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  • : Histoires d'un scaphandrier or the Stories of a Commercial Diver
  • : Plongeur-Scaphandrier durant de très très nombreuses années, j'en ai vécu des choses sous eau et ailleurs. POUR VOIR TOUT LES ARTICLES PUBLIES ALLEZ AU BAS DE LA PAGE ET CLIQUER SUR TOP ARTICLES. TO SEE ALL THE STORIES GO AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE AND CLIC ON TOP ARTICLES
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1 octobre 2017 7 01 /10 /octobre /2017 08:06

1989 had started very well for me because at the beginning of the year, I had been promoted to the grade of diving supervisor and thanks to this title I could finally show some authority to my dear and beloved wife.

Then in May, fate scampered across the road the day I left for Lagos in Nigeria.

Indeed, that day after having slept a few hours during the flight, I woke up with a big swelling in the neck.

Immediately I put this swelling on the account of the uncomfortable position I had taken during my nap.

The next day, the edema was still present, but I wasn’t worried too much because I thought it would probably leave as it had come.

Unfortunately, it did not go away. On the contrary, the following days I began to have edemas all over the body.

 These swellings appeared mainly in places put under pressure, such as shoulders if I wore a diving bottle, my hands if I worked with a tool or the soles of my feet when I was standing too long.

In short after 3 weeks of agony, the local doctor decided to send me back home with the following diagnosis: ALLERGY AT WORK.

No less, me who liked to work darn hard I was now unable to work for several weeks.

The battery of medical examinations that followed at the tropical institute of Antwerp could not determine the cause of the disease and my doctor put me under Zirtec stating that I probably had a psychosomatic illness.

After about three months, the medical treatment began to produce its effects and the swellings only appeared sporadically.

Fortunately, I had used these forced holidays to finish the writing of a blasting manual which outside diving, was also one of my specialty.


Finally, in December the Comex doctor told me that I was again fit to work and so a few days later, I left for Angola with 18 colleagues where we had to proceed urgently to the repair of a leaking 18 “ pipeline at 67 meters depth.



On the site, the work was going on very well.

We had seen that the leak came from the flange and so the job consisted to disconnect the pipes and replace the gasket. 

On board, thanks to the nice team, the atmosphere was quite good and the dives went without problem. Because of the deep, these were made with the wet bell which included oxygen stops since 12 m.

Unfortunately for me, on Friday, December 29th I was called to the radio room where without too much care the office announced me the death of my dad.

The problem was that we were in the Angola waters, and far from anything. Even choppers were not flying on this field, which made it difficult to get the job down to bring me onshore.

Furthermore, the funeral was scheduled for the next day which meant that in no case I had the chance to arrive in time and therefore courageously decided to stay on board until the end of the work.

For New Year's Eve, the Aréthuse our boat had received permission to dock at the base of Soyo and the client had even put a small bus at our disposal to take us to the mess of the base where a cold buffet was prepared for the staff.

After the meal and due to the circumstances I did not have too much mood to have fun with the other guys on my team and so decided to walk back to the boat that was about 3 miles from the mess. This did not bother me because I was a good walker and to get to my destination, I had only to follow the laterite track which was dimly lit by the glow of the moon.

I was walking since about 20 minutes when I felt a disturbing presence behind me.

I turned myself and immediately saw a band of 5 stray dogs arrive on me.

 What to do? To start running was showing them that I was scared.

So I stopped marching, grabbed a stick trailing on the side of the road and faced them.

The dogs were now all facing me, grunting and showing their sharp teeth.

I felt really bad, because I was alone on this semblance of road on which I would still have to walk for more than one kilometer before being able to find any crew members who could help me.

Then all of a sudden, coming out of nowhere, a sixth dog came running.

It's not true, I thought, one more.

But, rather than barking at me like the other dogs, he began to be aggressive towards his peers and quickly placed himself between them and me.

He was no stronger than the other dogs, but the way he was swelling of his spine made the other mutts go a little further.

I do not know why, but my new friend was there to help and protect me.

Slowly I started marching again. The pack was still very aggressive, but it was held at bay by my watchdog.

I certainly walked like this for another 500 meters, and then all of a sudden the 5 dogs disappeared without any apparent reason.

My protector still escorted me obediently to the boat and there, even without waiting for a caress, disappeared like he had come.

Without him, I am not sure if I could have written this story and I will be eternally grateful to this dog for having saved my life.


Conclusion: Maybe after all do we have a guardian angel.

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