Physics

I love physics.

Particles that are waves.

Objects that bend space.

Tiny little things that occupy more than the 4 dimensions we can understand.

But right now, physics is giving me a headache.

First off, I’m proud chalk one more up for the good guys and I’ve fixed our generator.  Admittedly I had lots of help from Igna, a local one-armed machanic who is AWESOME.  If it’s mechanical, Igna can fix it.  Pilots Point Marina who did most of the (excellent) work on Ondine before we left basically refused to repair my generator using age and unreliability as reasons to not move ahead (they recommended buying a new one for $15,000+).  But here we are and it’s working.  Just a couple more bolts to keep the capacitors snug and we’re good-to-go.

Just as I was in the process of doing this, I dropped a wrench off the side.   So I immediately dove in to get it.  We’re in about 30 feet of water, and I’ve snorkeled that deep plenty of times before.

So there’s this thing about physics.  You just can’t break the rules.  And it pays to remember that the beautiful Caribbean water we are living on weighs signifcantly more than air.  And that when the pressure of the water is greater than the pressure in the air spaces in your body, nasty things can start to happen – even if you are not using compressed oxygen (dive tanks) to breath.

I’m not a rookey snorkler or free-diver, I’ve been doing it since I was about seven years old.  Maybe younger.  I used to dive for sea urchins as a kid so that my Mother could eat “uni” for lunch on the Greek beaches.  But for whatever thoughtless reason, I didn’t take the time to equalize as I decended.  Probably because I was a little short of breath, in a hurry, and just wanted to get the generator going.  Anyway, as my mask squeezed tighter on my face (should have put more air in there) and  my ears and head began to feel like they were squeezed (should have held my nose and blown out), I just thought “wimp” and kept going to the bottom to get the wrench (replacement value less than $20.)  Of course I got it, but then when I came up to get out of the water, I noticed blood in my mask,  and as I took off the mask, blood seemed to be *everywhere*.   I called for Emma-Kate as I was feeling a little disoriented.   She looked really shocked when she saw me as my eyes had already started to swell up.  In fact I had blown blood vessels in my eyes.  (The pic above is after I recovered a little – we really should have taken pictures right away, but I thankfully, Emma-Kate cares more about me than blogging.)

So lesson learned: I’m not a kid anymore.  I can’t just dive off the boat and hit the bottom 30ft below without equalizing.  If I ever could.  And of course the “quick” job to finish fixing the generator still isn’t done as I recuperate on my bunk and write about the experience.

In case this worries anyone, we did consult a Dr. immediately, and I’m going to be fine.  Just a few broken blood vessels and a bruised ego.  Both of which are expected to heal quickly.

:-)

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http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesangreen