|CG and his son, my boys, and CG went spearfishing in my boat 3 miles off La Jolla (depth was 87ft). The weather and water conditions were perfect. We tied ourselves to some kelp and started getting our gear on. We were freediving - no scuba tanks.|
Co (new at spearfishing) was in the water getting ready got distracted and let go of his speargun. I was on top the swim platform (all geared up). When I asked him where his gun was, he said he did not know. Without thinking (Mistake #1), I dove in like a cat chasing a mouse.
After equalizing my ears three times (depth was about 21 ft), I saw the descending speargun. I kicked deeper, reaching for it, my ears started to hurt but I did not equalize (Mistake #2). At a depth of about 28ft, I grabbed the gun and I heard small crack in both my ears and the pain was gone.
All of a sudden, my head started to spin out of control - literally. I saw the light above, the kelp, the darkness below, at least 3 times till I closed my eyes. I was completely disoriented not knowing which was up. I was in deep trouble. My breath hold was at 65%. (Mistake #3- I went beyond 50%)
I let the gun go, I felt for my weight belt (it only had 4 lbs of lead) and dropped it. I reached for my fins and let them go in an effort to lose as much weight as I could and just went limp to conserve my breath hold. At 30 feet, I knew my thin suit was compressed and may not have enough buoyancy to lift me up.
I could not tell if I was going up or down. All I said to myself was "Lord I don't want to die, Lord I don't want to die".
After that I do not know how long it was, I breached the surface. I opened my eyes and again fell into complete vertigo. I screamed at as loud as I could, "help!" my arms flailing. Ironically, my boys on the surface thought I was faking it to test their life saving skills. After the second scream for help and seeing my fins were gone, my son L knew I was in trouble. L, already in the water, and CG dove in and got me to the swim ladder. I was completely spent, in complete vertigo, and vomiting multiple times.
The rest was getting me hauled out, getting back to the dock, getting me home. The vomiting continued about every hour. Finally after talking a four nurse friends (one being a Navy Diver), off the ER we went.
With two perforated eardrums, antibiotics and anti-nausea. I'm in recover mode.
If something falls in the water and is sinking, let it go. If someone like me jumps after it, someone like you must say "STOP" or tackle him (women are smarter and would just wave it goodbye) whatever it takes to prevent the natural instinct to go after it.
Go straight to the ER. Don't worry about the co-payment and the high deductible, you can't make a living without your health.
Time in Hawai'i: