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Solo Diving Together November 3, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log, Training.
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No, this isn’t a harangue about “same day, same ocean” dive buddies. I’ll save that for another time. On Saturday (October 30th) we headed up to Big Bay Point to finish our solo diving course. The purpose of the in-water exercises is to promote self sufficiency. For this reason, we spent some enjoyable moments having our air shut off, are masks removed, and ourselves entangled in line.

We all had our own issues. I’d not thought everything through properly. I took the backup reg set from my technical setup for the AL80 on my back, and one of my deco regs for the pony. I’d not realized that this would only give me one LP inflator, which meant that with my dry suit I’d have nothing to use for my BC. It had been 26 years since I’d dived using oral inflate only but rather than switching over to my recreational reg with its “extra” second stage, I decided it would be good practice to try it on this dive. Despite what you might read about *OMS) bungeed wings being impossible to inflate orally, I had no problem with it, although I did have to blow a little harder than with a regular wing.

After dropping my pony bottle (more like a quarter-horse bottle as I used my Faber steel 45) on the bottom, I did my giant-stride off the end of the dock and releasing the minimum amount of air to submerge, fetched it and hooked it on to my BC while swimming out to the descent line.

The first exercise was replacing my mask with my spare. I was glad to do this as while I always carry one, I’ve never actually practiced replacing it. I didn’t find it difficult, although it took a while to get the pocket open, retrieve the mask, orient it properly and put in on. The first time through this exercise we were on the bottom. Following that we did the out of air drills. This didn’t go so well. Inadvertently I’d looped the regulator hose around the bottom clip, so it would not pull out. So I had to lean forward to keep the reg in my mouth while I unclipped the tank to free the hose. Manageable, I suppose, but not something you’d want to have occur in a real out-of-air situation.

After that, we did the same drills while swimming, with our friendly divemasters shutting our air down or removing our masks at various times. The hardest thing was maintaining depth without a mask. I could feel the air expanding in my dry suit and quickly moved to dump some air. I felt like I was still ascending but emptied my lungs and found that I was at about the same depth once my mask was back on as when I started. Looking at my computer log it there only seems to be small incursions so my perceptions were no-doubt amplified by my imagination.

Solo Dive

We also had lines tied around us and masses of silt blinding our vision. Perfect for a day’s outing. Both the water and the air were about 11 degrees C (52-53 F). There was little evidence of a thermocline down to 63 feet, although I’m sure we would have hit one if we went a little deeper.

That’s fall diving in Ontario, and why we like our dry suits.

BBP 20091029

Anyway, congratulations to Marty, Steve, Rich and Carlos on becoming SDI solo divers.

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