Scuba Diving in Croatia: Diver Beware!

Yesterday we agreed that today’s the day –

we are going scuba diving. There are dive centers up and down the coast, and one is within walking distance of Stara Vila. We have been promising ourselves a diving day here in Croatia, but so far have not made it. We arrange with Duscha to have our breakfast early so that we can be there by 10.

A Perfect Day for Diving in Croatia 

Clear blue sky, not too much wind – a perfect for diving in Croatia. We will do a wreck dive today – an Italian ship, the Murano, that was carrying coal for the Germans during WWII and that was sunk just off Primošten by a cannon on the mainland hill that rises above town. After 30 minutes on the boat, we are in position, and in we go. This is our 1st dive since Turkey and I am surprised at how comfortable I feel immediately on entering the water. The visibility is amazing – we can see forever down here the water is so clear. We go to the 30-metre depth, and it is so clear that looking up you can see the ripples on the surface – amazing. There are some fish – not like in Bali or Thailand, but certainly more fish than we saw when we dove in Turkey. This is not a coral area – the water is too cold for that. The wreck is interesting – more for the fish than the wreck itself, as most of the coal, the propeller, and the anchor have been salvaged. We see scorpionfish, lobster and shark eggs (but no sharks) today. After 35 minutes or so, Greg signals that he is going up and rises to the top, and I can see him getting onto the boat while the rest of us are hovering at about 5 metres in depth, using the rest of our air. When I go up, exhilarated from the dive, I find that he has not enjoyed his dive nearly as much as I – he didn’t take enough weight on his belt, and so has had to fight to keep from rising the entire time, using his air more quickly than the rest of us. Too bad – diving is so magical when you can relax and enjoy it.

Greg’s Dive Story

I had been struggling since we got in the water, adjusting the air in my BCD to make me more buoyant, dealing with the cold water, generally feeling rushed. I realize how important it is to trust your divemaster and the group you are diving with. The two other divers in our group were somewhat maverick – kicking up and standing on the bottom, letting their second stages and gauges drag on the bottom, disturbing the sea life and our visibility. They seemed completely unaware of us or anything else that was going on. Our divemaster, Goran, never confirmed my air levels during the dive and when I ran out of air, which I did, he was far too ahead of me to give me any direction what to do. I panic slightly, my breaths becoming shorter and shorter. It is rather frightening being suddenly aware that you can’t breathe completely and even those short breaths of air are running out. I make a couple of kick strokes towards John and signal that I am out of air and heading up. I don’t wait for his reaction. I don’t have far to go, 4 or 5 meters at most and I try not to think about the rest period I should have had before coming up. I break through the surface and quickly realize that I have to manually blow up my own BCD to keep me afloat. Five or six big breaths later I am buoyant and start to swim towards the boat. I am a little angry and get angrier later as Goran avoids bringing up any concerns with me. As he surfaces, he pulls his off mask and still in the water, asks “How was the dive?” Biting my lip, I sarcastically answer, “I’ve had better”.

The rest of the day is back to normal – relax in the sun, nap in the room, dinner by the sea and early to bed. New guests have arrived in Croatia and  Stara Vila and replaced the friends that we have made here. We will have to wait until breakfast tomorrow to meet them.

Traveling on a Whim and Without Direction
Lounging on the Dalmatian Coast: Around Primošten, Croatia
Wreck Dive: USS Liberty: Tulamben, Bali
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