Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Spearfishing in Summer by wayne Duncan

My Mate Wayno writes for a local paper ... here is a sneak preview of his article.

Diving in the heat of summer can be seriously claustrophobic.Often it’s like
30 000 degrees by 5:30am. Now imagine climbing into a wetsuit in these
conditions. Often you wake up, after sleeping in nothing, having thrown the
sheets off at midnight. The fan is on maximum and you are off for a dive. The
game fish love the hot weather and water. You arrive at the beach, and kit up.
First of all it’s your wet suit. Made up of two parts. A “long John”, which is
long pants and a vest top all in one. You then put your top on, long sleeves
with a hoodie ( a beanie made of wet suit material). In addition to this you put
on neoprene socks (to prevent chafing from your fins), and gloves, also make of
neoprene. If all this does not make you feel rather bogged in, you then put your
mask on. By now your feeling like stepping into a fridge to cool down. Many dive
spots require some walking. So its often a long walk up the beach before or/and
after your dive. This does not help you temperature management. Many guys carry
all the gear up the beach (including weight belt and gun and float and fins) and
then get dressed at the designated dive spot. Not a bad idea! And if you shoot
some good fish…oh boy. Now you have no hands to carry gear, so you are forced to
wear your gear, and you have to carry 30kg of fish up the beach. It’s a lot of
weight to drag up a long soft, hot beach. All the while it’s getting later in
the day and the temperature is climbing.One thing about these suits, you really
sweat in them. They are designed to keep you warm after all! You wrap some
plastic around yourself and sit in the sun, you’ll sweat. It’s very much the
same with a suit. I wont tell you how the whole equation is worsened by not
being able to go to a toilet while out to sea. This results in…well lets just
say “some unwanted soak”. Siss man.

The other morning I went for a dive off my boat. That night was really
hot, I remember sweating like mad through the night, leaving a wet pillow in the
bead as I woke up. My dive buddy was picking me up and I was running a little
late. I grabbed my gear and headed to the boat. We hit the beach in record time.
While launching the boat one of my water bottles were washed off the boat. We
dived for about three hours. After two hours I really started to feel a
bit “miff”. My head felt swollen and I was feeling slightly sea sick and
slightly disorientated.
When we hit the beach I headed home, feeling terrible
I lay on the bead for an hour trying to recover.I had a head ache and felt like
doing absolutely nothing, and I was seriously grumpy (sorry wife!) Suddenly it
dawned on me…”I’m thirsty”. As I thought about it I realized that I had had
almost no liquid in the last 12 hours.Being a warm night I sweated out a lot of
liquid during the night. Being late I did not drink anything before we left, and
I did not drink a lot on the boat. To remedy the situation, I drank about
three liters of “energade” and immediately started to feel better, although was
not full recovered for 24hrs.

It was a silly error. Talking to experienced divers, I found that most
good divers “pre hydrate”. This means that they fill themselves with liquid
before diving. Water before you sleep, water as you wake, and water before you
dive (not to much to avoid being bloated). Energade seem to be a firm favorite.
If you are on a boat, drink something every 30 min.

Being dehydrated is no fun. Due to the time it takes to recover, it could
seriously wreck a weekend dive trip!