Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Long Time Ago in a Tunnel Far Far Away

During our HavItAll scuba weekend, Ichay B and I were reminiscing about our scuba diving days in the eighties. We remembered one near accident we had inside the Mapating Cave, which is a tough cave dive complicated by its deep depth.

Not surprisingly, we had different recollections of the near-25-year-old event. The third person in the cave, Jingjing T, couldn't be reached by cellphone but we all did get to contact each other weeks later.

Here are the e-mails and the three versions:

To: Jingjing
From: Dennis

As I recall that dive from 20 years ago, we were all in the short tunnel in Mapating - me in front, followed by you and Ichay. Somehow, I remember looking back (for what reason I cannot recall) and then seeing Ichay and you moving into a buddy-breathing position.

However, you couldn't get your reg into her mouth. When I looked closer, I saw that her reg's mouthpiece was still in her mouth! Somehow, her reg and mouthpiece had separated in the cave! I remember sticking my finger into the mouthpiece hole, still in Ichay's mouth, and flicking it off with my finger. Then I gave her my reg and I went for my octopus.

Once we were both breathing again, we moved to the cave mouth, I gave her the octopus and I got my own reg back, then we made our ascent with you following closely behind.

In Ichay's version, she recalls that she started buddy breathing with you in the short tunnel and that I took over for some (unrecalled) reason.


To: Dennis
From: Jingjing

Well, for my version of the story...
Before the dive, Ichay and I had an agreement that since we were buddies, that we would do the buddy breathe just in case anyone was low on air during the deco stop.

What I remember is that we just got out of the cave and before our ascent, Ichay pulls my reg from my mouth. I obliged because I had expected it. But I wondered why it came a bit too soon. Anyway, so we calmly moved into the buddy breathing position. I didn't notice she had her other mouthpiece still in her mouth. That's why she had water every time she inhaled and couldn't get enough air. I thought she was breathing well. After she took two breaths, I was expecting my reg back but she wouldn't give it back yet. I waited another 2 breaths and before the situation got worse, you came along. You saved both our lives from damage at that point. We never thanked you. Thanks!


To: Jingjing
From: Dennis

How galing your memory. My recollection has got to be wrong then since I must've sensed you both struggling with the reg - that's the reason I must've looked back. The only question is whether we were still in the short tunnel or already in the entrance.

And, of course, the craziest question of all - how did Ichay's reg get separated from her mouthpiece in the first place???


To: Dennis
From: Ichay

My and Jing's versions match. Dennis, you're not much older than us ha! :)

To add on to Jing's version- we were in the short tunnel, Dennis was ahead, I was next, then Jing. I started breathing water and immediately, there was a sharp and intense pain - must be the lack of air at 150 feet. When I was at the verge of blacking out from the pain, I just had enough sense to think that I needed air so I turned around because Dennis was too far ahead and saw Jing's silhouette (the light from end of the tunnel was several meters behind her). I grabbed for the general direction of her mouth. At this point, everything was a blur and luckily, my hand landed on her reg. Until now I wonder what would have happened if my hand missed Jing's reg.

I must have not been thinking well anymore because I realized after the dive that I never gave Jing back her reg. Sorry Jing!!! That's when Dennis came.

So Dennis, yes. Thanks for saving Jing and I! :)

And as to why my mouthpiece came off, I have no idea.


Funny how a single event can have multiple shades of memory. Very Rashomon.

The reason Ichay never got into any trouble, of course, had nothing to do with me. It's because she has six toes! (As blogged by her sister here.)

Her Dad once told me that because of this, "maswerte si Ichay." And true enough, she has always been a lucky person.


Toe said...

Hi Dennis!!! That photo is freaky... not because of the six toes but because Ate Ichay looks like she has two right feet! :)


Toe said...

Hi Dennis! I'm sure I posted a comment here yesterday. Baka na-spam. :( Anyway, I said that the photo of Ate Ichay's foot looks freaky, not because of the six toes, but because it looks like she has two right feet. :)


DV said...

Hi Tonette!

I stole the photo from your blog - it's a post from 2006 yata about her finding an officemate with 6 toes also.

Hope you don't mind my linking to your post!


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