Possibly Narced

Cnidariapocolypse III – The Final Rapture!

© 2011 Derek Keats. Used with permission.
© 2011 Derek Keats. Used with permission.
Cnidariapocolypse averted… whew! Photo © 2011 Derek Keats. Used with permission.

In Cnidariapocolypse II – 2Narced/2N… well 2Narced! our daring divers averted disaster for themselves but the threat to civilization lingered.

Somewhere… in the deep dark abyss… was… the monster…

…or was there?

Reality check!

As many of you (or all of you) have already guessed. It wasn’t my dive buddy that was narced.

It was me!

I’m please to say that Japan and civilization were never in any real danger – at least not from a mega-jelly.

It all made sense now. Doug’s totally calm and cool demeanor – not because he was lost in a dream world but because he was; in fact, calm and cool. Making sure we were both safe he understood that the only thing that was going to make me stop being crazy was our ascent. Since; for me at least, a rapid ascent was blocked by an amorphous, squishy creature of doom… we were ascending gradually. The only problem for Doug – figure out how best to frame the story :).

There is no known way to reliably predict what divers or at what depths narcosis will occur. What we do know is that it will occur in virtually every diver the deeper they go. As you near 100 feet you will almost definitely experience some level of narcosis.

When we reached the beach Doug was kind enough to show me his dive slate.

  • Where I had written ‘giant jelly’ – there were some squiggly lines that kind of looked like writing but they were completely unreadable.
  • Where I had masterfully drawn a picture – a poor representation of an umbrella.

It was no wonder my buddy wasn’t concerned… as far as he knew I was writing an underwater story about an umbrella. He must have figured well… if the muse is upon him…

Naturally, we all got a kick out of it and the experience has been used as an example in class after class of SCUBA students.

Some of the divers back at the hotel were kind enough to suggest that I must have had something in my mask in a vain attempt to help me retain some diver dignity… thanks guys.

What are some practical take aways?

  • My dive buddy remained calm and collected throughout the entire event. He checked around to make sure we were safe then he did the only thing that actually relieves the symptoms of nitrogen (or inert gas) narcosis – continued our ascent.
  • While I was, in fact, completely convinced that the giant jelly was real and my perspective was obviously skewed – I had enough sense to follow my training with the understanding that we needed to ascend in order for ‘both of us’ to be fully rational.

5 Tips on handling narcosis:

  1. Ascend – of course!
  2. Know your gear – it’s important that when you’re reasoning skills begin to deteriorate you are extremely familiar with how your gear operates so you don’t have to ‘think about it’.
  3. Know your skills – key skills need to be second nature so, again, you don’t have to ‘think about it’.
  4. Take your time – relax and go slowly. Deliberate action is far more important fast action. Give whatever brain cells are still working time to work!
  5. Don’t mix alcohol or drugs with diving – eliminate the potential effects of these chemicals in combination with possible narcosis.

Saved Search – Click Here to do a quick Google search on “managing nitrogen narcosis” to find more resources (this link will open a new browser window or tab).

Many thanks to Doug – for being a great dive buddy and for patiently getting a narced SKuba Steve through the Cnidariapocolypse!

SKuba Steve

‘The surface interval’s over… get out there and dive!’

© 2014 Stephen Krausse. All rights reserved.

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