The majority of the surface of the Earth is water. And we have a better idea what happens on Mars than we do what goes on in the deep places of our own planet. If you have the soul of an explorer, where better to go than underwater, to a world that’s normally off-limits to us air-breathers?
Of course, there are as many terrors in the depths as there are wonders. Just ask the folks below, who recently went online to share their personal tales from the deep.
30. I’m so shiny!
29. The undertow
28. Dead in the water
27. The illusion of life
26. Getting a head
25. It may be safer to dive alone
24. His name is Bruce
23. Free Willy
I worked as a commercial diver for about 7 years in the UK and also did some work in Europe.
I was working in Orkney, North of Scotland, on the fish farms. One time I swam down one of the bigger nets off Rousay and it was very dark, very overgrown, and I could see some weird shapes lying in the dead man’s sock as I descended. There were a few more dead fish than usual, maybe a hundred or so, but underneath them were lying three dead seals. Big ones. It was hard to make out because they were covered in fish but one of the seals had a big chunk of it missing.
And that’s when I looked up and saw a four foot tear in the side of the net. Screw that. I was new at this point (fish farm work is generally the best way to start a diving career, doesn’t pay the best but you get plenty of minutes logged which helps for experience). I told the supervisor who said to get out straight away.
They sent one of the more experienced lads in after me and he fixed the hole and then rigged the seals up to be lifted out. Turns out the seals had been killed by an orca and somehow got through the net in a panic. Orca are quite common up in Orkney and are the only animal we were told you HAD to get out the water for if seen. Only one of the seals had a bite mark, the other two got caught in the net.
I remember a significant shiver running down my spine that day.
22. Seal of approval
Once on a night dive I had a seal tag along and take advantage of my flashlight to do some night hunting. It was adorable and the poor fish didn’t stand a chance. Also because the sea-sausage was completely comfortable and taking advantage of me they were all up in my business a bunch which was awkward because as a rule you’re not supposed to touch the animals for their safety and yours. In this case I finally decided it was totally okay to nudge their fat butts when they were in my way.
21. Yeah, I never want to be a diver
20. Theyyyyyyyyy’re great!
19. That’s one bad dive master
18. And people do this for fun?
17. You know, there’s plenty of air if you stay on dry land
I ran out of air. I was using rented equipment, normally I’d be using my own so I was slightly unfamiliar with what I was using. I wore a wet suit I didn’t need and did not have quite enough weight to get down to the bottom as quick as I should. I had to fight my buoyancy until my suit compressed enough to allow me to sink. Because of that fight, I use a lot more air than the guy I was buddied with (I was the odd man on a charter with a bunch of United Airline mechanics that were missing a man) whom I’d never dived with before.
I signaled to him that I was low on air and heading toward the surface. At that point he was supposed to end his dive and join me on my trip up. Instead he swam off, I went to follow and shortly experienced a harder time drawing a breath and knew it was time to go. When he later surfaced, after I threw some four-letter words his way, we had a very serious talk about our hand signals.
15. Current affairs
14. Logs with eyes
A dam in the Waikato, New Zealand had begun to have visible cracks in the concrete on the outside part of the dam and some drivers were organized to dive down and check the inside submerged part of the dam for damage on that side.
While they were down there, there was the usual debris you would find behind a man made wall which prevents the water from flowing as it would normally do if there wasn’t a dam there.
Turns out what they thought were large logs were in fact huge eels which had gotten to the size of logs due to being prevented from migrating to the sea, where they breed and die. So from being prevented from doing their natural life duties they just get larger and larger.
13. Don’t get between a mama and her baby
12. We see sea snakes
11. No air and too much air
10. That’s a harrowing job
9. The nitro
We were diving on trimix, which is a mixture of helium, O2 and nitrogen, which reduces the level of nitrogen along with its exposure. We should have been well within the thresholds for the mix and depth, but some people just react differently to conditions and he turned out to be one of them. As we got shallower, he cleared up and was fine by the time we go to around 30 feet or so. It was very scary, especially because the wreck lays underneath a busy shipping lane on a river, so to lose your grip on the wreck or the rock wall is a death sentence.
Sometime the following year, my friend returned to the wreck without me and had an even worse incident. It took 3 divers to rescue him and it is a miracle they are all OK. I guess he had to prove that he could do it but wound up proving the opposite.