I learned from that

No diver is ‘too long in the tooth’ to learn lessons, I’m no exception…


On the recent trip to the Farne Islands, after the first dive I surfaced with a toothache, but the pain was from the back upper teeth ミ as I was having treatment in my back lower teeth I just thought it was a further problem.

However, halfway through the second dive it suddenly felt like somebody stabbed me in the jaw with a large dive knife! ミ it got worse during the ascent and I was in agony on the boat. As soon as I had surfaced on the second dive the penny dropped that the problem was to do with the treatment I was having on the lower back teeth (I’ve had root canal treatment, which isn’t finished!

The canals have been cleaned out and dressed but not filled. This means I have a cavity and the pain I was feeling was メtooth squeezeモ – I took painkillers and put some Bonjela on the area and the pain subsided over night the lesson learned from that is to be aware, if you need or have any dental treatment before a dive, check with the dentist that you haven’t got a cavity or you could be in for a nasty pain.

So now that meant I couldn’t dive for the rest of the weekend as I wasn’t going through that pain again. However I decided to snorkel, as I could still have plenty of fun with the seals.

So, the next day I donned by dry suit, mask and fins, and entered the water after all the divers had been put in. The skipper advised me as to the best area on the Islands to swim with the seals, and told me that he’d pick me up whenever I wanted.

I never go in the water without my knife so I strapped that on ミ and as an afterthought I tucked my extendable flag down there too (I never dreamed I’d need it). I had a great snorkel, seals were everywhere, and at one point there were at least a dozen of them playing tag with me, it was great fun.

After 45 minutes the boat came over and asked if I was finished but I asked for 5 more minutes as I was having so much fun. After 5 minutes I looked up and saw the boat in the distance picking up divers so I carried on for a bit longer. A further 5 minutes and still no sign of the boat, it wouldn’t be much longer I thought, so I finned gently away from the Island to make it easier for the boat to pick me up (bad decision!)

I was promptly taken by a very strong メrip tideモ and in no time at all I was about half a mile away from the Island in very rough water. The waves were breaking over my head and salt water was getting down my snorkel. Lucky I had tucked that flag down my knife!

I extended the flag, and within 5 more minutes the skippers assistant gave a wave in the distance that they had spotted me ミ however they were picking up divers and I had to wait a further 5 minutes or so before they came over to pick me up. I wouldn’t say I was concerned, but it was certainly an uncomfortable position to be in ミ and I certainly would have been concerned had I not taken that flag along!

Lesson learned from that? ミ ALWAYS take the flag along, even if you just go snorkelling, and NEVER swim out away from the land until the boat comes for you.