Today, Dr. Elmer Mejia and I spent more than 8 hours talking to a group of 18 boat captains about oxygen first aid, the causes of diving injuries and how to better care for their divers. And the amazing part was, they never stopped paying attention. Even more amazing—there wasn’t a single monster in the room.
Every time I talk about the Harvesting Diver project, it seems like the boat captains end up being the ones who get blamed for exploiting the divers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be that simple. If they were exploiters, I can’t imagine them taking an entire day out of their lives to learn about providing first aid for an injured or disabled diver. There is the liability side of it, of course, but if they were forced to be there, I don’t think they would have had the attitude they did.
We spent the entire morning addressing the skills and information necessary to provide oxygen first aid, using the DAN course. Because Elmer was translating for me, and they asked a lot of questions, we spent more than an hour and a half working our way through the knowledge development portion. They preferred that over a subtitled video—they wanted to be able to ask questions and learn more. We went over CPR and everyone took their turn on the manikin. And each person got a round of applause when they were finished. Doesn’t sound like a group of monsters to me.
In the afternoon, Elmer took over with a more detailed lecture on dive accidents. And then taught the boat captains how to prepare and insert a Foley Catheter when the divers surface but aren’t able to urinate. I didn’t hear a joke or a single person make a snide comment like they weren’t willing to do that. Maybe it was peer pressure. Maybe today was just the best of them and the next two days will even out a bit, but I was impressed.
My guess is the next two groups of captains will have the same attitude. Makes things much harder to figure out.
Lionfish side note: Lionfish are an invasive species that aren’t supposed to be in the Caribbean. But they are here. This is the one fish that everyone (the fishermen, the environmentalists) agrees on. We need to eat them into extinction—at least those on this side. Not the ones in the Pacific. Throughout the Caribbean, people are organizing fish rodeos and encouraging restaurants to prepare them. So, today we had Lionfish Ceviche as a snack and then fried Lionfish for lunch. First time I’ve had it. It was good. Not terribly fishy and had a good texture. So, eat up world. Lionfish is the next delicacy. And we are supposed to overfish this one!