Divers were always there, throughout the history.
Diving was never just a sport for pleasure. Sometimes, it was a way of living, a part of tradition of a culture, or a useful tool for scientific purposes.
For some people, it is the way of their life. Bajau tribe in Philippines is born on the sea, and living in there. For them, underwater is the life itself, the source food, joy. They believe, the origins of the life come from there.
In the many other parts of the world, underwater has always been an opportunity for the people to find food, discover new places and secrets buried under this transparent earth.
As spear fishermen do. They dive with one breath, and chase after their target as long as they go. Or archeological divers, they go down and extract the history buried down below the sand.
In present days, diving is used also in the professional sector.
Technical divers go down for underwater repairs in oil platforms, or hull cleaning / propeller checking purposes of the vessels, expeditions for underwater cities, caves, and investigations of wreckages collided or had a breakdown and sung items on the sea
That is why, technical divers are capable of going deep down below the sportive limits, for specific purposes. For most of the divers, the limits are themselves. They go down with necessary air supply, which are specific for deep diving, with mixed gases and reduced elements dangerous after some period of exposure and storage on the body.
Whole technical diving operation needs utmost care with special calculations because, as much as we stay under heavy water pressure, storing of nitrogen in human body system increases in every breath.
This accumulation under water pressure, changes our body functions and responses, even on very simple tasks. Since technical divers go down to use their brain and hands in coordination, they should be fully capable of using them properly.
That is why, only having perfect and high quality equipment will not save you, if you don’t have physically and mentally enough power.
After 20 meters, every dive is considered as “deep” dive. This means, after these limits, the body starts giving response to water pressure, lungs will start shrinking after some time, the blood will start accumulating more nitrogen, under gradually increasing water pressure. As a result, mental status starts giving response to these changes in the physiology.
“Panicked Man” in Diving:
In some cases, the brain starts finding these changes as an attack to the body and tries to get rid of this situation immediately or it just gives up everything and drag the diver into empty feelings ,which can cause you either want to go up to surface immediately, maybe go down more. Sometimes you might want to remove your tools sustaining your life support. There are cases, people are in such a state, they want to remove the regulator and start talking underwater.
We will “go down deep with this diseases” in another article.
Let’s skip to a bitter story, and learn what can happen, when you don’t have enough knowledge on your actions.
Sponge Divers of Kalymnos :
Kalymnos Island is one of the rocky and barren Islands in Dodecanese, where you can’t make any cultivation for vital elements. In the years when tourism was not a matter of income, they had to find a way to create a door for their income. On this purpose, they realized an underwater miracle, natural sponges.
They started harvesting as free divers with a heavy rock connected to their neck. Only with one breath, they were collecting as much as they can and going up to the surface. Of course, it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t just a matter of holding your breath as much as it got, like how present free divers do now. They had to go deep, in some cases, exceeding under 60 meters, staying approximately 5-6 minutes and showing body effort to look for sponges and harvest them.
It was a multi-tasking job, within the years they were the experts of it.
It is understandable that, going down with one breath and stay only 5-6 minutes maximum was not profitable. So they wanted to find a “solution” for that.
Supplying continues air…
For this, in the end of 19th century, they invented “skafandro” which allowed you to go down with a pipe supplying air as long as you were underwater.
Results were horrific…
Lack of knowledge on decompression disease and its affects, they initiated this plan right away. However, right after they started using it, this terrible idea showed its formidable face. Divers were staying such a long time under long meters of water pressure, accumulating nitrogen on their blood, like a virus to come out when they touch the surface again. When the time came to go out, they were pulled out by their connecting line so fast, on the way back, they were stroked by the enhancing nitrogen bubbles on their blood.
In the begining, those divers were going deep down as a healthy person but returning back to boat, mostly hanging on the line dead, or seriously injured with permanent damages on their brains or their spines which causing them continue with their lives as a disabled or paralyzed human being.
Until the decompression tables were introduced, they couldn’t understand the reasons why, and divers were treated by the people as cursed or infected by the sea.
Even after decompression tables were introduced explaining the dangers of nitrogen accumulation and how to prevent it, they didn’t want to implement them. Because, the ways of prevention techniques weren’t promoting the time spent underwater.
According to the tables, they had to proceed to the surface stage by stage, waiting for your body to clean the nitrogen in every atmospheric pressure changes.
Although they avoided using the tables quite a long time, in the end they accepted the situation and decided to stop this brutal practice.
With this story, we have to come to realize that, we need to furnish ourselves with the best knowledge and learn our certification requirements properly.
We have to be trained and aware of the dangers of this sport, so we can prevent them and get the utmost pleasure out of it.