View Full Version : Holy $%#@, They Bite!!!

06-30-2008, 08:28 PM
This past Sunday, I helped my instructor, Scuba Steve, with a Rescue Diver Course. When I “help,” for the most part I play the victim for the Rescue students to respond to and “save.” I act anywhere from a tired diver to a passive panicked diver to a blown-out aggressively panicked diver. It can be a lot of fun and it can put the students through the paces if it’s done right. I’m still learning the nuances of being a victim, but I’m getting a little better each time. I can also be a buddy to any student that is taking to course along when buddy teams are needed. That allows me to help teach a bit and it also keeps my skills sharpened up. Steve brought 5 new Rescue Divers into the diving world. Congrats to them all.

While helping out, I also used my new “long hose” configuration for the first time. I moved to a 7 foot primary hose, an octo bungee and a small SPG a week or so ago and this was my first chance to dive with it. Short answer: I like it. I am much more streamlined and everything feels better. We’ll see how it goes with more diving, but my initial opinion is very favorable.

Ok, so I guess you’re wondering what the title of this entry is about. The Open Water portion of the Rescue class was held at a local quarry in Macon. The quarry isn’t open to the public. It’s on privately owned church grounds. But, the church has a relationship with our LDS and they are allowed to conduct classes out there as long as waivers are signed at the store. So, we were out at the quarry and Scuba Steve is in the water briefing the Rescue guys about what is coming up in the class. He’s standing there in his shorty with the back unzipped. All of a sudden, he jumps and yells, “Get off me, punk!!” He said he had been bitten by a fish. I laughed thinking he was messing with the students before they got in the water. As I was standing there near him, I had my hands in the water and felt a nip on finger. I looked down and there was a small Bream. And, he had just bitten me!! I looked at Steve and he said they go for exposed skin. Well, I had on a full wetsuit and boots, so no big deal. I’d just have to watch my hands. When it came time to do the “circular reel search” later in the afternoon, one of the students didn’t have a buddy, so I went down with him to be his pivot man. Just after we dropped and he started his search pattern around me, I noticed I was surrounded by about 40-50 Bream. I was pretty amazed at how many there were and how close they were to me. That is, until I remembered: I wasn’t wearing a hood!!! Those of you that have met me, know I shave my head. So, here I am, down at only 15 feet, sitting on a rock so I don’t move, one hand wrapped in a search rope to guide the searcher around, a shaved head, no hood and 40 cocky-ass Bream swimming around my head. This isn’t going to be good. Then it started: The first bite hit the top of my head and then my ear. Next thing I know, I started getting bit everywhere there was skin showing. My ears, my head, my neck and my throat were all getting nipped by these little bastards. Every time I would swat them away, they would just come right back, and with a vengeance. They were like little piranhas that didn’t actually eat you. After, what seemed like an eternity, Steve sounded sub-duck, signaling the exercise was over, and I shot to the surface as safely as I could. After that dive, I pulled out the dragon hood and used it the rest of the day. Although it was too warm for a hood, it saved many more bites to my head. That was an unreal experience for me. And, as do many of my experiences, it makes for some decent reading..

06-30-2008, 10:36 PM
LOL, what a great story. Thanks for sharing.

07-01-2008, 08:48 PM
Good story! We've had similar "issues" with the local fauna in the lakes here in Texas, Perch are the main culpret, I believe. Nothing like the mob attack you experienced, but a few of us have felt those tiny teeth taking little nips out of our ears. They may be small, but they can be pretty aggressive, as a couple of students discovered when the divemaster leading them on a tour had a stream of blood gently rising from one ear after just such an encounter. We all tend to use hoods these days, no matter what the water temperature, we just don't necessarily tell the new students why, don't want to put them off before they even get in the water. ;)

07-02-2008, 01:14 AM
A Bream photo from Enterprise Tackle in the UK:


rubber chicken
07-02-2008, 03:14 AM
I was shore diving recently at one of our local training sites looking for seahorses when I was approached by some Western King Wrasse. These can be quite inquisitive and often hang around divers hoping that our finning will stir up some tasty tit bit. Occasionally, they seem to get attracted to their reflections in your mask. This can often lead to some neat photo ops , so I wasn't that bothered when a couple came right up to my face. I was able to get quite a good view of the needle sharp teeth in their mouths and was floating there, thinking "This is quite cool!" ,when suddenly, their was a sharp sting on my cheek. I turned my head slightly to find a medium sized female backing away. Then there was another sting on my other cheek, the first fish had darted forward and taken a nip. I turned my head again and the second one darted forward and had another bite. By now, several more had joined and I started to think "This is becoming not cool", so I began to back off. The fish, of course, followed. Now about six or seven were darting in to take little nips or were worrying away at my fingertips where my gloves have worn through. I retreated further, and the fish followed. Their attacks becoming more and more brazen.
Eventually, I decided that discretion is the better part of valour and a class of OW students were greeted to the sight of a 6', 150lb twinset wearing diver finning away at top speed, hotly pursued by a group of darting foot long wrasse!:)
When I surfaced and looked at my face in my signalling mirror I had about a dozen small cuts oozing blood down either side of my face. Had I not been wearing a hood I would probably have come off even worse.
I have dived that particular site , with those particular fish, dozens of times, before and since, and have never had a problem. Why they took such a dislike, or liking (:confused:) to me on that one occasion I have no idea but it reinforced to me the idea that it is the 'little buggers' that you've got to be most wary of! :)

07-02-2008, 12:28 PM
LOL, RC!!! Now that would suck!! In my case, I was lucky that there were no marks on me at all. It was almost like an attack of "no see-ums" that you could see. I'll take my experience over yours any day.. :D
iDC: OMG!! If my Bream would have been that big, I wouldn't have a head left!!! Mine weren't much bigger than that one's mouth. (About 2-3 inches max)

07-02-2008, 03:30 PM
"The Day I Learned to Always Wear a Hood" was also because of perch ... around here they can be anywhere from a few inches to 12"+. One fine summers day my dive buddy suggested "Hey, it's so warm, we should dive without our hoods!" which seemed like such a great idea at the time. And then we passed below the thermocline, and I had the mother of all ice cream headaches. The cold was so bad it kind've put me into a stupor while my brain was trying to figure out how to process the extreme sensory input. That was when the perch struck. You know how when you hook a fish with a rod and reel, and he jigs about on the hook while you try to reel him in? That's what this little bugger was doing on my ear.
So most people wear hoods all the time here. All this means is that now when I get perch bites they are usually on my lips. Nice. I seem to get them a lot and so I have gotten a reputation as the "guy who gets bit by perch". I often feel them biting my suit, hoses and fins too.

07-02-2008, 07:27 PM
Who recalls "The Birds"? For no apparent reason the usually docile birds go crazy and start attacking people and causing all kinds of death and destruction, chaos and mayhem. Substitute Birds for Fish and I think we have something here!:eek:

07-02-2008, 07:34 PM
Seasnake, your "bites on the lips" comment reminded me of this story I saw on TV last night and so did a quick youtube search. On the idiot scale, this guy has to be pretty high up there. :confused:


The surgeon who patched him up did a pretty good job, can't even see the scar.

07-08-2008, 03:57 PM
Now, that diver deserved what he got! Pretty good job by the surgeon, too.

I was bitten by a shark back in college, but it was a different kind.. a pool shark! I was pretty good with the cue, had one too many, got a bit brazzen, taunted the wrong gal, and she took me for quite a few bucks that nite. I ended up dating her for a month or so, then we parted ways when my debt was paid.

Great video, hope he shows his kids one day!


07-08-2008, 05:21 PM

My fella got jumped by a lamprey eel once. He was trying to attach himself to the side of his scooter. He hit the trigger, and the fella was sucked into the props. He wasn't hurt, just stunned a little.

Lamprey eels are not native to the St. Lawrence, and darn-it-all, they have sharp little teeth!

07-22-2008, 03:24 AM
Kissing a nurse shark ... brilliant ... :rolleyes: