Thursday, December 30, 2010

Deaf Scuba Divers Sign in the Soundless Depths

An interesting and inspiring article, courtesy of the New York Times:

AFTER sunset one evening in August, Wendy Dannels prepared for the first night dive of her life off Moalboal, a resort town on the Philippine island of Cebu. She was on a 10-day diving trip on a boat called the Philippine Siren.

Ms. Dannels was visibly anxious before her dive, fumbling with her gauges and checking and rechecking them. Soon, she disappeared into the murky depths for just under an hour.

But after emerging, she was all smiles. She said she enjoyed the dive in the dark immensely, citing close encounters with crab and shrimp.

“My favorite part is the sparkling lights at night, the phosphorescence,” she said later through an interpreter. When you turn off your light at night and move your hand in the dark, she explained, the water shimmers with small, glowing bits of plankton. “The diving is a bit of an adventure,” she added.

Like about half of her shipmates, Ms. Dannels, 42, is deaf. She lost her hearing at 14 months when she contracted spinal meningitis. The diving trip was on her “bucket list” of things to do before she dies, she said. She found the tour on the Siren, a live-aboard ship, by searching the Internet for the terms “deaf” and “sailing.”

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