Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Remember the Bends-O-Matic?

Italian made (which probably explains it all) and properly named the "SOS Decompression Meter", it was one of my favorite gadgets until that fateful day diving around the El Bajo off La Paz.
This was way before Cocos and Galapagos became the honey holes and we were doing open Ocean drift dives where we would bounce down to 60+ meters in the hopes of surprising a school of Hammerheads. I got severely nailed on the last dive of the day, leading to a memorable 6-hour wet recompression on the anchor line of the Don Jose' in pitch black water. Epic!

Right-left-and-center, the Bends-O-Matic claimed one victim after another, until it got officially discontinued sometimes in the 80ies. I threw the thing overboard on that day but have kept and still use the unequaled case.

The only place where it seemed to work flawlessly was New Zealand.
Kiwis may not be a lot of other things but in my book, they're the ultimate outdoorsmen: rugged, practical, uncomplicated, self-sufficient. And when they dive, they dive for food - and there's no such thing as "lingering" in those frigid waters. You dive down, grab whatever you wanted to grab and get the hell outta there. And there's certainly, no such fancy-schmanzy thing as repetitive dives, at least not in those days. And for single dives, the gizmo performed exactly as advertised and brought everybody back in total safety.

Why I'm making this lenghty intro is that I just read this article about Sharks in one of New Zealand's biggest newspapers. No hype, no drama, just a succession of cold facts (including the attack statistics) by people who understand that being in the water implies that from time to time, one may well come across a Mako or a Great White. As it should be.

Great reading.
If only the media could publish more of this and less of the other.

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