November 19, 2013

"Nicholas Mevoli on Sunday upon surfacing from a record attempt. He died a short time later."

Photo caption.
“Water is acceptance of the unknown, of demons, of emotions, of letting go and allowing yourself to flow freely with it,” Mr. Mevoli wrote in a blog post in June. “Come to the water willing to be consumed by it but also have confidence that your ability will bring you back.”
Confidence... but there is a rapture of the deep, nitrogen narcosis, which "may have prompted Mr. Mevoli to disregard symptoms of danger and suddenly renew his quest to dive deeper."
He paused and seemed to turn back toward the surface at 68 meters, or 223 feet, but then turned around and proceeded to dive deeper. 

26 comments:

Will Cate said...

Deep-diving was his drug, and he just had to have more of it.

Carol said...

Maybe I'm old but this quest for Adventure seems like such a waste. As one commenter to the story said, we all have someone who cares about us, and here the guy has removed himself from their lives over some vain pursuit. What price glory eh.

Moose said...

This is like the idiots who "fly" thru mountain passes and occasionally hit them.
Not really a tragedy - just consequences.

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Sounds like evolution in action'

LarsPorsena said...

Fly higher, run faster, dive deeper,.....there's something in our DNA that is both magic and tragic.

mrs. e said...

What Will said.

I get it.

Rob said...

According to the Times's first sentence, it appears that he engaged in his deep dives bottomless. Unless I'm misreading them, of course.

FleetUSA said...

There's a fascinating Luc Besson 1988 French movie called "Le grand bleu" - The Big Blue with Jean Reno "diving" off Italy.

tim maguire said...

The article I read on this earlier never got to what killed him (maybe they don't know yet). He looked crazed when he surfaced, but alive and conscious. He passed out shortly after and died.

I don't see the attraction of this "sport." It seems a lot like auto-erotic asphyxiation, with water.

traditionalguy said...

The bends would kill him in agony if he stayed down too long and shot back to the surface. But 3 minutes should have been safe from nitrogen in the blood.

John Constantius said...

I love scuba diving, because it allows you to explore and experience an amazing underwater world that you otherwise couldn't. On a shallow shore dive off Grand Cayman you can stay under for an hour on just one tank and continually see new beauty.

This free diving stuff -- going deep for the sake of going deep and staying down for only a few minutes...it just makes no sense.

To me, at any rate. To each their own. I guess if you're going to check out early, it should be doing something you love.

Paul said...

Sounds like nitrogen narcosis.

He went to la-la land and kept going.

I've heard of several such incidences where deep diving (I'm a PADI Divemaster in rating) and the victims just happily go deeper and deeper and most are never seen again.

Well, come to think about it, that is one way to go right? Happy as a clam.

EDH said...

Free divers consider Dean’s Blue Hole the best place in the world to free dive — a seemingly bottomless pit (actually, more than 200 meters deep) of limestone. Last weekend, it was the scene of Vertical Blue, the sport’s crowning event, with 35 athletes representing 16 countries..

Deep Blue Boy

Mountain Maven said...

This foolishness gets glorified: "He died doing what he loved" tripe. At least in "Into Thin Air" the tragic selfishness of it was driven home when the climber called his wife and child on the sat phone to say goodbye.

David said...

I studied the look on the poor man's face when I read this article this morning.

He looks very surprised.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Fool.

I've spent enough time on SCUBA at 50 M, moderately narc'd, to suspect that no-one really remembers the details of what actually happens at much higher depths. (I'm talking dives on normal air. Other mixes, other experiences.) Sure, you'll surface (most of the time) with happy memories, but it's a near-hallucinatory experience. Why not just take drugs on dry land? Cheaper overall, with no extra charges for body recovery.

maggotdesk said...

The bends and nitrogen narcosis are related to breathing air under pressure. Not free diving.

chrisnavin.com said...

Knock yourself out.

jeff said...

Water pressure either collapsed the lungs or ruptured enough blood vessels to pool blood in the lungs and he suffocated, most likely.

Stephen Reynolds said...

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Obviously we all take risks of some degree, hopefully he didn't leave people to suffer for his needless and selfish thrill seeking.

A. Shmendrik said...

Assumption of risk.


Next!

Alex said...

Look at the way our society glorifies thrill-seekers.

Smilin' Jack said...

The bends and nitrogen narcosis are related to breathing air under pressure. Not free diving.

Yes, he died of suffocation. On the other hand, most of us will die of the suffocation eventually, after months in an Obamacare hospice. He was lucky.

Curious George said...

His nickname is now Bob.

Fred Drinkwater said...

maggotdesk: I was not sure about that (getting narc'd while freediving) since I've only done scuba. However, several freediver websites Q&A fora indicate that narcosis does happen during freedives, albeit at generally greater depths - I know I'm a bit narc'd at 100 fsw on normal-air scuba, but the freediver sites suggest it's a problem starting around 70M (220 fsw). The usual other factors come into play as well: physical workload, water temp, darkness, viz, and mental stress.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Wikipedia also mentioned that CO2 can potentiate N2 narcosis, especially if descending rapidly. Freedivers certainly descend very rapidly, and I'd guess that their CO2 levels are greater than with scuba since they are not refreshing their lung/blood gases. (Even if one hyperventilates, CO2 will accumulate during the dive. Also, hyperventilation carries its own risks, e.g. shallow-water blackout.)