I ran out of oxygen, but someone was looking out for me.
- Posted on Apr 19, 2010
My first scuba dive was a magical one. A beginner’s excursion in Barbados.
The bright and colorful fish twirled around me, the sun appeared as just a glimmer of light 40 feet above my head. But after about 30 minutes, I felt woozy. I reached out and grabbed the air gage. I watched as the needle settled on zero. No oxygen at all!
I panicked. With a few strong kicks I shot up through the water, broke the surface and tore out the respirator. I’d forgotten all the advice I’d received about ascending slowly. I sucked in the air furiously, but my lungs had yet to adjust so I could breathe. My weight belt and heavy tank on my back tugged me back under. “Help!” I yelled. The nearest boat was at least 50 yards away.
My legs cramped. I couldn’t keep kicking. I sank underwater, desperately reaching up as high as I could toward that glimmer of sun.
Fingers clasped mine. The grip tightened and pulled my head above water. Finally able to catch my breath, I saw the men who saved me. Two kayakers, holding onto me until a larger boat motored over. I swam to it and was pulled aboard.
I looked back for the kayakers, but couldn’t see them. “You know where those kayakers went?” I asked. No one did.
Only then did I realize how far out in the ocean we were. Way too far out for any kayaker to paddle.