Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, Vanua Levu, Fiji Islands
I'm in too deep
I've opened up my eyes now
'Cause now I understand how
It's easy when the fear is real with the fear
I cannot sleep
Walking in a dreamland
Wishing I could feel shame
'Cause there's nobody else to blame nobody else
--Mathew Sweet, In Too Deep
Imagine a sudden wave of disorientation. Faint numbness in the ears, face, the extremities.
You suddenly lose a significant portion of your judgment, your ability to reason. Your IQ, in effect, drops many points.
You're dizzy. You're confused.
Now imagine you're deep underwater. You're in a dangerous situation. Water is a hostile environment; it will kill you.
You're supposed to be paying attention. You're supposed to be careful. You're supposed to be serious.
And you're high as a fucking kite and you're grinning like a fool. You have a wicked buzz on and you're no longer quite sure how to do the things you need to do to survive and be safe.
This is Nitrogen Narcosis.
'Rapture of the Deep' they used to call it.
I like it.
I like going deep. I like pushing limits. I like to see what's down there. I like being places where people don't go, on the edge of where things get very dangerous. And I love the feeling of being narced out of my skull.
Dangerous? Yeah. A little.
But the thing is, once you know you're there, that you're a moron, you can compensate. It's like when you know you're a little too drunk to drive, legally; you can go into a super-careful mode and get home. When I'm narced, I go to pure technical basics. It's gauge in front of my eyes and complete awareness of where I am, and complete awareness that I have to err to the caution side in every case.
I know I'm stupid -- so I follow the rules.
And here's the really cool thing; narcosis too much for you? Go up a few feet, nice and slow, and ping , it's gone. Your head is completely clear. Completely. No after-effects whatsoever. So I know when I get that buzzing, numbing, con fused feeling that I can make it go away with only a few feet of depth.
People who used drugs when they were younger seem to have an easier time with the narcosis. Being stoned and then doing things makes sense to these people. People who've used Nitrous Oxide (Laughing gas) recreationally know even better. They know the buzz, and understand the idea of recognizing one's own chemically limited faculties.
So today, I went deep. And yes, I enjoyed a few moments of mild narcosis. I've gone deeper -- I've been more narced. But I had a very, very nice dive.
I woke, as usual, early, and went to get coffee and breakfast. But the dive master told me I was the only one scheduled to go out; many people were leaving today or tomorrow. I had the whole boat to myself (The boat can take twelve divers.)
Figuring that was boring, I managed to collect one additional diver as I was heading to the boat, so it was two of us. I told the dive master I wanted a deep wall today, and he suggested a sire called "Hole in the Wall".
It is indeed a beautiful spot; a sheer drop wall, with infinite blue below. After my drop to 140' and my short bout of narcosis, we worked slowly up the wall; pushing my computer to it's limits the whole way by staying deep and long; 45 minutes with that max depth.
Possibly the best dive I've had since I'm been here.
The second was less memorable; a site called 'Lighthouse'. An average dive. We'll leave it at that. But a very good morning, a quiet, nearly empty boat and some very nice conditions.