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Old 01/30/2005, 05:50 PM   #51
punkpup
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"I learned about diving from this"

All these posts are very thought provoking!

I was certified in Massachusetts in 1986 by a former Marine D.I. who is a NAUI certified Instructer. He was incredibly thorough in his instruction. For certification as a "SCUBA Diver" I attended classes for six weeks and had to pass weekly written tests as well as pool tests and was not elegible to do open water dives until I passed all written and pool tests. I then went on to take the course for "Advanced SCUBA Diver" that year as well.

As to the subject of overweighting........ it is extremely dangerous!!!

In 1987 I was in the Caymans on a live aboard dive boat for my second Caribbean Dive trip.The first dive of the day is generally anywhere between 90' to 120'. The minimum rating for any of the divers was Advanced SCUBA/Open Water depending on NAUI or PADI certification so all of us are competent divers and can plan multiple dives with the appropriate decompression stops without the aid of Dive Computers. The water was very rough and my regular Buddy was not feeling well enough to dive so I Buddied with one of the Dive Masters. We planned the dive, checked our gear and loaded our weight belts with lead. Being excited to make the first dive of the trip I made a critical and potentially deadly error; having been so accustomed to diving in a 1/4" Neoprene Wet Suit I overweighted my belt . Needless to say my descent was nice and easy and at 90 ft I began stablizing but on checking my air guage was a bit alarmed to notice that I had consumed an excessive amount of air. At this point I notified my Buddy that I would have to begin my ascent soon but that I was comfortable ascending on my own. BIG mistake! After a few more minutes at about 100' I began my ascent. I cannot begin to tell you how alarming it was to see my air gauge drop so fast and for the air to get harder and harder to inhale and not be anywhere near the surface. In addition I could not locate the ship! At 30' I only had a little bit of reserve air left and decided to go to the surface in an effort to locate the ship. The surface was so rough I had difficulty locating the ship and here's another dangerous mistake; no snorkel! Once I located the ship and took a compass heading I descended to 10' and swam like there was no tomorrow, which at that point was a clear possibility. With dread I watched as my reserve disappear and knew I had to surface. The one thing that was saving me at this point was that I had just barely enough air in my BC to float on the surface but I was nearly exhausted and the ship still looked really far away. With no other choice I started swimming. Although I am a competent, graceful and efficient SCUBA diver I am a weak surface swimmer and struggled without really making any headway. All this time it never occured to me to drop my weight belt! Thankfully one of the other Dive Masters on the boat saw me, threw me a rescue doughnut and dragged my half dead, choking and spluttering carcass out of the water.
So even though I may not have been in a full blown panic it is quite obvious that in a stressful situation I made some verrrry bad decisions and almost killed myself.

Plan the dive then dive the plan. Double check your gear, have your Buddy check it too and vice versa. My first and biggest mistake was not doing this with my new Buddy. My regular Buddy and I have a pre dive checklist from which we never deviate. Most importantly, stick with your Buddy at all times!

Safe and happy diving!


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Old 01/30/2005, 07:31 PM   #52
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I got those Tahiti dives in.
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Old 03/15/2005, 01:25 PM   #53
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I was diving in the Brockville narrows (Canada St. Lawrence river)... a drift dive in maybe 2 knots current with 2 other buddies and a 3rd buddy who joined the group on the boat. diver #4 did not speak english so we had little chance to have pre-dive discussions... All we knew was that he was that the captain said he was an advanced diver, and he had all the best equipment. with about 2000 lbs of air left I started to feel that #4 was lagging behind... I would grab the wall and slow down to wait for him.. he would also slow down... this repeated a couple of times... now, we are at 110 ft flying in the current next to a wall with another 200 ft of water below us... #4 is still acting suspicious, finally I grab a crevice in the wall and of course he slows down again too... I signal to him to come to me... (I cant get to him in this current).. he comes... I grab his gauge... he has 100 lbs of air left... yes we are at 110 ft and he has 100 lbs left... Im thinking *** man!!! I grab his cuffs (his sealed glove drysuit cuffs) like handcuffs so he wont grab me... I can feel he's shaking... I stuff my octopus in his mouth and begin an ascent.... I got him back up safely but... again... *** man!!! I had 800 lbs left when we got to the surface even after a safety stop. The moral of the story is DONT dive with someone you dont know, you never know what kind of crap they will pull.... that is unless you dont mind blowing good money on a dive charter to have it trashed by a bozo!!


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Old 03/22/2005, 04:27 AM   #54
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Did you ever figure out why he was acting so wierd, slowing down when you would wait for him?


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Old 03/22/2005, 07:23 AM   #55
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After the dive he attributed the low air to an equipment failure (his secondary was leaking) but it doesnt really explain his behavior... it seems to me he would have tried to let us know he was having problems... Maybe he wanted to descend to the abyss and embark upon the big sleep... Otherwise it may have been narcosis.. we were at 110ft... just flying. We never did get an explaination for the behavior... but remember, we couldnt really communicate before the dive due the language barrier (he spoke French) and after we got him back on the boat safely I wasnt talking too much to him!! After he was safe I really felt like slapping him in the head.. of course I didnt do that. He didnt even have the decency to thank us for likely saving his life or at least grave injury.

So, If you see a lone diver, with all the BEST equipment (looking new too) that doesnt speak your language... tell the captain he's on his own! Im not sure I would really leave a diver out in the cold like that with no buddy but I know that I will be much more thorough in my pre-dive stranger buddy size-up. But, Im a PADI Divemaster and I guess this is what all the training was for. Now I have a battle story to tell... I just hope I dont get another! Just goes to show, its important to keep a sharp eye and trust your instincts... if something doesnt seem quite right at 110 ft... it probably isnt!


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Old 03/22/2005, 07:26 AM   #56
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Quote:
I got those Tahiti dives in.
Hey Paul, you got some pictures to share?


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Old 03/22/2005, 04:14 PM   #57
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Tahiti






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Old 03/23/2005, 10:11 AM   #58
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WOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!
Awesome pics Paul! You were right in that turtles grill man. Cool.
Thanks for sharing!


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Old 03/23/2005, 06:41 PM   #59
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Great pics!!!!


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Old 04/05/2005, 10:33 AM   #60
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I sometimes wonder if I was meant to dive, especially after the last 2 dives I had. I have been trying to finish my advanced certification and have had problems on the last 2 attempts to get my card. The first dive was about 3 weeks ago and was a boat dive off of the Monterey coast at a location called the Metridian field. There was >4' vis and the surface had 4-5' chop. My instructor could not equalize his ears and kept submerging and surfacing trying to work it out and my husband was underweighted and couldn't get under the surface without bobbing back up so he had to scrub the dive. I could only do 1 of the 2 dives I needed because when I got back on the boat I got sea sick for the first time in 20 years. That sucked!
The second was this last weekend at Monterey's Breakwater. First, my husband had forgotten to toothpaste his goggles and they kept fogging up and he had to use kelp to scrub them out. It worked pretty well! We were trying out rented back inflate BC's to see if they would be preferable to the ones we already own which was a mistake. My husband had the shoulder purge valve stick open and the dive instructor had to use his scissors to get it to close. Then when he pulled his rear bottom purge it came off in his hand! It turned out the threads were stripped and it wouldn't stay screwed on. He swam back in at that point just when I discovered my BC wouldn't deflate all the way and I couldn't stay underwater. He was too far away to hear my underwater alarm by this point and I had to scrub my last advanced cert dive yet again!
If you have the option to try out new or rented equipment, be sure to check it out through and through before going out so you don't have to miss a dive due to faulty equipment or have an emergency that could have been avoided. Also, FYI, if you get sick while underwater it is possible to vomit through your regulator (yes, it's disgusting but you won't drown that way). Just be sure to clean it VERY WELL when you are done with the dive! Stomach acid is very corrossive


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Old 04/05/2005, 10:55 AM   #61
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Man, "that sucks" is right! If it were me, I be tearing someone a new [email protected]#$e. You rented 2 BC's both of which failed... putting both of you in a potentially VERY DANGEROUS situation. On top of that, the equipment failure likely caused you a financial loss as well as opportunity loss. What the heck... all you ever hear from the dive shops is "be sure to have your equipment serviced" and in the case of the shop you rented from... they are obviously not following the rules. What is the name of the shop you rented from? What, if any, certifying agency are they affilliated with? I would absolutely not stand for that!!! Have they already agreed to compensate you for your losses, did they charge you for the rental? It would be interesting to watch "the compensation" had one of you been injured or killed due to that equipment failure! You seem like you are taking this pretty well.

Would you be willing to share the name of the operation that provided you (for a fee) the rental of 2 BC's, both of which failed on the same dive? Of course, if they handled the situation in a professional manner to your satisfaction please dont name them here. Regardless of how they handled the situation I would think twice before renting from them again. And of course, you made it through another "situation". Remember, what doesnt kill you, makes you stronger. Do you think you were "set up" with defective BC's as part of your training? While I understand the methodology, if that was the case, in my opinion, that would be highly unethical and dangerous.

Its crap like that that gives good dive ops a bad name.

Sincerely,
Chris
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Last edited by sammiefish; 04/05/2005 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 04/05/2005, 11:13 AM   #62
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The shop is a local one and we are friends with the owners. They generally keep up their equipment very well and this was sort of a fluke occurrance. We aren't going to be charged because the shop has a policy that they guarantee the equipment will work as it should and they have been in business for more than 30 years with no accidents on their record. We won't have any problems with payment since they would never dream of making us pay for equipment that messed up and will take care of the problem ASAP. They are a reputable establishment.
There are shops out there that aren't and that was the point I was trying to get across when I said to check your rental gear prior to diving. And I agree with you that the bad ones should be reported and possibly shut down if they are going to be dangerous to rent from.


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Old 04/05/2005, 11:26 AM   #63
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Im glad to hear that you are satisfied with the outcome. I second your vote for labelling this as a fluke... 2 BC's, 2 failures.... that is why I wondered if you were "set-up" as part of your training. Well, look on the bright side. You now have complete BC failure experience and lived to tell the tale! Definately useful experience... dont forget to log it!! congrats


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Old 04/05/2005, 11:49 AM   #64
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punkup,

What happened to your snorkel? I see this often in divers above basic cert level. I wont leave the shore without mine!

As far as the overweighting and air consumption... do you link these two events?... If so, why?

Did you identify anything (other than proper weighting) that you might do differently in the future if a similar situation presents itself?

Im not criticizing... I just like to discuss this sort of thing ... Im sure others can benefit.


OK.....
It sounds like you were using a j valve... is that true?
It also sounds like you would use a snorkel in the future.
You said that separating from your buddy was a "BIG MISTAKE".
Do you carry a "safety sausage" now?
Did your BC have a manual inflator hose?
Do you think "swimming like there was no tomorrow" got you further per unit air consumed than if you swam like there were plenty of tomorrows?

Again, no criticism here... just constructive discussion.


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Old 04/15/2005, 01:33 AM   #65
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Great thread guys. I'm glad I read it.


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Old 04/15/2005, 03:14 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally posted by sammiefish
punkup,

What happened to your snorkel? I see this often in divers above basic cert level. I wont leave the shore without mine!

.
I never wear a snorkle. Aside from the extra drag, I don't like the risk of entangling something which is attached to my mask (plus it doesn't work with the long hose). On the surface, I swim on my back - it's a more efficent way to swim and, in an emergency, you want to be looking around, not putting your face in the water.


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Old 07/07/2005, 07:06 AM   #67
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Ever notice when diving with your dive buddy that they either stay so close that they bump into you all the time...use their arms too much or kick you in the head with their fins. Then maybe do the opposite and swim ahead and never look back to see where you are. If I had a problem there would be no way to get their attention. I read where one guy got tangled in fishing line...at night and even had a blow horn and the other guys just swam away. He was one lucky diver because he just bought a knife the day before! While he was freeing himself the other divers went to shore and paid little attention to him and just watched his night light out in the lake.
I have an idea...tell me what you think of it. If two divers were to use a 10 ft. piece of rope with velcro attached to one wrist of each diver...then whenever their was a problem or you need to get the other guys attention...just tug on the rope. They would never get too far away and if you had to release the rope just undue the velcro! George


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Old 07/07/2005, 07:31 AM   #68
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MS,
While I can understand your perspective you fail to consider the unexpected. In rough water (which can come up very quickly even on a beautiful day) you cant easily swim on your back. If you had to dump/lose your BC how are you going to swim? The snorkel will help you not get mouths/lungs full of water.
Just thoughts for consideration...

condor,
yeah, I think thats a good idea. its especially good in no visibility or darkness... the thing is that you and your buddy should practice with such a thing in good conditions first. Similar procedures are used during rescue/recovery dive team ops.


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Old 07/07/2005, 09:23 AM   #69
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Quote:
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MS,
While I can understand your perspective you fail to consider the unexpected. In rough water (which can come up very quickly even on a beautiful day) you cant easily swim on your back. If you had to dump/lose your BC how are you going to swim? The snorkel will help you not get mouths/lungs full of water.
Just thoughts for consideration...
.
I've been in very rough water and I still feel swimming on your back is the way to go. In those conditions, I would keep my reg, not a snorkel in mouth. I can't think why I would even "dump" my bp/wing.


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Old 07/07/2005, 10:18 AM   #70
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MS,

I agree that with your SCUBA finning backwards on the surface is a good way to go...

I think you are missing my point... in an emergency where you have dumped your SCUBA you dont have a reg to breathe from....

If you cant think why you might dump (or lose) your SCUBA you might try to think again... your training has (hopefully) provided you with scenarios which include this distinct possibility. If you still cant think of a reason why you would dump your SCUBA then you might not make it to the issue of wishing you had a snorkel. Remember, emergencies are never planned (hence the title of this thread).

I am not trying to tell you, "you have to wear a snorkel"... (there are no SCUBA police).

Ultimately the only one that can save you in an emergency is you.

I am trying to say:

It is a very good idea to wear a snorkel.

Best regards,
SF

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Old 07/07/2005, 11:30 AM   #71
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The chance of losing one's BC is very, very remote. Wearing a snorkle is a poor choice and a heads up to expericed divers that you do not know what you are doing. Snorkles create drag and are a serious entanglment ris - PLUS - you can't wear a long hose with one - but I guess your training taught you that's a long hose is a bad idea, but planning to lose your rig is a something to be prepared for???

I wear a one piece harness, I'm not worried about losing or ditching my gear.






Quote:
Originally posted by sammiefish
MS,

I agree that with your SCUBA finning backwards on the surface is a good way to go...

I think you are missing my point... in an emergency where you have dumped your SCUBA you dont have a reg to breathe from....

If you cant think why you might dump (or lose) your SCUBA you might try to think again... your training has (hopefully) provided you with scenarios which include this distinct possibility. If you still cant think of a reason why you would dump your SCUBA then you might not make it to the issue of wishing you had a snorkel. Remember, emergencies are never planned (hence the title of this thread).

I am not trying to tell you, "you have to wear a snorkel"... (there are no SCUBA police).

Ultimately the only one that can save you in an emergency is you.

I am trying to say:

It is a very good idea to wear a snorkel.

Best regards,
SF

A really smart man will learn from the mistakes of others.



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Old 07/07/2005, 12:02 PM   #72
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having logged hundreds's of dives as a PADI Divemaster, recreationally, teaching, and as a special operations rescue recovery diver, I can say I have never heard of anyone thinking that using a snorkel is a sign that you dont know what you are doing!

It is very common that "advanced" divers do not use them for one reason or another.

I do not think that it is likely that any emergency will occur... just that it is possible.

Here is another thing to think about...

in accidents where SCUBA divers die... many times the diver still has air left in the tank.... hmmm... pretty freaky huh?

The risk of death to a diver is greatest during their dive #1-25 and over 100... the deaths from dives 1-25 are likely due to inexperience.
the deaths of divers with over 100 dives is likely due to over-confidence and complacency...

Maybe having pulled the dead from the water has kept me on the straight and narrow...


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Old 07/07/2005, 12:41 PM   #73
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I never use a snorkel but there is a very specific reason for this. In the Hogarthian equipment configuration that I and other technical divers use, you breath from a 7 ft long hose that is wrapped around your neck. For those who are unfamiliar with this, the hose starts from the right post of your doubles (or single tank with an H-valve), runs down your right side, goes under your canister light (or reel) at your waist, comes up across your chest to your left shoulder, over the back of your neck, then into your mouth from the right. To donate gas to another diver you simply take the regulator out of your mouth while nodding your head down and pass it to the other diver. The hose automatically unwraps in a very smooth manner that could not be accomplished while using a snorkel because it would snag it. Wrecks also can not be penetrated because the snorkel will act as a trap for all the dangling wires and the wreck line that you run along your route. In cave diving a snorkel is never used for obvious reasons. All technical courses that I am aware of require the snorkel to be removed. As a result, I have learned not to rely on a snorkel at all. I do all my surface swimming on my back (which by the way is very energy efficient).

I do own a folding snorkel that I could potentially stick in the pocket of my dry-suit, but feel that it would not help me in the case of an emergency because I do my surface resting while floating on my back. I have done this in quite choppy seas and have never had a problem with it. When you float on your back, your tank acts as a keel weight and allows more of body to be exposed on the surface. Since my dry-suit is bright red in the chest area, this would help me get spotted more easily in a search and rescue scenario. I can also keep looking upward and shoot off a flare if I see a plane or chopper (yes I do carry flares for trips far out from the coast).


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Old 07/07/2005, 01:22 PM   #74
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Quote:
Originally posted by condor13090
Ever notice when diving with your dive buddy that they either stay so close that they bump into you all the time...use their arms too much or kick you in the head with their fins. Then maybe do the opposite and swim ahead and never look back to see where you are. If I had a problem there would be no way to get their attention.

...snip...

I have an idea...tell me what you think of it. If two divers were to use a 10 ft. piece of rope with velcro attached to one wrist of each diver...then whenever their was a problem or you need to get the other guys attention...just tug on the rope. They would never get too far away and if you had to release the rope just undue the velcro! George
Condor, I understand the rationale behind your idea but I feel that using a rope as you describe is a potentially dangerous approach (except for some very unusual situations). Consider a dive over a beautiful Acropora reef with a dangling rope ready to get snagged in the branches of the coral. Even an all-rock reef offers a similar snagging potential. One should always strive to streamline ones equipment by eliminating dangling consoles and other "doo dads" that can potentially snag the diver and damage the reef. I have actually seen someone get their console caught in branching coral, causing the diver to panic and break the coral (very sad).

The real solution to your problem is to get another dive buddy. A diver that uses hands for swimming and kicks you in the face is neither a good dive buddy nor a skilled diver. A good dive buddy swims along your side, not ahead or behind unless you are entering a constriction in a wreck or cave. A good dive buddy will also exchange OKs ever 30 seconds or so. My dive buddy and I use light as a primary form of communication (even during the day). There is a fairly standard vocabulary that is expressed by specific movements of the light. In any case tethering yourself to a bad dive buddy still leave you stuck with a bad dive buddy. I strongly suggest you either get your buddy to work with you as a team, or find someone else.


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Old 07/07/2005, 01:27 PM   #75
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now thats cool stuff...

Ive been planning tech for quite some time. Im planning the purchase of a set of doubles and an OMS or Halcyon plate/wings...

All our diving in the St. Lawrence starts at 100 ft pretty much.

A popular tech dive here is the Roy Jodery... 750ft costal freighter sunk in 1977 after it struck a shoal and was attempting to beach itself on Wellsley Island. it now lies in water starting at 150 ft and goes to 3 something.

Have you been up to the St. Lawrence River.... 100's of years of commercial shipping and 1000 Islands means 10,000 shoals.... ='s hundreds of shipwrecks, many are 1700's era wooden masted schooners... some still in great shape.


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