Diver Unconscious - No Reg

To get NC lobsters you need to dive to 130+ feet so it's right on the edge of recreational.  On the other hand, NC lobsters are HUGE!  With no active fishery, these suckers grow to as much as 15 lbs (probably more) and run around the bottom like a pack of dogs.  It's quite an experience!  If you want to go, I suggest calling Bobby Cox, captain of the Diver Down, and ask him to take you to the Live Bottom site.  We weren't on his boat this particular morning nor at that site but there's a ton of "bugs" out there and the current is way easier than some other sites.

We splashed for our second dive around 10:30 am.  There were three of us, let's call the other guys Dave and Bob.  Heading down the line the order was Bob in the lead, then me, then Dave.  At about 45' Bob stopped descending.  Dave and I held our positions above him, our bodies horizontal in a stiffer than usual current.  After about a minute, Bob started to descend again and we were back in business.  A quick, buddy check at the bottom, check depth (136') and air; the hunt was on!

For starters, we were really BAD!  This was my first trip and while I'd figured out how to catch the spiny beasts by this point in the weekend, I was clueless about  how to stuff a ten-pound, writhing mass of spines and spikes into a mesh bag.  I caught four in all. The three big ones beat the crap out of me and took off, having shredded my dive gloves. Somehow I managed to get the last, admittedly smaller, one into my bag.  Looking to my right, I saw that Dave had also managed a success (though with a substantially more hefty lobster, grrr).  Checking my computer, I saw we were out of bottom time and turned to Bob and gave him a thumbs up.  He flashed me an OK and I turned and had the same exchange with Dave who was lovingly inspecting his catch.  It took just a minute or so to get his attention.

The anchor line was to our left but when I turned to head that way I was stunned by what I saw.  Bob was unconscious (or barely conscious - the lights were on but there was definitely nobody home).  His eyes stared, unblinking.  Worse still, he wasn't breathing!  His reg was out!  Acting on impulse, I purged his reg and shoved it in his mouth (perhaps not the best thing to do but there seemed little downside).  Thankfully, amazingly, he started breathing and coughing.  I held the reg in to make sure he didn't spit it out again.

I looked at Dave.  There really should be a sign for WTF???  He had no idea what to do either.  So I tried to bring Bob back to us by shaking, pinching and otherwise abusing him. Nothing worked. All the while precious minutes were ticking by. We were starting build a small but significant deco obligation.

We decided to head up with Bob.  I asked which way to the anchor line and got a shrug in response.  It was like the adrenaline-fueled action with Bob had wiped clean my short term memory.  Everything, in every direction, looked the same.  Neither of us had any idea where the anchor line was.  We were at 138' with an unconscious diver, a deco obligation and a fair current.  No bag, no wreck reel, no way to tie off.  We were screwed!!

next time - Floating Bob

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