DCS in Cozumel

Our checkout dive was easy, with a maximum depth of 75 feet for 50 minutes. The current was slight, and the visibility was spectacular — an ideal first dive. It closed with a nice, slow ascent and a three-minute safety stop. When we returned to the boat, I felt a sudden tingling in my right foot followed by a dull ache in my knee. I assumed the worst, thinking I had decompression sickness (DCS). When I reviewed the dive in my mind, however, that seemed impossible.

Staff monitors and communicate with patients at the Costamed chamber.

A Hole in My Heart

I HAVE BEEN A CERTIFIED DIVER since 1986 and have logged hundreds of recreational and technical dives. Since 2014 I have primarily been doing technical rebreather diving with a close group of experienced rebreather divers from Northern California. During the summer of 2019, our group visited Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Michigan […]

Divers Jim Eckhoff and Keith Flood exit the water after diving

Mistakes and Bad Decisions 

I WAS ON A TRIP TO TULAMBEN to dive the Liberty wreck for three days. The first day was recreational dives followed by two days of technical diving. I had a cold and sinusitis leading up to the trip, but the conditions had cleared up …

Not in Denial

HAVING DONE THOUSANDS OF DIVES since I started in 1964, primarily off the coast of North Carolina, the shipwrecks and dive profiles there are familiar. Overall conditions couldn’t have been much better on this particular day — calm, clear seas with barely a current. We planned on two reverse profile decompression dives at an offshore […]

diver with a school of fish

The Trip of a Lifetime

IN 2018 AND 2019, MY HUSBAND AND I traveled to 50 locations in 35 countries over 14 continuous months, spending more than 250 hours underwater to research a dive travel guidebook for National Geographic.


Paralyzed in Grenada

I was 50 years old and had applied to law school. I was anxiously waiting to hear if I had been accepted, so to distract myself I decided to take […]

diver at the surface in distress

Broken Leg in Bonaire

While walking from the truck to a dive site entrance on Bonaire, my wife, Deborah, caught her foot under a root and hyperextended her leg when freeing herself. Falling to the ground, she exclaimed that she had broken her knee.

broken leg required two plates and nine screws

An Unconscious Ascent

WHILE DESCENDING ON OUR SECOND DIVE, I was at around 60 feet when I unexpectedly started ascending rapidly to the surface.

woman scuba diving

I Didn’t See That Coming

MY HUSBAND, BARRY, AND I got our dive certifications in Cozumel, Mexico, in 1994, and since then it has been one of our favorite destinations. We spent three weeks diving there in the summer of 2001, following our routine of running, exercising, and diving twice a day. 

Dr. Dario Gomez and some of his staff at the Costamed hyperbaric chamber

Healing Without Worry

AFTER I SPENT ALMOST 20 HOURS in a hyperbaric chamber over five days, life there had grown tedious. The last 15 minutes, however, were not only exciting but highly instructive. I learned that if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t touch anything or do anything without first asking permission.

treatment in the hyperbaric chamber