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Antarctic Diving 22 - Cold, Injured and Miserable

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Not every dive was in good conditions! This is me (right) and my mate Paul (left) having come back after a dive about 200m away. The ice in the sea meant we couldn't take a boat or swim at the surface, the snow on land was too deep to walk through, we found that we were too light on weights (all that neoprene makes you very buoyant) to get down and under the ice in 2-3 metres, so we decided to wade through the ice along the inshore shallows to where it was deeper and then force our way through to about 5m depth and dive down.

Well it was incredibly hard work to get out there, then finally we were ready to dive down and I in particular kept bobbing back up like a cork. To stay down I had to get deep enough for my suit to be compressed and so not be so buoyant as to take me back up to the surface again. I was concentrating on this so much and finning like buggery to get myself to sink that I neglected to clear my ears soon enough - no time to pause, I'd just pop back up again.

The good news is that we did get down and have a decent dive. The bad news was that we had to wade through all this very heavy slushy and lumpy ice again and that ear-clearing episode that I forgot about meant I perforated my right ear drum.

We were so knackered, cold and bad tempered when we finally got back to the base, that someone felt they had to record it for posterity, so here it is!

The ear-perforation was painful - like ear ache (unsurprisingly) when the doctor checked it, he said it was about as tiny a perforation as it was possible to ever have. It cleared up after a week or so and has never caused any problems, it taught me a lesson though, and I suggest you don't try this at home!

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