Sidemount course and getting mild hypothermia

Sunday 5th August 2012

My first time out with Go Dive which departs from Manly. Literally a five minute drive from my place, I welcomed the sleep in for once. Parking was difficult though, and we had to double park to unload the gear and then managed to get very lucky with someone right by the entrance leaving.

The weather was fantastic, sunny, flat seas, no current we did both dives at Flat rock Stradbroke Island. I had never done Flat rock before in Winter and was happily surprised with the amount of Grey Nurse shark residents in Shark Alley. Navigation was a cinch you literally go down a trench and turn right, hang out with the sharks then turn back again. Visibility was a cracker at about twenty five metres and hardly any floaties in the water so it was perfect for photography.

Tom and I both had our cameras, although I had left my strobes at home as I was finishing off my Sidemount course. I managed to get some ok shots just using manual white balance and the natural light. The sharks were obviously used to divers getting close because they could see us coming from twenty odd metres away and weren’t too concerned.

Tom got a photo of me beside a huge pregnant Nurse shark. We had a great time getting some photos of them. Until of course a few divers decided to swim behind them in the middle of the trench so they ended up all swimming away! Aside from the Grey Nurse sharks there wasn’t much else to see.

During the dive I felt really uncomfortable in Sidemount, I was not used to the feeling of having hoses in front of me and not routed neatly behind me as I had been diving in Twins.

On the way back to Brisbane I decided to stay in my wetsuit which was a really stupid idea because it took some time to drive back and with the cold wind on me I didnt realise I got a really bad chill. When we got back to shore I felt like I could hardly feel my body.

Nick met me and helped me get my gear off the boat. I had a hot shower at the dock but felt nothing. I went to bed at 7pm in clothes with the heater on and two duvets over me and in the morning I still felt a chill in my bones. I didn’t even realise at the time that I probably had a mild case of Hypothermia. It really surprised me how that could have happened so quickly and just how hard it was to get warm again. Another good lesson learnt about not staying in wet clothes and taking wind proof jackets…funny how sometimes you neglect the basics.


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