the Great Barrier Reef, I attached myself to the dive master like a remora on a shark.That is why I find this case so intriguing. How could they have lost sight of one another?
American Allyson Dalton and her Brit boyfriend, Richard Neely, said they were diving within proper range of the lagoon dive site (200 yards) when the vessel departed without them. They claimed they shouted and whistled to attract the group's attention, but to no avail. They then spent the next 19 hours adrift in the Whitsundays off Queensland, until they were rescued. (For some live action, check out the video footage and photos at the Today Show.)
The company countered their story, asserting that it followed the rules of rescue. According to the Times Online, OzSail "instigated a full and proper search . . . in accordance with protocols." Witnesses on the boat backed-up their claim.
Some question the couple's motives. They brought along a water bottle, which as we all know (divers and landlubbers alike) is useless underwater and with a regulator in your mouth. They also wore full wet suits in tropical waters, which is like donning a sweater in Florida in August. They also sold their story to the tabloids for multi-digits.
But I'm not about to cast doubt on the derring-duo. I give them credit for staying composed and clear-headed enough to tie up to each other for body warmth -- and to use their professions of love as caffeine. However, as a diver, I do question some of their judgments. First, why and how did they ever lose sight of their dive master? No giant clam or rainbow-colored fish would ever distract me from my group. I also would make a giant splash, using every whistle, warning flag and flipper slap available to draw attention to my dire situation. (The dive group wonders why it did not see the yellow alert device the couple supposedly employed.) Then, I would have swum to a reef, rocky cluster or bumpy protusion, anything to make me more visible.
To be honest, I can't imagine anyone, no matter how twisted and greedy, risking their life for a wad of cash. Whether or not it was staged, the divers did not respect the Laws of Scuba. In my opinion, those two are more dangerous to the waters than any shark.
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