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Article: Self Reliance and Tech Diving

Discussion in 'ScubaBoard Articles' started by Chatterton, Feb 12, 2013.

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  1. Chatterton

    Chatterton Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Dominican Republic & Fort Lauderdale, FL
  2. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    I read the article. I am not the diver you are, Mr. Chatterton, but I will say that there are different philosophical approaches to diving, even to technical diving (of which I have done a little) and cave diving (of which I have done a bit more). You are basing your approach on the idea that buddies are unreliable; that emergency skills are unreliable, and that you make no commitment to the people with whom you dive.

    I dive in a different world, where people spend a great deal of effort, time and expense learning not to be unreliable buddies and not to have unreliable skills, so that they CAN make a commitment to the people with whom they dive. That commitment is that they will be prepared for the dive that's contemplated, with adequate skills and experience and the ability to handle themselves -- until or unless help is needed or even just convenient, at which time their buddies will be there for them.

    Neither way is wrong, but I know which approach sits better with me. But I didn't learn my technical diving in the era or in the conditions where you did, and I would never have the courage to do the dives you have done.
  3. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    I'm one of those who commented on (but didn't challenge) that you were solo on an Andra Dora deep dive. Some thoughts:

    1.) Your viewpoint is deeply rooted in your diving background/the types of dives you have done, and the mentality it takes to dive like that and come out alive time & again. Only a small minority of divers today share that experience and the mentality I assume it must create. I am not a technical diver; I suspect even amongst technical divers, only a minority match your mindset, so to speak (I got the impression you've observed that, watching buddies' pre-dive planning covering air sharing contingencies).

    2.) On a public forum like this, we're mindful of the potential for monkey-see, monkey-do. For a diver of your caliber and experience to do these dives doesn't bother me (much; some of it seems pretty dangerous, but it's your life, not mine). The idea that your exploits might set an example for others who might be less capable, or desensitize people to the idea of how dangerous such diving can be in the manner you do it (e.g.: solo at extreme depth), concerns me a little.

    Please do not be offended. I'm not opposing what you do, or even arguing against it or your sharing it. Just expressing my reaction to it and its possible impact.

    If my view seems a little paternalistic, I'm considering the philosophical consensus I try to glean from forum threads. For example, depending on where I read, if you think you need AOW to dive over 60' deep, you're a tool of the agencies, who 'just want your money.' But if you engage in cave diving without formal training, you're an idiot. And if you post about deep diving on air, you're making & popularizing a bad choice that could get you (& some you influence) killed.

    I'm used to seeing posts about extreme diving outside 'usual industry practices' being challenged, if only for the sake of the ignorant who might 'get the wrong idea' from them. When I commented on your post, I was a bit surprised not to see any of that.

    Enjoyed your video! Hope you always make it back!

    Jax likes this.
  4. Dr. Lecter

    Dr. Lecter Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC/Honolulu
    Your concern seems to presume that similar dives, conducted in a team scenario, would be inherently safer/less risky and therefore public discussion of them would be less of an issue. However, I have seen no objective evidence that is true -- if anything, such dives may well be safer solo, without the additional risk presented by multiple independent actors in a confined, delicate environment.
  5. HowardE

    HowardE Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Boca Raton, Florida
    As John's primary dive buddy for the last several years, and as his assistant for most of his classes, I'd like to elaborate on this point a little bit if I may...

    John's approach is that the buddy is unreliable because of real life experiences with actual emergencies. Does that mean that I'm an unreliable buddy or that he doesn't rely on me as a buddy? Not really. We frequently dive as a team, but as a team of two focused individual members knowing we can save ourselves first if needed. It means that we teach self reliance, so that you're also better equipped to help someone else when the poop hits the fan. Two self reliant divers make a strong team. Scenarios are all well and good for training but John has been in several real life or death situations, and even had death claim people while he was in the water with them. Has John been lucky, or just prepared?

    John is relatively modest about this, but I'll say it here... In all of his thousands of dives, he's never gotten bent, nor has he run out of gas. Does that mean that he hasn't had catastrophic gas loss? Well... No, that has happened. But he reacted to the problem and solved it for himself. In the end... his dive plan involves getting himself back to the surface safely.
    Bhtmec2, asha, NAM001 and 5 others like this.
  6. Green_Manelishi

    Green_Manelishi Solo Diver

    Very nice that you narrated the video rather than subject viewers to rap, nu-metal, or other noise. Well done !
    koozemani and undrwater like this.
  7. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Howard, I understand, I think, the approach John is taking. I just don't like it. I respect his enormous diving experience, which dwarfs mine. His approach was formed in a crucible of very deep diving in very challenging conditions, with the kind of cowboy mentality you had to have to do those dives.

    I prefer diving with people who believe that you become the strongest diver you can possibly become, and you dive with similar team members, but you also commit to help one another.

    There is a horrible story of a British woman who got violently ill the better part of a mile from the entrance to the cave she was diving. Her teammates brought her out. Those are the people I want to dive with, not someone who would look at me and say, "You shouldn't have eaten the ceviche. See ya!"
  8. JamesK

    JamesK Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: SW Florida
    I know you already know this, but their is a difference between being self reliant, and selfish. I solo cave dive. However, when I dive with a team, we are all under the understanding that we are self reliant, but there for each other at the same time. I do not know of any diver who takes an every man for himself attitude hen with a team. Well, I knew one who believed that and it is the closest I ever came to what I thought could be the end of it all for me in a cave.
    NAM001 and Jax like this.
  9. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    Well, what do you call someone who has the ability to provide life to a "buddy" but who willfully refuses other than selfish? I'm sorry, but the OP's POV IS selfish whether you call it "self-reliant" or "solo" or "blue cheese." Anyone who writes
    is NOT a "buddy" or a "teammate" but merely selfish.

    In fact, were the OP to act in this manner within the legal boundaries of my state (Washington), it would be an interesting question if he is even acting legally.

    While an interesting article, it absolutely convinces me that I want nothing to do with someone with his, or some like minded, mindset -- whether in the water or out.
  10. sock

    sock Registered

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    I completely agree with you.
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