The weather for this week is pretty stable; lows 80-81, highs 91-92, 20% chance of rain every day, wind east to southeast at 10-15 knots. No kidding. The next seven days will be like the movie “Groundhog Day” as far as the weather is concerned. For us, a 20% chance of rain is more descriptive if you look at from a 80% chance of sunshine. In yesterday’s Wunderblog, Dr. Jeff Masters reported, “The Atlantic is quiet, with no tropical cyclones predicted over the next seven days by the reliable computer models”.
Everything is going well with the programs and participants. We received truck loads of new sand for the volleyball court yesterday. So we put some of the participants to work shoveling sand. One of our staff members whacked his own big toe with a shovel. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but it could have been. We probably could have made a game out of “find the bloody toe in the sand” but I don’t know what would have been an appropriate prize.
Yesterday was Nancy Wells’ last day (for a while) of working the check-in desk. She did a great job of subbing for Dr. Ellen. I hope Nancy’s real work didn’t suffer too much. Thanks for your help Nancy!
A quickie reminder: medications used to treat ADD, ADHD, OCD, and depression are NOT particularly compatible with scuba diving. While there is no ban on such drugs within the BSA Scuba Policy, please discuss this at length with your doctor before deciding to mix these drugs with scuba diving. Some people may be disqualified from scuba diving at the Florida Sea Base depending on the medications used. These drugs can be dangerous under the increased pressures of scuba diving. My suggestion is you look up the medication on the internet. I like www.nlm.nih.gov because it is not owned by a pharmaceutical company. Look carefully at the side effects. Now think back to what you learned about nitrogen and pressure in your Open Water Diver certification course. [For the non-divers, what we learned was that nitrogen, an inert gas that makes up about 79% of the gas we breath, poses no threat to us at sea level. However, as divers descend, the pressure causes the nitrogen to have a greater effect on the brain. The deeper you go, the greater the effect. For most people, at depths near 100' nitrogen causes a feeling of euphoria or intoxication. This can lead to poor decision making. Even oxygen, the single most important gas to our existence, becomes toxic under increased pressure and can (a does) cause convulsions and death.] Now back to the side effects. Although you may not experience any of the listed side effects of your medications at sea level (like suicidal tendencies), those side effects may be twice as strong at 33 feet, three times as strong at 66 feet and 4 times as strong at 99 feet of sea water. I have personally been on a dive with a former staff member who was on antidepressants who usually experienced no side effects of his medication, but on this particular dive he became suicidal and tried to drown himself. Fortunately he survived. NONE of these medications are tested for safety or effectiveness under increased pressure. No one, including your MD, can say what response your mind will have to these drugs underwater. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that they are safe underwater. Psychotropic drugs are of greatest concern. And if you have made 100 dives while using the medication and have not had any problems, remember my divemaster dive buddy who could say the exact same thing until the day the medicine caused him to try to kill himself during a scuba dive. Diving is safe. Diving is fun. But diving can be VERY unforgiving. Drowning is a horrible way to die.
I will conclude with that jolly note. I hope you have a safe day. I am going to send 125 to 150 participants out scuba diving today. I worry about each and every one of them. Our “acceptable loss ratio” is ZERO. No one dies. No one gets hurt. Everyone goes home safe. Everyone has a great time. 150 divers a day, averaging 2 dives per diver per day, for 100 straight days during the summer session. 30,000 dives in three months. 30,000 chances for someone’s child to be hurt on my watch. 30,000 reasons why I cannot allow incompetence from the scuba staff. ONE of the reasons I don’t always sleep well.
Capt. Steve Willis
Aboard S/V Escape