Dark, Deep and a Touch of Narcosis!

I’ve missed out on multiple sea dives this year, simply due to the unpredictable British weather. However, last weekend the sun was shining and the sea was calm, so diving was definitely on the cards, the Aeolian Sky was our wreck of choice.

We made our way out of the harbour, and an hour’s shuttle brought us to the dive site, with three other boats. With the shot already in, we kitted up, got ourselves ready and lined up at the lift to jump in.

I jumped in and by the time I surfaced I was passed the buoy and the tail buoy had been pulled off the shot line. So I struggled back to the line and started to descend immediately. It’s no exaggeration to say that the shot line was as horizontal as it was vertical, and finning was next to useless, so I hauled hand over hand down the line into the current.

Half way down, we passed some divers who had decided against going any further and were on their way up. I didn’t see them till the last second, and just ploughed through, so sorry if that was you. Eventually, after what seemed the longest decent to 30m ever, I saw some blurry metal. Although I was blowing, it was dark and my head was not right.

I felt uncomfortable, and could feel my bodies natural reactions building up and my mind fighting back. I could only see a blur, but the blur of mike’s torch was getting fainter. I pulled on the wreck against the current till I got mike’s attention with a wave of my torch. Once he was close enough, I let him know I wanted to stop and this gave me the opportunity to clear my mask and although this made little to no difference, after a minute or so my vision cleared and finally I could make out clearly the silt running past my mask, green above and the crustaceans on the metal. Narcosis over, I signalled okay to continue the dive.

With 2 metres visibility with a torch we started to feel our way over the wreck. I was disoriented, and on finding an anchor, I thought we were at the bow, it turns out it was the stern anchor, had I took the lead, we would have left the wreck and drifted across nothing for the rest of the dive. Good call and navigation from Mike!

There was some lovely sections of wreckage covered in small white anemones, in better visibility and conditions it would be good to see these again! We saw a couple of spider crabs, star fish, and I even found a small bottle, live finding little things like this on the seabed.

As the current died down, I felt more and more comfortable on the dive. I took a couple of videos on my GoPro, which combined with my new torch worked really well. By this time I had built up enough decompression that I decided to call the dive. We’d agreed on maximum of 10 minutes decompression, and although my computer was showing ten minutes time to surface, I was happy to call it, especially considering the difficulties at the start of the dive.

Nothing special on the deco, except that the plankton was sitting still in the water, reminding us just how early we had gone in. This should have been when we were on the wreck and not 40-50 minutes before. I’m all for descending before slack, but we definitely got it wrong.

All in all this was a tough reintroduction to UK diving; dark, deep and a touch of narcosis!

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