By Herbert Carver – Fall of 1974
This event probably happened in the fall of ’74, because I left in November ’74. I still don’t know/remember the name of the Sea Bee that was with me that day, and I hope that he might see it now.
A CB and I were scuba diving for lobster north of Wells Harbor (WH is the dark/deep water just north and west of Sand Island) and there was a stiff SE wind that day. While under water, I returned to where I thought the boat should be anchored and the boat wasn’t there. I surfaced, looked downwind and there was the boat, broadside to the wind, and moving further away with every second. It was heading towards the opening in the reef. I signaled to my dive buddy (can’t remember his name) to surface. We had a quick discussion. We were too far from the Island to swim for it and figured it would be after dark before a helicopter would come looking for us. The hook was the closest reef to wait for a rescue. It was decided that I would go swimming after the boat. I left my tank and speargun with him, told him to swim towards what I referred to as “the hook”, south of where we were.
I swam after that boat for a long time. The bottom went from 60′ deep to where there was no bottom once I swam outside the boundaries of the atoll. There was no reference to anything, just that blue, grey of unlimited visibility. My arms wore out, so I swam with just my legs. When they wore out, I swam with only my arms. Swapping off from one to the other as the swim went on.
I kept looking in the nothingness for a big shark, but thankfully there were none. When I finally caught up with the boat, I could see that the anchor rope had snapped about 5′ from the bow. I was able to pull myself into the boat, but I didn’t have the strength to pull the rope. I held onto the starting rope and just fell backwards, and it started.
I headed back to my buddy around the hook. The water was so rough and choppy with nice size waves, that I had to stand up while looking for him. When I did see him, he was so close to me that I almost ran him over.
That was the closest I ever came to finding out what there is next after life is gone. I have never felt that alone, ever.
and The Surrounding
Lagoon and Reef