How to proceed with conflicting dive buddy?

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SlugMug

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If I thumb a dive and the other person doesn't want to go, whatever, I'll see them later on the surface (and not dive in Malta).

The interesting thing about the Malta dive, is that Castillo had little-to-no reason to thumb the dive for himself. So, he would have had to "thumb the dive for her." And that presumes Castillo had enough information in the moment to know that Gauci, a Scuba-Instructor, was not competent to decide for herself whether she was safe to continue the dive.

In hindsight, sure, she made a lot of mistakes and signs by the time the story ENDS. But it's not fair to judge actions, based on knowledge the actor didn't have, and things which haven't happened yet.

However, going back to the beginning of the dive:
  • 20 hours no sleep? As a night-owl, I'm often (but not always) fine. Visible signs of tiredness? If you're motivated, you can hide signs of being tired a short while. We don't know that she looked visibly unsafe.
  • Buoyancy problems early in the dive? Not great, but lets say you feel like it's been fixed. She thinks she's ok to continue, and she's an experienced scuba-instructor.
  • What about any body-language or communication underwater? They were wearing dry-suits, scuba-masks, regulators, etc. Good luck reading body-language. And communication is just hand signals.
  • --- anything after this point is mostly irrelevant to thumbing that dive, because they have deco-obligations ---

So, there are really only two points for Castillo to "thumb the dive for her" being (a) before the dive and (b) after that initial buoyancy issue.

I'm fairly certain an average instructor would not have thumbed the dive for someone else at this point. The reason being it's somewhat common for a student to experience an issue (like a buoyancy one), the instructor fixes it, verifies everything is fine, and then continues the dive.
 

smiffy6four

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If I thumb a dive and the other person doesn't want to go, whatever, I'll see them later on the surface (and not dive in Malta).

The interesting thing about the Malta dive, is that Castillo had little-to-no reason to thumb the dive for himself. So, he would have had to "thumb the dive for her." And that presumes Castillo had enough information in the moment to know that Gauci, a Scuba-Instructor, was not competent to decide for herself whether she was safe to continue the dive.

In hindsight, sure, she made a lot of mistakes and signs by the time the story ENDS. But it's not fair to judge actions, based on knowledge the actor didn't have, and things which haven't happened yet.

However, going back to the beginning of the dive:
  • 20 hours no sleep? As a night-owl, I'm often (but not always) fine. Visible signs of tiredness? If you're motivated, you can hide signs of being tired a short while. We don't know that she looked visibly unsafe.
  • Buoyancy problems early in the dive? Not great, but lets say you feel like it's been fixed. She thinks she's ok to continue, and she's an experienced scuba-instructor.
  • What about any body-language or communication underwater? They were wearing dry-suits, scuba-masks, regulators, etc. Good luck reading body-language. And communication is just hand signals.
  • --- anything after this point is mostly irrelevant to thumbing that dive, because they have deco-obligations ---

So, there are really only two points for Castillo to "thumb the dive for her" being (a) before the dive and (b) after that initial buoyancy issue.

I'm fairly certain an average instructor would not have thumbed the dive for someone else at this point. The reason being it's somewhat common for a student to experience an issue (like a buoyancy one), the instructor fixes it, verifies everything is fine, and then continues the dive.
If a dive with a deco obligation gets thumbed, surely that means begin the ascent, do your deco, then surface? Unless your buddy is in imminent danger?
 

Wibble

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If a dive with a deco obligation gets thumbed, surely that means begin the ascent, do your deco, then surface? Unless your buddy is in imminent danger?
Just to be picky; depends upon your personal deco obligation.

If there's an hour of deco left, it's really horrid and hard but the buddy is beyond help by "me", unless it can be offered at or below my current ceiling. Rule number one of rescue**: don't be one of the statistics.

If there's a trivial amount of deco left, say a SurfGF below 95, then help could be offered but maybe some surface oxygen to be consumed.



(**Rule two: don't dive in Malta)
 

SlugMug

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If a dive with a deco obligation gets thumbed, surely that means begin the ascent, do your deco, then surface? Unless your buddy is in imminent danger?

The point I was making, without using the "thumbing a dive" term is: If Castillo had chosen a later point in the dive, to tell Gauci it's time to surface, it would have made zero difference in Gauci's safely.

Standard definition of "thumbing a dive" is that the dive typically a hand-signal, thumb pointed towards the surface, indicating you wish to end the dive (safely*), and standard protocol is that you start heading for the exit (if penetration diving), ascend, and follow all deco-protocols, including safety stop. In other words, the dive is effectively terminated except whatever protocols are necessary to safely return to the surface. That's how most divers understand the term, and how classes are taught. The "safely" is always assumed.

If you show a thumb-up hand-signal at a deco-stop early for some reason, well .... that's not "thumbing a dive" according to the definition given, but rather something else. I wouldn't even know what that means. Surface sooner? But why? Out of air? We've already spent enough time at deco? Have a plane to catch? As mentioned earlier "safely" is assumed, so a hand signal indicating doing something unsafe would likely have me trying to get more info, such as if there's an emergency or mistake.

edit: My own root-cause theory about why Gauci died, was because she was excessively tired. That being tired caused her to make multiple mistakes that even a relatively inexperienced diver wouldn't have made. While the exact cause-of-death isn't 100% known, apparently she did drown, had empty doubles, but a full deco-cylinder.

For Castillo to have saved Gauci's life (aside from baby-sitting her), he would have had to have known at the time, that she was too tired to safely continue, and thumbed the dive early.
 

boulderjohn

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The point I was making, without using the "thumbing a dive" term is: If Castillo had chosen a later point in the dive, to tell Gauci it's time to surface, it would have made zero difference in Gauci's safely.

Standard definition of "thumbing a dive" is that the dive typically a hand-signal, thumb pointed towards the surface, indicating you wish to end the dive (safely*), and standard protocol is that you start heading for the exit (if penetration diving), ascend, and follow all deco-protocols, including safety stop. That's how most divers understand the term, and how classes are taught. The "safely" is always assumed.

If you show a thumb-up hand-signal at a deco-stop early for some reason, well .... that's not "thumbing a dive" according to the definition given, but rather something else. I wouldn't even know what that means. Surface sooner? But why? Out of air? We've already spent enough time at deco? Have a plane to catch? As mentioned earlier "safely" is assumed, so a hand signal indicating doing something unsafe would likely have me trying to get more info, such as if there's an emergency or mistake.
Yes.

If I needed to blow off a step in the standard ascent, I would give the standard "something's wrong" signal followed by an indication of what was wrong. If it was not clear, I would repeat the signal when we reached a normal stopping point. I could also communicate urgency without trouble.

I once had three students doing a decompression dive, and we were descending near a line. At about 150 feet, the student leading the descent suddenly stopped and gave the "something wrong" signal. We all drew close. He pointed to his ear. He seemed puzzled. Suddenly he gave the thumb, and he did so vigorously. We understood--ascend NOW! He then grabbed the line, which was unusual. There was no mistaking it. He was having an ear problem putting him in serious distress. I grabbed his harness and we went to the surface together, as did the two other students. Despite having been at 150 feet, there were no stops--we had not been there long. It was an orderly ascent, with proper venting of BCDs and drysuits., but I held onto him the entire time. It turned out he had a bad case of vertigo caused by water entering a pinhole leak in his eardrum caused by equalization problems during a dive weeks before.

The point of the story is that it should be possible to signal the need for an extraordinary ascent without too much difficulty.
 

Insideout

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My thoughts? Dive should not to have ever began. It should have been called at the surface.
Exactly.
Up for 20 hours is like being drunk. She wasn't in a position to make a reasonable decision.
Her buddy should have said "aw hell no!" and walked.

Nobody can fault you for erring on the side of caution. It may not be fun or make you popular, but you need to have limits.
 

Insideout

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This thread is not about Malta laws or that particular dive.
Question here is how would you proceed if your buddy ignores your call to end the dive? Or go up, left/right/whatever?
Something you need to discuss with your buddy prior to a dive.

I guess it's one of the reasons why you need to be selective about who you dive with. So you're both on the same page and have the same understanding.

If you think narcosis or something weird is going on, try help them to a shallower depth or surface.

I suppose it also highlights why a rescue course is beneficial. Hopefully you can recognize when something isn't right.

Ultimately if you don't think something is right then call the dive and sort it out in the surface.

If they're "sober" you both go up.
If not you gently help them to the surface.
If they didn't surface when you called the dive because they were being stubborn and were not incapacitated, tell them they're a f****** ******* *********** ****, and that they can find a new buddy. :)
 

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Recently on a dive in Bali to see Mola Mola at Crystal Bay my dive buddy indicated he was cold. As we had been in the water for over 45 mins I gave him the thumbs up signal then OK signal. He signaled back with the thumbs up. We ended the dive. Water temp was 22c he was in a 5mm but it was too cold for him. I was in shorts and T shirt. When he was back on the boat I could see he was suffering helped him take off his top gave him a folded towel to rest his head on and he lay down in the sunshine. When divers were being readied for the after noon dive I could see my buddy did not look well. My edict is this, if it is my dive buddy calling an end to a dive I do so. I expect the same in return.

We decided he should not go on the second dive. He is an instructor and a regular dive buddy so we know each other well enough to say, hey skip the next dive if you are tired, or too cold, or feeling unwell. Sure he wanted to come on the dive but I said look, you are still going to be too cold and won't enjoy the dive and cut the dive time short so maybe I should stay on the boat with him. My buddy goes yup, staying on the boat you go enjoy the dive.


In Lombok we had a DM in training as the chap called himself panic on a dive in current 10 minutes into the dive. His first current dive even though he claimed he was really experienced. So the dive op owner leading the dive with his partner, myself, my instructor buddy and this other diver who joined our vacation I had not met before. So the partner calls her dive to take the panicked diver back to the boat. Three of us continue the dive. The panicked diver did not do any dives with us that day and his next three days he went diving with another op in calm waters. We had breakfast and dinner every day with that DM in training. Showed him some video from other fast washing machine currents we dived in. He is saying you guys are nuts lol Glad he realized his experience with diving was not what he thought it was. He never thought as a rescue diver or DM in training he would be the one being rescued.
If I decide to call a dive for whatever reason and my dive buddy does not follow me to the surface, then too bad I am heading for the surface. I won't be calling a dive unless I feel unwell or have some equipment issue.
 

Wibble

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...His first current dive even though he claimed he was really experienced.
One of the great challenges in diving. Experienced means actually having done a wide range of diving in a variety of different circumstances and 'experienced' the challenges.

Experienced doesn't mean look at my collection of certifications. I've a pet peeve regarding how certifications are communicated as "you're great, look at your certifications" rather than "you've now achieved the minimum required standards, now go out and get the experience and raise those standards".

I was that Muppet who, with 30 dives and AOW, actually said the toe-curling words "I'm advanced". I knew nothing, not even enough to know I knew nothing.

Hopefully the guy @Blackcrusader mentioned above learned a lot that day. He made a good adult decision.
 

Germie

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Just continue the dive solo. If I am not guiding or teaching, I have the right for a normal dive, at least 60 minutes in sportsdiving if nothing goes wrong with my gas. (normally longer is also no problem, I am a low consumer). So if my buddy is blowing bubbles like hell, I will bring him to the boat, but continue the dive solo till I have drained my tank to reserves. If a buddy calls the dive, I will bring him to a place he can go up and continu solo. I only go up if I for sure get my money back for that destroyed dive AND get the chance to have a good dive so that the amount of dives in my holiday will not be less than planned. Of course I pay for the dives that go as a customer wants that they go. But I am not a babysitter on paid dives.

BUt if something really goes wrong, I try to help, like last august when 4 out of the group of 8 went down to over 50m on Elphinstone on a single tank, I decided to help the guide to pick the divers up. Even the best guide cannot guide a group anymore if 4 divers ignore everything and go for a depthrecord in the blue. At 44m I looked at my spg, I calculated that I could pick up 1 or 2 divers, decided that my maximum depth on air on a 12 liter tank would be 55m so I can do some deco without problems and went down. The guide would never be able to pick up all 4 divers at that depth alone. Then I help. I was the most experienced diver in the group, even more experienced at depth and deco as the guide.

And sometimes you get buddied up with a diver you don't know and officially it has not the best certs, but then it will be a good dive. In 2011 I was 3* divemaster, and got buddied up with an open water diver on a wreckdive to 35m depht (In Spain there is no open water, every diver can go to 40m). So I said to the owner of the divecenter: You know my plans? I go inside the wreck and I will get some deco. Yes, I know. You know that I do'nt want to change my diveplan? No, that is right. Ok, then I take that open water diver in the wreck and we will have some deco. The diver has to take the 18liter steel like I also dive with. And so we did and had a great dive. Of course I was also the deco captain, but I was not responsible anymore because I told about my plans to the divecenter. The open water diver was not a bad diver, and a low consumer, also had done some wreckpenetrations before.

So I will help my buddy to get safe somewhere in the dive and then go further solo.
 
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