D-d-d-diving the Adriatic. (Brrrrrrrrr!)

Dubrovnik Travel Blog

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At the dive shop, ready to go.

When the dive master handed me a thick (5 mil) full-length wetsuit, it didn’t cause me too much concern. I asked, “Is it cold here?” and he shrugged as if to say, Naaah, not so much (I later came to realize he doesn’t speak English at all and uses that same response for everything English).

Later, on the boat, I noticed all the other divers donning hoods and boots along with their full length, lined wetsuits, which something one very rarely sees (that is, when one is strictly a warm water diver like I am!). When we dive the Caribbean I usually wear a cap, and am almost always the only one in a long suit, because I get cold even in that warm water. But still, I didn’t worry despite all these clues of upcoming coldness. It was hot out, and the water looked truly inviting!

Then when I jumped in and experienced the immediate shock of cold, it started to sink in, literally.
Staging our equipment. Every place does it differently.
Hmmmm, pretty chilly. But the first impression is always cold, then you get used to it and it feels good. Generally. But as we descended it got even more cold! Exactly nine minutes into the dive, when I couldn’t feel my hands, my teeth were trying to chatter around the regulator, and I started to think about hypothermia (prematurely perhaps, but still), it REALLY hit me. Damn, it’s &*%#(%&  COLD here!

I made the signal for “I am freezing my ass off” to Steve and he replied in kind. OK, if HE’S cold it must be sub zero! I considered ascending. I knew Steve would be fine cutting the dive short. But what if they brought EVERYONE up because of me? I didn’t want to spoil things for the whole group, but how could I possibly last an hour in this cold? All of these thoughts ran through my head, causing me great stress.
Unaware at this point of what I was getting into.
Stress and panic are things you should really try to avoid when deep underwater breathing from a tube on a large can of air.

I just pressed on, and very soon, thankfully, we hit a “warm patch.” (We kept swimming thru the super-chilled water, followed by these warmer patches… which weren’t really warm, except in comparison to the cold areas. I really have never experienced anything like it.) I stopped chattering and felt better, and continued on. I made it thru that dive, one minute at a time.    

The dive was definitely lacking in marine life (it was probably too COLD for fish :^), but there were beautiful, massive rock formations and some narrow canyon swim-thrus. The plant life was mainly sea grass and some growths -- maybe a type of coral -- that looked like clusters of Pringles.
Our dive site. It's COLD down there!
I enjoyed none of it though, just shivering and wishing for the moment we could go back to the boat. Luckily, the dive was blessedly short because one of the divers used his air fast (hallelujah!). It was just 35 minutes as opposed to the regular 45-60 minutes.

Back on dry land, Steve’s dive computer, which has a thermometer, said the underwater temp had been 63F (17C). You might think, Oh, that’s a nice Autumn day, not bad! But, underwater temps are a whole different ballgame… 63 is too cold for humans to be comfortable underwater! I usually avoid the water when it gets below 78F (25.5C). Brrr.

I was still cold on the boat, and later during lunch. Back at our apartment, I focused on the hard task of lying by the pool (to warm up of course!). It worked well, plus I finished my book too. Things always work out.



 
cmgervais says:
OK, remind me to never go diving in So. California! You must wear a dry suit for that, right? Brrr...
Posted on: Aug 22, 2008
cneoridium says:
The Adriatic is weird like that, the deep, cold water upwells a lot, so it'll be warm, then suddenly cold, even on the surface! Of course being from southern California where it's usually in the mid 50's at depth, 63 doesn't sound bad...
Posted on: Aug 22, 2008
abbyroadie4 says:
So I have never dived before, but I did snorkel in the Carribean and the water was 80 degrees and I was still shivering. 63 degrees!!??? I can't believe that.
Posted on: Aug 20, 2008
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At the dive shop, ready to go.
At the dive shop, ready to go.
Staging our equipment. Every place…
Staging our equipment. Every plac…
Unaware at this point of what I wa…
Unaware at this point of what I w…
Our dive site. Its COLD down ther…
Our dive site. It's COLD down the…
Sea spray.
Sea spray.
Self portrait in the dive boat.
Self portrait in the dive boat.
Back on board, thank god.
Back on board, thank god.
After the dive, checking out the p…
After the dive, checking out the …
Where I spent the afternoon. Nice …
Where I spent the afternoon. Nice…
The cook at work in her gourmet ki…
The cook at work in her gourmet k…
Our tiny table acts as food prep a…
Our tiny table acts as food prep …
Tuna salad al fresco.
Tuna salad al fresco.
Dubrovnik
photo by: benwielenga