Updated: Sep 15
Last year I went to Cyprus with RSAC for the first time. I had 2 days of easy, comfortable diving. Four dives ranging from 28 - 35 metres. There were no problems, no issues and no missed safety stops.
But I got BENT.
About 90 minutes after we finished diving on day 2, I began getting a variety of symptoms ranging over the course of approximately 2 hours. Tenderness to my abdomen, tightness and itching to my upper arms, a visual disturbance, tightness and discomfort to my upper chest and a rash on my abdomen.
This resulted in me attending a local private hospital for blood tests, ECG’s and x-rays. Then a trip in an ambulance to the Chamber Centre and 3-4 hours in the chamber. Then back to the hospital via ambulance for an overnight stay. Then a return trip to the chamber, again in an ambulance, for another 3 hour session.
I was never presented with a bill for the process but I did see an invoice for the first chamber session, which was €5,885.00. On that basis I estimate the bill was up to €15,000 for the entire treatment and hospital bill (it could even have been more).
Someone connected to my travel Insurance company spoke to me and advised that they only covered scuba diving up to 18 metres and therefore they would not cover my bill.
So, to the best £80 I’ve ever spent:
My DAN diving insurance - taken out in 2019 prior to a club trip to the Red Sea and on the recommendation of other club members. Following my chamber visits, I spoke to some lovely people at DAN (www.daneurope.org/en/diving-insurance), who reassured me that everything would be taken care of. And it was. I did not have to do anything, they took care of it all.
The moral of this story:
1. Please, please, please take out proper dive insurance if diving abroad. You might not be able to afford to dive again otherwise.
2. If after diving you start to experience any signs, symptoms or sensations, just let someone know. Hopefully it will be nothing to worry about but a discussion can be started.
Editor's note: There are many providers of diving insurance. But you won't go far wrong taking a closer look at DAN Europe.
A controlled dry dive in the hyperbaric chamber can be fun: Six blokes doing 26 min deco on 100% following a nitrogen fest @50m in the chamber. Smashing.