Diving is a safe sport as long as you follow a few simple rules: never dive alone, keep eye contact with your partner, learn the signals, never do things you weren't trained for, do not exceed your limits, check your air supply constantly as well as your partner's, when you consumed half of your air tank finish your dive and go back to the boat.
This was my first diving trip without my instructor and fellow divers in the beautiful Caribbean Ocean. We always traveled in a group. But since I was in this paradisiac place, I decided to take the opportunity to go underwater. I went to a dive center and booked a three-day excursion.
Since I was alone, the dive center added me to a group of divers who were from Eastern Europe. I am quite an expert diver. I had taken many diving courses and had dove over 80 times. One of the good things about the Caribbean is the reef is not very deep. The deeper you dive, the more air you need. If you don't go too deep, you don't need a lot of air, and your immersion is longer.
I had never met my diving partner before. I suggested we practice the signals to be able to communicate underwater. I asked him to stay by my side and not to change places. He never stayed by my side. I had to check his air supply for him. He was all over the place. I never knew where he was. I tried to reason with him on the boat and asked for the instructor's help to make this guy understand the importance of these rules.
During the second dive on the second day, I gave up trying to make this guy understand anything. He disappeared again, but I didn't waste time looking for him. I thought he would be scared to dive alone, and following the protocol after a minute without finding me, he would cut his immersion short and go to the surface. This would teach him a lesson.
The next time, he would stay by my side. I usually reached my air tank limit before the rest of the divers. I knew I would be one of the first divers to get to the surface, except for my silly partner, who would be forced to end his immersion after one minute of diving alone.
As I predicted, I thought I was one of the first to go on the boat. When the instructor asked me about my partner, I told him he had left me alone again. Once he got in the boat, the instructor scolded him.
I must admit that for an Open Water certified diver, he was very courageous to dive alone. I remember when I only had that certification. I was always close to my partner and never lost sight of the instructor and the bottom of the boat. This guy was either daring or stupid!
It was the last day of my dream holidays. I was on a scuba diving excursion. The sun was shining, and in the boat, all of us were getting our equipment ready for our last immersion. I wasn't paying attention to my partner since he was not paying attention to anything. He was playing with his camera. This time I was not going to help him get his equipment ready. If he didn't know how to prepare and check his equipment, he shouldn't dive.
The instructor told us we could swim around the reef in pairs and take pictures because this was our last immersion. On the previous two days, he advised us to leave the picture-taking for the last dive unless there was something of interest and to enjoy the dive.
We dove, and my partner left me alone one more time. By now, I couldn't care less. I swam around the reef, looking for colorful creatures to capture with my camera. The reef was full of life.
Suddenly, a dolphin showed up. I had never seen a dolphin during an immersion before. The dolphin swam around me and started pushing me. I knew I was getting away from the boat. I tried to remain calm. I couldn't understand the dolphin's behavior. I tried to find out why it was pushing me in that direction. I turned to the boat and saw a white shark swimming around it. I was shocked.
Sharks are dangerous. I am not afraid of swimming with orcas. They are big dolphins and have never attacked people. Sharks are different. You never know how they are going to behave. Stupid people go diving to feed them. It's natural for them to see humans as a source of a free meal.
The dolphin took me to the shore. I went out of the water, and I realized I was on an island. It was deserted and small. I walked along the beach all around it. I couldn't see any boat or land. I hoped the diving center send a rescue team for me. I collected some stones and wrote SOS on the beach in case the rescue team was on a helicopter.
I gathered wood to make a fire. I explored the island. There was a coastal lagoon. There was a low hill. The vegetation was not high, only bushes. There was an apple tree which meant that humans had explored this island or a bird had carried the seed. I picked some apples. I found a cozy cave on the hill's brae not far from where I wrote SOS on the beach. I left the apples there.
In the lagoon, I could see some fish. I found traces of clams and crabs on the beach. I needed to find fresh water. I didn't know how long I would stay there. I looked for coconuts. The palm trees had a lot of coconuts at hand's reach. I took some into the cave.
I gather more wood to light a small fire in the cave. I also picked palm fronds to make a bed. I took off my neoprene wet suit and let it dry.
I spent the night thinking about what I would do if nobody came to rescue me.
In the morning, I woke up, went to the lagoon, and swam. The water was crystal clear and warm, and the variety of life was incredible. I saw more sea life in that lagoon than in the open sea. I stayed floating and reflecting on my situation for a while. I saw a lobster. My lunch would consist of lobster, apples, and coconut water.
When I got out of the water, I saw a thread of water running down from that part of the hill into the lagoon. I walked up, following the water. It was a spring of water. I breathed a sigh of relief. I ran to the cave and got two coconuts I had opened to drink its water so I could fill them with fresh water.
I had all I needed to survive for days until a rescue team found me or a boat passed by. The weather was warm, and the swimsuit was enough. If the weather got cold, I could use the neoprene wetsuit.
I got used to living on the island. It was peaceful. I didn't miss the busy city life. I walked for hours. I watched Nature. It was as if time didn't exist. That island was like a piece of paradise, heaven on earth. I was on cloud nine. Every once and then, my savior, the dolphin, swam close to the shore. I got in the water, and we swam together. Then it left. I felt it was looking after me. It came to see if I was still alive and safe.
I had to wait for a week to be rescued. I heard a helicopter approaching. They had seen my SOS sign. The Coast Guard helicopter landed on the beach, and a handsome officer, Eduardo, helped me in. As we flew away from the island I mentioned, I loved that piece of land in the middle of nowhere. The officer told me that it was close to the mainland and it was for sale. I couldn't believe anyone could buy an island. The Coast Guard took me to a hospital to be checked up.
I went to a realtor's office to get information on the island. That island was cheap. The lagoon occupied a large portion of the island. It had a small surface to build a house on it.
I flew back home. I kept in touch with both Eduardo and the realtor. I saved enough money to buy the island. I built a small cottage and planted some fruit plants. Today I am here on holiday with my diving friends. We dive every day.
Eduardo and I became friends. He looks after my piece of heaven when I am not here. I always come in July to escape Argentina's cold Winter.
Thank you for reading!
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