This comes to you from the sunny (ish) UK where I’m taking some time to get my house in order and rediscover the joys of driving on the other side of the road (no accidents so far). But diving goes on and it was an eventful weekend. Geoff tells the story:
"With several regulars being away for various reasons six divers met up for what was to be an interesting day. After Mike and Big Brian’s labour during the week to fix a fractured spring and replacement of the depth sounder transducer on Friday morning itself we set off for Al Khan and what has become our favoured dive site of late, the Victoria Star. Only one of the group had taken the Tuesday evening dive instruction for fancy dress seriously and got a bemused look from the Al Khan coastguard when providing the boat details in a Spiderman mask.
On leaving the harbour it was immediately evident that the sea was still reeling from a storm two days ago as SP325 made slow but steady progress into a heavy swell. Even so, the proximity of the wreck to Mina Khalid Harbour meant we were soon on location and a barnacle encrusted mooring line that had made its way to the surface indicated we were close. Big Brian free-dived to check where we were and on his return advised there was little more than 2-3m vis, a fast current and an ominous repetitive thud, which later became painfully clear for one diver.
Derek (aka Spidey) and Brian Larkin were first in, followed by Mike and Wendy, each with their own objectives for the dive. Wendy searched the galley [a woman’s place is…?] for more components of the mincing machine she has been collecting but was unable to locate the machine itself. After about 25minutes Derek and Brian returned to the surface with Brian looking white as a sheet. While making his way along the vessel, Brian had grasped the rim of an open window only to have the fingers of his right hand crushed when the window slammed shut in the surge (the ominous repetitive thud). Suffering from shock, Brian was put on oxygen and received first aid to cleanse and dress the wounds, which had broken the skin. This combined with Wendy’s “Jesus” cake managed to settle the patient and bring some colour back.
With Brian stabilized, Big Brian and Geoff descended and headed for the lifeboat only to find that it was no longer on its davits, torn away presumably by the storm. After checking the prop, more of which has been revealed due to the turbulent waters scouring the sand away, the majority of the dive was spent clearing debris and various hazards set to ensnare unwary divers from the galley. This also opened up another route into the dining area. Everyone agreed on just the one dive so we could return to port and enable Brian to get his hand checked out at hospital where he discovered that he had fractured his middle and ring fingers but was otherwise ok".
The incident naturally provoked some comment, some serious some less so:
· The fickle finger(s) of fate was unkind to Brian
· Despite the presence of Spiderman, this could not prevent the Hand of God…
· Do you think Brian was a little cut up about the hole ordeal?
Thanks to Derek and Big Brian for these valuable contributions to diver safety.
Some more serious reflections:
The incident was perhaps a timely reminder that underwater in general and shipwrecks in particular are a hazardous environment and nothing should be taken for granted. Also it showed how essential both the O2 set and the 1st Aid Kit – always put on the boat but so rarely used – really are. Geoff also makes the good point:
The other ‘top tip’ to add is that in cases of finger injuries such as this to remove any rings as soon as possible. If the injured finger swells the ring will restrict blood flow and may result in losing the finger if the ring cannot be removed.
While all this was going on, PJ was in Germany presenting Uwe with a souvenir of the Victoria Star (see attached). Why this particular souvenir I don’t know – perhaps he had Georgia on his mind! (PJ- I was concerned that Uwe wasn't flagging - and he wasn't - that isn't just a smile: that is flag-elation!).