When is it okay to abandon your dive buddy?

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scoobajay

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I may be fishing here….

My dive buddy and I, along with a small group, were following the DM through a series of swim throughs. We got a little spaced out and I watched the DM and the 3 other divers ahead drop pretty quickly out of site. When I got to the spot they disappeared from I saw the tips of some fins dissappear into a passage about 20 feet below me. I just wasn’t comfortable trying to drop that quickly to catch them so I followed their bubbles above. Buddy was following me as is our usual pattern and saw we were no longer with the group. I gave him a shrug and continued to follow the bubbles. I felt a tug on my fin and looked back but assumed I had kicked something (I’m kind of a hot mess sometimes) and kept moving along. A few seconds later I looked back again to see him finning hard in the opposite direction. I turned to follow and he gestured angrily for me to hurry up.

As it turns out, the current was really strong and I wasn’t getting very far. Soon, he was around the corner and out of site. As I reached the turn, I couldn’t see him ahead at all. I was getting really winded from swimming hard into the current and started to feel a bit of panic setting in. When I finally caught sight of him I signaled for him to slow down. He made some angry gestures and continued on as fast as possible. At this point we were around 30 feet apart (or what I consider too far to effectively handle an emergency situation, thus too far). I gestured at him twice more to slow down and both times he angrily swam faster and further from me. Now, for me, once I get out of breath, I feel out of control. When I feel out of control, I get an urge to end the dive. Like, Now.

Because I’ve dealt with panic attacks in a variety of situations I’m always able to breathe and rationalize my way out of them. It doesn’t make them any more comfortable, but I trust that I understand what’s going on in my mind enough to talk myself out of it. So I spent the next couple of minutes being still, breathing deeply, watching him get further and further away from me, knowing that swimming to keep up would only make my panic worse. Eventually, I made it to him and to the group and motioned to him that I needed to Buddy up because I was breathing too heavily. He acquiesced, stayed with me, and we finished the dive.

Afterward, I found out he thought I purposefully ignored the fin tug and was trying to swim away from the group to do our own thing. He thought my subsequent gestures were telling him not to slow down but to calm down bc he was mad.

IMO and training, your buddy is your lifeline and your priority over the group of other divers. Is there ever a legitimate reason for ignoring and swimming away from your buddy?

Btw, spouse is my dive buddy and you’re doing marriage counseling…
 

BoltSnap

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Miscommunications and both of you are to blame here. Your buddy swimming away from you in anger is not so cool (I have to be careful of what I say here since your buddy is your spouse). I would NOT swim fast or hard to try to catch up with the group or buddy. I'd swim at my pace without getting exhausted or becoming out of breath.

A fin tug to get your attention and not following up on his part is silly btw.

Spouses don't always make good dive buddies for each other, frequently they should buddy up with others.
 

uncfnp

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I felt a tug on my fin and looked back but assumed I had kicked something (I’m kind of a hot mess sometimes) and kept moving along. A
Here is the mistake. He signaled for attention. You looked back but did not communicate with your buddy. Then continued you dive. What was your buddy doing when you looked back?
 

AJ

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IMO and training, your buddy is your lifeline...
I have to disagree with this. I regard a buddy as someone who's diving with me the same day, same water. You and you alone are responsible for your safety. I know agencies teach otherwise, but I don't agree with them.

In het best situation a buddy is able to help you or other way around. At worst, your buddy is nowhere to be seen or lacking skills when you're in trouble. Select your buddy with care before you consider them a lifeline.
 

yle

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Sounds like you were both panicking a little here, i.e. your ability to think calmly and rationally had been compromised. At least you recognized it, but it doesn't seem like your buddy did.

Also, swimming against current is always a bad idea... you'll work too hard, breathe too hard, get tired and drain your air at the same time. And you'll get nowhere while doing it. If current is an issue where you're going to be diving, how you're going to deal with it should be part of your dive plan (discussed with your buddy) prior to getting in the water.
 

Wibble

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Being good buddies takes time and effort on both people's part. The 'front' buddy must learn to constantly check that the 'back' buddy's there. The back buddy must communicate with the front buddy, so must not stop without letting the front buddy know, etc.

One great way of doing this is to dive with narrow, bright torches. You both have them and the back buddy points the beam on the bottom, just in front of the front buddy. The front buddy points their torch on top of your beam. Thus the front buddy knows you're there without having to turn around, and should the back buddy's beam disappear, they can see it immediately.

Make life simpler. More fun diving.
 

Wibble

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When you are in the car does the passenger do the diving
Yes. Have you seen rally driving? One driver drives the car, the second navigates.

Same with diving. Apparently.

Well it would be if my wife dived :roast:
 

divinh

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After being certified, I think I stuck to the guide like glue, as I've noticed many newly certified divers do. It did not matter so much what the insta-buddies did, as I would expect them to do the same, tightly follow the guide. We weren't familiar with the route, even with the briefing. Getting lost was a big concern.

With more experience, the routes and navigation made more sense and I knew that, worse case, I could surface and deploy the multitude of safety gear I've acquired. Now, when insta-buddies just jet off, I have no worries about following and letting them do their thing, as I feel I could manage an emergency without the guide.
 
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