Monday 25 July 2011

Boat of Puking Divers, Part the Third

B sat with his arms folded.

“Why aren’t you going back in?” I asked, as I attempted to make myself a coffee whilst not acquiring a burn on my left arm to match the one on my right (the result of an accident with a kettle earlier this year); no easy feat when the boat is pitching around.

“It’s cold.”

This surprised me, as B is by no means a fair-weather diver. Then it occurred to me. “Didn’t you just get back from the Phillipines?”

He gave me a look of deepest gloom. If you imagine the expression of people who have just arrived back on the plane from Florida in August wearing t-shirts, shorts and sandals only to look out of the plane window and see black skies and hurling rain, multiplied by a factor of ten, you’ve more or less got it. “Yup.”

“’Scuse me.”

This was not B, but A, another regular dive buddy of mine. A suddenly stood up and dashed past me to join the other divers on the puking side of the boat*. This also surprised me, since I’ve never seen A throwing up on the boat.

“What’s up with him?”

“Two bottles of wine and a brandy last night.”

“No sympathy then.”

“’Scuse me.”

B pushed past me to join A. This was becoming a pattern. I looked through the wildly-lurching porthole, and counted five people throwing up over the side. This was something of a record, which J, the senior divemaster pointed out with slightly more relish than was necessary. I decided to go outside myself; I’m not usually cursed with seasickness (thank you, God), but even I was feeling slightly “off”. The best way to cure this is to sit in the fresh air and look at the horizon, which I did for all of five minutes, before I got fed up with being rained on and decided I could look at the horizon through the entrance to the cabin.

As I wandered in vaguely thinking about a Mini Roll, J was asking “Does this banana belong to anyone?”

I looked across. “Yes, it’s L’s,” I replied, somewhat pointlessly since half the banana was well on its way to become part of J. I sincerely hoped this meant L wasn’t going to be suffering on our next dive. I can’t say that I was exactly looking forward to the dive – I was having visions of the warm seas, clear water, and sunshine I hoped to encounter on my upcoming summer holiday in Crete** – but it did have the great advantage that it would take us away from the boat of puking divers.

* There is a system for this, and it’s mentioned in the PADI Manual, believe it or not. You go to the leeward side of the boat (leeward = if you stand on that side facing towards the sea, the wind is blowing on the back of your head, not the front – windward is the other way around), and throw up over the side, the theory being that the wind will blow it away from both you and the boat. Which makes sense, since if there’s one thing guaranteed to add insult to injury when you’ve just thrown up, it’s getting it all blown back in your face. (The PADI Manual also helpfully adds: “Stay out of the head [toilet] – that’s about the worst place to go”).

** Correctly, as it turned out. Watch this space.

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