Being THAT person

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knowone

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I wasn't looking at you funny because you were a bloke. I just wanted to know where you stashed the moonshine. Wear your weights at the front to the shop. Isn't Jim Lapenta a nice guy.
 

fnfalman

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First of all, you sound a lot like I was nearly three years and 200-dives ago. Even in this day and age, I still have issues with water in my nose. Anyway, let's address some of your issues individually:

I am concerned about the amount of weight I need to use, and how I either sink or bob, with no in-between. The slightest BCD inflation...and I mean slightest...causes me to rise like a balloon.
Sounds like you're slightly underweighted if barely touching your inflator would make you rise. As far as weighting yourself correctly goes, you weight yourself so that with a full tank, an empty BC and fully exhaled, you should just barely bobbing underneath the surface or sinking ever slowly.


Though I put the belt tighter than my jeans, the weights slide around me to make me list from one side to the other.
Get a DUI weight harness or integrated weight BC. Like you, I'm generous in the middle, and weight belt shifts like crazy. Hated that.

With a 7mm suit and gloves and hood, I have trouble seating my mask. If the hood isn't so tight it cuts off circulation, it collects exhausted air and inflates.

Stick a finger between the hood & mask then run that finger around your face to clear the skirt off the hood and onto your face's skin. Vent your hood by drilling a hole or two at the top by heating up a small nail or big needle to red hot and melt a couple of holes. Make sure that you burn the hole both ways; outside in and inside out. If the hood is so tight that it cuts off circulation then you need a hood that doesn't choke the life out of you.

In the tests, getting water in my nose makes me feel like I am drowning, and I do not want to be a hassle to whomever I dive with.

I still have problems with water in my nose, especially when I swim while looking up at the surface. Sometimes you simply have to grunt it out.

My overall suggestion is that if you like diving that much and have access to local dive sites then buy your own gears and go dive often with as many experienced people as you can and glean wisdom from their experiences to come up with your own ideas and techniques. You must dive smart. Learn from your own experience and others' experience. See what works and what doesn't work. Be analytical about when you're doing well and when you're not doing well.

Practice alone doesn't make perfect, it just breeds bad habits. I've dived with divers who professed 10-years & hundreds of dives experience yet still floundering about, flapping their arms like wings for buoyancy control.
 

NE_Diver

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I also had the problem of the weight belt shifting on me too.

I don't need as much weight as you but I found a rubber weight belt worked for me. I put it on a little tight on the surface and when my wetsuit compresses so does the belt. It also has a bit of grip on it which helps keep it from shifting too.
 

hypertech

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I've only encountered "that guy" on a boat once. He was twice the size of everyone else and had trouble moving around ........

Until we all got in the water. The guy was half fish. He had great bouyancy control and an unbelievable SAC rate (meaning he had a lot more air left when we had to turn due to others running out). He was one of the better divers in the bunch.

So, don't be so hard on yourself. Get some more time with an instructor/DM at a fun dive or a mentor. Think about taking a peak buoyancy course or the AOW course for more supervised dives. And most important of all, work on enjoying yourself and not worrying so much about how others may perceive your diving. It will all come in time if you give yourself the chance.
 

fjpatrum

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I haven't gotten my cert yet, but I'll be wearing at least 10 mm of neoprene when I hit the quarry. I get cold easily, but I'm a newb too and I'll dive with you once I finish my cert dives.

Thanks for posting your questions because it's definitely given me some things to think about (such as venting a hood) before my quarry dives. I expect to be ridiculously cold and uncomfortable so I want to make things as easy as possible and the information given here will certainly help.

JoeyP
 

ScubaCrow

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I dive at the Millbrook quarry a couple of weekends a month. If you'd like to go dive for fun and help work out the kinks, let me know.
 

Doc Harry

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Buoyancy control in a 7mm wetsuit is difficult in to 10 to 25 foot depth range. If you start ascending, you will ascend quickly as the air bubbles in the wetsuit expand. If you start descending, you will descend quickly as the air bubble compress.

Once you get below 25-35 feet, and the 7mm wetsuit is compressed more, you will find it easier to manage your buoyancy and dial-in your weight.

You are also needing so much weight to sink yourself and all that thick neoprene at the surface that you might be overweighted at depth.

What are your options?

Try carrying a little less weight - you might find it necessary to actually turn vertical and swim downwards to get below the surface. Once you swim deep enough - about 10 feet of so - your wetsuit will compress enough that you'll start sinking without having to swim downwards.

Also, if you're going to wear that much neoprene (7mm or more) try staying a little deeper where your wetsuit will be adequately compressed, and you don't have those large swings in garment buoyancy with changing depth.

Finally, if you need that much neoprene because of the cold, try switching to a drysuit. You'll no longer have to deal with a garment that changes buoyancy with changing depth, like a wetsuit.
 

Puffer Fish

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Remember when you took your open water test and there was the one, usually an overweight old woman, who you thought, "They have no sense being in the water, much less in scuba gear,"?

That was me, except I'm a guy. I am not whining. I am pissed at myself.

I showed up late (because the quarry is out in the boondocks where one wrong turn and you got some hillbilly moonshiner commenting how you have pretty teeth, and I got lost). I needed a ton of weight, and that made me unstable. I panicked and headed to the surface just before the end of the tests. And, I was so much trouble that my buddy abandoned me because I was holding him back.

So, now that I have a card that says I can rent gear whenever I want, I do not want to be THAT guy whom you read about, after asking, "Why doesn't he post anymore?" to find out he drowned.

I've read all I found about diving, concerning the things I needed to know to pass my test. (I avoided filling my head with info about stuff I have no sense reading about, other than pony bottles.) So, I have book knowledge.

What advice can you give me so that I don't do too much too fast and make horrible errors?

I am concerned about the amount of weight I need to use, and how I either sink or bob, with no in-between. The slightest BCD inflation...and I mean slightest...causes me to rise like a balloon. Though I put the belt tighter than my jeans, the weights slide around me to make me list from one side to the other.

With a 7mm suit and gloves and hood, I have trouble seating my mask. If the hood isn't so tight it cuts off circulation, it collects exhausted air and inflates.

In the tests, getting water in my nose makes me feel like I am drowning, and I do not want to be a hassle to whomever I dive with.

I have to admit to laughing when I read your post....but not at you, because I pretty much know all of those issues.

I have a few more dives than you do, ok, maybe a 1,000 or so times more dives... and those issues you are having are not special to you.

Before getting to the suit/weight/buoyancy issues, lets address the water in the nose issue. Have had that issue ever since I started diving.. yup. has always bothered me. Bothered me when I started diving in the 60's... thru instructor training in the 70's...to this day. I swim a couple times a week with mask/fins/snorkel in a pool, and the last two laps are done without a mask. Am I ok with it - yup. Do I like it - nope, but while I still don't like it, I've learned to deal with it. At this point, doubt I ever will. So just get some practice so you feel comfortable enough to not worry if something happened.. for me that means doing some practice every week.

Now the suit issue. You are big... you need a lot of weight....the weights don't stay put... your buoyancy sucks.

Here is reality:

1. I don't have hips to hold weights on, never have... hate weight belts.. but if you use one, expect to tighten it when down.. Large diameter means lots of compression to the suit under water. Me, I use integrated weights, and I need a lot, so in cold water, I have a SS backplate (6 lbs), a 4 lb weight attached to the SS back plate (up to 10 lbs now), and with a 7mm suit, with hooded vest, gloves and boots, have 18 more pounds. Oh, and I use steel tanks (another 5 lb advantage). Add another 4 lbs if I am diving in a dry suit.

2. Big suit = lots of weight variation from top to bottom. Sorry, just is what it is. It also means that when shallow, a little movement up or down will be much bigger than for a smaller person. My suggestion is to do some warm water diving, where this is not a major issue, to get diving skills down, then do cold water to learn how to be more delicate. But if you use a big suit, your skill will always need to be better than a smaller person's.

3. Loose weight... get in shape...it help a lot and makes everything easier.

Every year, I go from light weight suits to heavy stuff. Every year I struggle with buoyancy control with a thick suit on for the first few dives. But it passses and I get comfortable for the season....

You have lots of good suggestions on how to weight yourself correctly... but nothing beats practice and getting comfortable with the technology.

Just remember that in diving, being big means lots and lots of weight variation from suit compression.. so work on reducing the need for than, while you work on skills.
 

TSandM

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I had tons of problems sinking, when I was new. NW Grateful Diver gave me a bunch of good tips. For one thing, they tell you to deflate your BC and exhale. The problem with that is that, if you exhale as you push the deflate button, then by the time your head gets to the water, you have to inhale again, which pushes you back up. Instead, as you decide to descend, push the deflate button and INHALE. As your face reaches the water, exhale hard and hold it for a few seconds. You will sink under the water, and even a couple of feet will compress your wetsuit and allow you to continue down.

In addition, most of us scull restlessly with our fins at the surface. When you start to deflate, if you also kick, you push yourself up! Bob had me cross my ankles, so I couldn't kick. If, at the same time, you bend your knees a little bit, then as you sink, you'll also rotate into a nice horizontal position for descent, which means you get to see the bottom before you hit it.

Of course, you do have to do a proper weight check, so you know you have enough weight, but not too much.

Don't feel bad about falling down getting out of the water. I have done it many times. To this day, I find the transition from weightlessness to the heavy gear to be a hard one, and I just ask my buddy to stay right with me and offer a hand for balance. Being dive buddies does not end at the water's edge! It can also help to shed your weight belt at the shoreline, if you have to walk up a hill or stairs to where you can take off your gear. In cold water, I can shed 20 lbs that way, and 20 lbs makes a big difference.

Of course, getting stronger and fitter will make life easier, but I've never been disciplined enough to hit the gym regularly. I got stronger by . . . DIVING! Haul enough gear around, and you build muscles :)

The two things that do concern me about your story are that you bolted to the surface and that you feel panicky with water in your nose. Panic is what hurts divers, and you need to figure out how to control that. Practice, if you like, in your kitchen sink with your mask, and put your face in the water without a mask and breathe through your snorkel, until having water around your nose no longer bothers you in the slightest. And, the next time you dive, pay close attention to your breathing. Panic goes along with rapid breathing -- often, just stopping what you are doing and slowing your breathing down will result in calm. The urge to bolt has to go away, for your safety.
 

jeffloughridge

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I am "that guy" too. Everyone's worst nightmare when in the next seat on a plane, but if I say so myself pretty darn graceful in the water.

I was certified last June, and started with 32 pounds of lead, in warm Fla. Keys water with no wetsuit. Oh my God. I did 30 dives between certification and mid September last year. My last dive I wore 14 pounds and could control my depth by breath.

I did my first dive of this year a few weekends ago and, while a bit rusty, wore 22 pounds in fresh water with a 3 mil wetsuit, 7 mil hood and boots, and 3 mil gloves. To say I HATE the hood is an understatement but it is a necessity in colder water. I clearly need more dives in this configuration and plan on a lot more this season.

All of the advice so far is spot on. Dive, dive, dive.

Perhaps this thread will develop into a weekend dive group. I would like the opportunity to dive with a regular group, working on the big and little details of our sport.

You should also look into Lake Rawlings as a practice destination. It is warmer in the summer, and has pretty decent vis.
 
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