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Tec Deep Graduation Dive August 29, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log, Shipwrecks, Technical Diving, Training.
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This time, it wasn’t my graduation, but Rich’s, on our only dive on Sunday August 31st, 2008. I’d done the same dive a year before as the culmination of the course, and now it was his turn. Brad was instructing like the year before, and Pete and Dave and I were along for the ride, although we were all acting as divemasters at the same time.

Again the dive was from the Lillie Parsons to the James B. King along the bottom of the St. Lawrence. Brad and Dave shepherded Rich, while Pete and I stuck together for the most part. The lovely thing about the dive is the speed of the current, which is quite fast in the wide channel between the chain of 4 islands running from wreck to wreck and the Canadian north shore of the St. Lawrence. I noted in my log book that the current slowed between islands.

This time we made it to the wreck instead of having to do our decompression stops clinging to rocks. Despite this, some of the jumps from place to place on the wreck were a little exciting. At one point a short line attached to the wreck wrapped itself around my leg. As all good divers do, I think, I slowed myself right down and carefully rid myself of the hazard before proceeding.

Deco was being managed by my Apeks Quantums. This was the only dive trip where both of them were working and I preferred them to using tables, at least for this kind of diving. While the computers didn’t call for deep stops, we more or less them anyway as the climb up the King was relatively slow. Since the wreck sank after exploded it’s mostly a twisted mass of wreckage, so it takes a bit of time to move along it.

The maximum depth was a little deeper (for me, not Rich who was still a student and limited to 165′) at 178′ on this dive. I attribute that to a faster drop off the Lillie as the deepest part is at the beginning. When we’d ascended to 100′ I saw Rich deploying a lift bag. I thought to myself “What the *&@*&% is he doing?”. He was clearly having trouble with it, which is not surprising given the current we were in. Next thing I knew Brad took it from him, and let it go. That seemed pretty drastic but it did solve the immediate problem.

Later I found out that Brad had wanted Rich to deploy the bag as an exercise. I’d done the same the previous year while still drifting down the river. That was much more sensible as I didn’t have to fight the current. I also found out that it was Brad’s favourite reel, and he had taken it after he saw Rich having trouble, but had to let it go in the strong current.

Anyway, we continued onward and upward, and Pete and I were pretty well matched in our deco stops which officially started at 40′. At 30′ I switched over to my deco reg which was attached to an AL80 full of 79% O2. At 10′ Pete noticed that the cap had fallen off my OMS regulator, and he could see the diaphragm move in and out as I breathed. He pointed it out to me and I noticed the cap had come to rest on my gear, so I picked it up, switched over to my back gas (time for an air break anyway), replaced the cap (tightly this time) and resumed my deco. These days securing the caps is part of my pre-dive checks.

During the 20 minutes or so on deco at 10′, Pete was looking around a bit and found an old octagonal bottle. Apparently in the olden days bottles were shaped so that the blind could identify the nature of the contents to avoid accidental poisoning. This one had a slight blue tinge and is apparently quite valuable, but had slipped well down between some rocks for decades before we came along – or at least we think so.

All in all a great dive, except for the mishap with the lift bag. But at least that gave us the opportunity for and exciting dive and another story.



1. Reel Recovery « Chronicle of an older diver - August 31, 2009

[…] River trackback As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Brad lost his reel on August 31st, 2008 on a drift dive between the Lillie Parsons and the James B. King. What I haven’t mentioned yet was our attempts that day to recover it. We found the bag […]


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