What It’s Like Scuba Diving in a Tsunami

The 2004 Boxing Day tsunami is one of the world’s most severe disasters of all time.

It killed nearly a quarter of a million people dead. In Sri Lanka alone, it claimed over 40,000 lives.

It’s a tragedy that turned countries in topsy turvy. As for seasoned diver and guide Frank van der Linde, it’s one of the darkest hours of his life.

They were on a tour with three deaf people and one on a wheelchair. Just a few minutes into the water, he and his fellow divers noticed something odd underwater. Adrian Kayes, one of Frank’s companions and a seasoned diver saw the fishes behaving peculiarly.

“They were racing around the dive site,” he said. He also noticed the anemone, which typically flows with the wave, suddenly laid flat. Adrian knew something wasn’t quite right.

“There’s a big cloud of dust coming towards us,” Frank recalls. Everything happened so quickly. Rocks began floating around, fishes were bumping against them and it was only a matter of time until the divers were next.

“The visibility dropped from 30 meters to 30 centimeters,” Frank says. The next thing they knew, they were taken into an underwater whirlwind, seemingly like inside a washing machine.

Every diver tried to hold on to something, only to watch the rocks be lifted off and taken away. After a few good minutes of being spun around, Frank and another diver got to find the line and hold on to it for the next three minutes.

When they saw the waters calmed, they surfaced and were anxious to see what happened to the rest of the group. One by one, each surfaced and everyone lived to fight another day.

To this day, Frank and his team continues to tour with the disabled, even lending a helping hand to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.