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Give me pure Solo Anyday


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#1 caveman

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 06:48 PM

Saturday the 10th of April, decided to do one dive on the HardDeep ( Sutatip ), in Samesaen, Thailand. Have been on this wreck probably 50 times or more, know it very well. Have a routine sorted out, go down first, most people who follow run out of air quickly ( 28 meters ), and surface, and I will follow them up and be the last out , typically with a 10 minute deco + safety stop. Had a full tank, and a pony bottle as back up ( fortunately ).

Was down for yonks, really enjoying my self, testing my new D70 Wide angle set up ( pictures turned out crappy by the way ). Well, I had plenty of deco on the clock, caclulated my consumtion, and decided it was time to come up. ( use 1 bar per minute max at 5 - 6 meters).

Well...... I started coming up the rope, and the current was very strong (most people who Dive with Ray Divers never experience this )..... but, that was ok. I usually pick a knot in the thick line, and just "flap" there.

There was one problem though, as I settled on the knot at 6 meters, a whole army of divers ( about 10+ ) came up the line too.... divers from a different boat mostly who was not there when we went in. Heads facing into the current, they did not even see me there on the knot, and basically started squeezing me with their large mass up the line. Obviuosly in-experienced divers. I had my camera in one hand, holding on to the line with the other, and my head was buried in a mass of divers, and there were so many bubbles, I could not even read my dive computer. The current was so strong, it was not possible to swim down and settle on a deeper part of the rope. I was being squeezed more and more up the rope by the mass of divers.

I put my camera between my legs, and gave one guy a whack, he looked back at me, and he was sharing the octopus with some one else ( what a fiasco ! )...... then, he just let the reg out of his mouth, and looked at me with a puzzled look ( I though "Oooohhhhh shit, here we go with a panicked diver or a drowned one." ) . Suprizingly he found the reg. again, and not much changed.

By this time I was huffing and puffing well beyond my 1 bar per minute " max", trying to stay below 4 meters, and my air was expended. I always though my pony and extra reg was a big "over", but I have changed my mind since saturday. It was such a nice feeling to know I had an extra air source ready for use, and did not have to signal to share with others ( how some one could make that signal clear in all that confusion is beyond me ! ).

Well, I was enjoying my ROI with the pony, but, the situation was getting worse............ I was getting squeezed up more and more...... 3 meters with 10 minutes left. When at 2.5, my dive computer said "Er" in big letters. Made one last deperate attempt to swim past people / down, but the current was too strong....... so it was an ascent to the surface.

Happily, no bends or after effects ( Sunnto is very conservative )

Lessons :
1. Dont deco dive when there are alot of people ! Actually, we were the only boat there when I went in, and when I surfaced there were 4 or 5.
2. In the 10 years I have been diving, and probably 3 or 4 which have been mostly Solo, I still maintain the only times when my life has been in peril was when I was around other in-experienced divers. And this time was no different. Why new divers think they must safety stop at 5.00 meters down to an accuracy of 0.01 meters beats me.
3. Murpheys Law again hits in. Yes, I had my plan, told Ray what I was up to, have done the same routine for years...... and then ... Bingo.
4. Having an Alternative air source is very comforting indeed, and worth the trouble of taking it every where you go.

#2 caveman

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 06:52 PM

p.s Maybe should of let go, and drifted........ but the current was very strong, and 10 mins drift witha sausage might have blown me along way off.

#3 davephdv

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 07:37 PM

It's always been my belief that when you dive with a camera you dive alone. Unless you have someone that essentially follows you and helps you. I would also agree that the few times I have been in danger UW have all been the result of diving with a buddy.

I therefore always dive as if I'm diving alone. A redundant air source is essential. Certainly more than a pony if I was doing planned decompression.

Good to here your okay. Did you ever get the point where you considered ditching your camera?

What about a line to atach to the up line? Just wondering about that last one.

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#4 caveman

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 08:35 PM

Ditching my camera with the Nexus housing.... it would have been my last option. I dont like tying my self to the bouy line.......... and I am glad I did not, it could of got even messier as I had this large group of people which could of sqeezed the hell out of me if I was anchored to the line. I should have secured my camera to my hearness before ascent ( which I normally do )

Looking back ( hind vision is 20/20 ), my best option should have been to drift, and for the life of me, I still cannot understand why I did not choose that option. ( it did occur to me, but at 2+ knots (estimate) I was worried about drifitng out to see ). Guess I was also busy with the situation, and thought I could hold on.

I was watching for numbness, pins and needles, rashes etc etc etc the whole night. Fortunately nothing developed and 48 hours onwards all is ok. Planning to dive one day in Phuket next week-end, not sure if that is ok ?.

Solo might have its risks, but with people learning their Advanced, stay well clear if you have deco limits !!!

( p.s. for those who dive with K. Somyod, he aint got no Oxygen onboard !! )

#5 scotdiver

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 10:10 PM

Thanks for the post - I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I'm comfortable with going solo and camera.

Just this weekend I bought a travel wing to take 2 x 10l - I normally dive twins when I have my own gear. Gives me extra redundant gas.

The other items that will be in my "solo" kit are Jon line for hanging off in a current, red DSMB for "normal" drift and a yellow DSMB for "a wee problem". Boat skipper needs to know what the yellow one means. Plus air horn & strobe for the surface.

I'm not keen on working with the camera on a lanyard, but there are times when I think it will be handy to have one and gain the extra hand.

Not a lot of kit overhead and will not add too much to the travel weight - just need to leave more clothes behind :-) Toothbrush is already cut down!!

Cheers
Rob
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#6 caveman

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 10:27 PM

I hear u with leaving cloths behind. My 5 day trips usually pack 3 t-shits, and 3 shorts, and the rest of the 55 KG's is equipment / support equipment.

Likewise, have SMB ( yellow useless here, the reply would be "waow, thats a different colour" ). Based on last saturday, I have an appreciation of just how good it is to have the back up (Pony bottle + second reg set).

#7 acroporas

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 10:34 PM

Your situation is a perfect example of why you carry dive knife......LOL

But seriouly glad your ok.
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#8 caveman

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 02:17 AM

Got one of them - I think....... yes, about a 1 inch long blade, on my BCD, never used and hope never to have to...

Dont know, just never could adjust to the feeling of being semi-permanently attached to something under water...... ( I can imagine trying to cut..and then finding out the blade is dull...... Real hoot then !! )...... and then getting out of my BCD in a rush for teh surface, and making sure I dont drop my Camera....... recon drifting would be a better alternative ?

#9 MikeVeitch

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 03:25 AM

Got one of them - I think.......  yes, about a 1 inch long blade, on my BCD, never used and hope never to have to... 

Dont know, just never could adjust to the feeling of being semi-permanently  attached to something under water......  ( I can imagine trying to cut..and then finding out the blade is dull...... Real hoot then !! )...... and then getting out of my BCD in a rush for teh surface, and making sure I dont drop my Camera.......  recon drifting would be a better alternative ?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I think he meant to use the knife on the other divers..... :)

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#10 caveman

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 04:51 AM

Looks like them bubbles have effected my brain some what ! :) In that case, maybe time to upgrade to one of them mucho 10" knives

#11 acroporas

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 05:10 AM

Yes I did mean you could use it on the other divers. Though hopefully after the first annoying diver floated away to be eaten by the sharks the rest of the group would get the point....
William

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#12 james

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 05:12 AM

Caveman,

I don't understand why you didn't just plant your hands on the line at 10m and not let go or move. The other divers could have leapfrogged over you - I would have just told them to *^^%# off and go around me instead of push me up. Maybe that wasn't an option though???

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#13 caveman

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 06:25 AM

Great idea with the floating up !........ James:- well, I kinda did not expect it. Viz was not so great so i did not see them when starting up the the line at 20m. I had blissfully settled in at about 6 meters or so when i noticed the "herd of elephants" coming out of the haze.

Yes, normal practice would have that one would leap frog over you...but remember, these looked like advanced students. They had no inkeling that there was someone else at 6 meters...... and they all were trying to occupy the same millimeter of space. As the current pushed them, they squeezed me out, and i could not leap frog down ( boy i tried ! ). They kept on slipping backwards slowly due to the current, and with every slip, i got squeezed up the line ( there were so many bubbles i could not even see properly)

Well, i thumped the main one who was in my face, which resulted in him spitting out his reg about 10 secs after the thump.......... really an eerie sight ! he was just there, surviving on his gills obviously........

I am really crowd-o-phobic now.

Again, "buddy diving" is not all its made out to be

#14 scubag

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 07:19 AM

You might want to carry a "Jon Line" which is a small clip (hook) and about 10' of line in a compact pouch. Clip the hook on the down line, clip the other end to your BCD and let go. You can then deco 10' away from the main line at a fixed depth. Several companies make these including Dive Rite, OMS and others. The pouch is only about 1" x 2" x 1/2" and will easily fit in a bcd pocket.

Doug

#15 Kelpfish

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 04:11 PM

Jon line is the only way to go in this situation. Very helpful (if you find the anchor line <_<

If you don't find the anchor line, a whole new skill set better kick in.

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#16 caveman

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Posted 11 April 2005 - 06:00 PM

Thanks...will add one to my kit ( which is 55kg including camera ). recon will add a quick release clip to it, cause dont like the idea of being held underwater

#17 normblitch

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 04:14 AM

I put my camera between my legs, and gave one guy a whack, he looked back at me, and he was sharing the octopus with some one else ( what a fiasco ! )...... then, he just let the reg out of his mouth, and looked at me with a puzzled look ( I though "Oooohhhhh shit, here we go with a panicked diver or a drowned one." ) . Suprizingly he found the reg. again, and not much changed.


I had a similar experience last year diving the Spiegle Grove...stayed too long at the Fair, and at my deep stop was passed by the Thundering Herd on their way up...fortunately I have clips on my Ike housing so I can clip it to BOTH my shoulder D-rings (diving a Hogarthian rig)...even with BOTH hands free it was an EXCITING situation to say the least...

Glad you made it up OK!

Norm

#18 caveman

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 04:59 AM

well...... I normally clip it at the base before ascent....but I thought there would be no current, and with some time, thought I might clip a few more shots......... nothing could have been father from the truth.......

Oh well, wiser now.....