Let us make a little return to the construction of the Rupel Tunnel.
As I had already written in a previous article, this construction was for us commercial divers one of the most important works in Belgium and we were several diving teams to work there in various locations at the same time.
One day, I don’t exactly remember why the diving supt. asked me to stop my current dive to rapidly go to another part of the site to make an inspection.
When we arrived I could see that another diver was in the water on the same spot and thus while my assistant was setting up the dive plant, I went to see my colleague George to explain him that I had to make a small bottom inspection in the vicinity.
In those days I was quite a practical joker and while discussing with him a little joke reach my brain and thus I asked Georges to not inform his diver of my presence.
A few minutes later everything is ready and I can jump in the water.
Rapidly I join the down line and start my descend to the bottom.
During the descent, the light disappears very quickly and once on the bottom at some 24 meters, it is so fully black that even the beam of a flashlight would not be seen.
Immediately, I call my tender to know how far I find myself from the other diver.
My tender tells me: «If you look towards the sheet piles go to your right, Jean-Marie is more or less 7 meters from you».
I inhale a deep breath, then very slowly while holding my breath I'm moving to his direction.
Here he is I hear its breathing.
Immediately, I base my breathing on his own so that he can’t detect me.
I still keep to approach very slowly, then when I'm almost at his side, I lay myself down on my back right in the axis of its displacement.
The sound of his breath grows; I hear that he is coming on me.
Again I hold my breath because I do not want him to detect the air bubbles coming out of my regulator.
There he is, he buts on me, stop moving and begins to feel me up.
He seems feverish.
While he feels me up, I hear him call: ’’ Surface! Surface! pick up diver slack, I have found something, I come up”.
Strange I thought, he does not mention that he found a diver.
I now feel that he grabs me by the harness and pull me up.
I need to breathe, thus again start to take mini inspirations always set up on his own breathing rate.
The ascent begins; Jean-Marie holds me firmly but is still making no comments to his tender.
Take care, the water clears up, we are approaching the surface.
A few moments later we burst the surface.
Our two diving hoods are facing.
Through my half-closed eyes, I see that Jean-Marie look at me with surprise probably wondering what I was doing next to him.
For me, it’s too much I cannot bare more.
I suddenly throw my arms to the sky and push a huge cry as a Devil coming out of his Pandora's Box.
It's too much; my poor colleague is so shocked that I believe he going to make a heart attack.
I can’t stop myself from laughing even under Jean-Marie blows that are now raining down on my hood.
It’s not possible, I'm a fucking bastard.
Of course, for a long time we spoke of this macabre joke.
Then with the years the story fell into oblivion until this day of October 87 where I was supervising a dive in the Persian Gulf.
One of our divers nicknamed Rika Zaraï had completed it’s in water decompression and I had given him the signal to come up.
Oddly, I received no acknowledge response, silence on the comm’s.
I went to the diving ladder to check what was happening and there saw my diver floating motionless at the surface.
Immediately, I called the rest of the team who were already equipping the next diver to come lend me assistance.
They threw themselves on the umbilical while I got myself in the water to put the unfortunate diver on my shoulder in order to facilitate its recovery.
But I had barely started to climb the ladder that all of a sudden he did to me the same joke that I had done to my poor Belgian colleague.
Full with rage I throw him back in the water and sent my foot in the helmet.
There, I understood all of a sudden the anguish that my poor Jean-Marie must have felled.
Like Confucius says, Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.
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