Picture the scene: conditions are perfect, with flat seas and a clear blue sky. The atmosphere on the small boat is thick with testosterone and there is much whooping and hollering and backslapping as the six divers prepare their gear. The gauntlet has been thrown down. The challenge: to descend quickly down a reef wall to 90m on a single cylinder of air, collect a handful of sand and then come back to the surface.
The six divers enter the water together and all descend to 40m where the four “veterans” stop and watch the other two continue on down. At first, all they can see are two streams of bubbles, and then the two streams become one. Then the bubbles stop. They wait. Time passes.