Hard To Be Human Stories is a new series for Hard to be Human: a means to express to the world the kind of work we do and the kinds of stories we get to hear. People are going through struggles and challenges everyday and we want to tell the world that it’s “hard to be human” and that we understand -- You’re doing a great job! The Hard To Be Human mission is to help people create their dream persona and to communicate authentically from a newly discovered inner place of power.
I was already 25 years old and I lived in Egypt at the time. I just finished all the preparations for being a scuba diving instructor, but I didn’t have any students yet. It was February, a slow season in Egypt, but for me it’s the nicest season you can imagine. It’s very calm and there’s nobody around. The day was perfect: not windy, very relaxing and peaceful. A friend of mine came from Lithuania and it was decided that she was going to be my first sort of student… We went to dive in the Blue Hole, a famous diving spot in Egypt. But it’s also famous because a lot of people die diving there. I’m sure that many more people die in other dive sites, but for some reason, there are places that are wrapped in some sort of legendary mythology and the Blue Hole is one of them. It’s a deep well and you can take a step from the shore, and immediately go down 100 meters in depth. But we weren’t going to do that. We were just going to make a nice shallow dive around the reef wall. Before we went diving, we sat down at a cafe, drank some juice, and the guy who owned the cafe came to us and asked, “Well I know that you’re a professional diver. Could you please tell me how long someone can stay underwater?” I wasn’t really sure how to answer. I said it depends on depth… because it does depend on depth. It depends on many things.
Anyway, we went diving, came back to the cafe where we left our clothes and belongings, and the same guy came again and said “The reason for asking earlier is that a diver came here early in the morning before you, left his belongings and went to dive. He paid for his tea and everything, but he hasn’t come back yet”. At that moment, I said it would probably make sense to check his bag because it’s been too long. So we did that. He opened his bag and there was a piece of paper inside saying that inside this bag you will find a key to now a dead person’s room in the Hilton… Please tell my dad I love him…
And diving with air, there’s something called nitrogen narcosis. With compressed air, you can dive to let’s say 30 meters of depth and you’ll feel fine. However, if you go deeper, you’ll feel like you’re drunk. If you continue to go deeper, you will feel like you’re falling asleep. Nitrogen has a narcotic effect. Some people think it’s a good way to commit suicide. You just dive; it’s one tank, you fall asleep, and for some people it has maybe this romantic feeling to it. I don’t know.
It was a shocking moment because it was so contradictory to everything around. It was nice and calm. Scuba diving, before that, was linked to only positive impressions. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could do that: to choose to voluntarily give his life away. I just couldn’t imagine it. Of course after that, we didn’t want to dive anymore. We didn’t continue to our second dive.
From that moment, I think I started to understand just how fragile human life is and how important it is to stay strong. I absolutely think that people should fight for their lives and not give up.
Anna Kozlova, Conservationist, Underwater Filmmaker, and Deep Water Diver