You dont always need to get wet to go diving…
Saturday 7th March saw a group from the club swapping the cold spring water for the Midland Dive Chamber for a 50m dive in the dry
After a safety briefing that highlighted the lack of common sense amongst the general public (we saw the aftermath when a patient tried to smoke a cigarette in a chamber full of 100% O2) and showed us common signs and symptoms of DCI, we donned fetching scrubs ready to enter the hyperbaric chamber.
The first part of the descent was very strange. It felt like we were dropping deceptively quickly, needing to clear our ears every few seconds, but it took us 50 seconds to reach 3m. It then got very warm and misty as we descended to the bottom (30.5oC; 65% humidity). Footballs shrunk in on themselves, a ping-pong ball went bang and a sheet of 5mm neoprene became paper-thin. More interestingly, most of us struggled with our ability to process simple tasks. Converting numbers into a six-letter word took some of our group 7.5 minutes. I think the best part of the dive though was listening to Martin and Nick’s voices change from baritone to soprano.
As we ascended, the temperature dropped to a chilly 12.8oC and the scrubs felt woefully inadequate. We spend much of the ascent on 100% oxygen as a safety precaution – the NHS would frown on the Dive Chamber if they created their own patients! After surfacing we had a de-brief and the chance to ask lots of questions. The staff were brilliant, just the people I’d want to look after me in a medical emergency.