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Quarry session-Learned a lot

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by Tortuga James, May 10, 2007.

  1. Tortuga James

    Tortuga James Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: North Carolina
    Two weeks ago, while flounder hunting and separated from my SOSD buddy, I got tangled up in 20# mono. I calmy deflated my jacket and went to the sand at 65 fsw to break it free. I didn't need to use my knife, but I had it. In the process, my tank strap released and my tank started free-floating behind me. I still had 1200psi. I did a normal slow free ascent, stopped at 15' and then surfaced. I knew I was somewaht near the boat, and it was an easy swim back.

    On the boat later, my buddy asked me why I didn't take my jacket off on the bottom and re-attach my tank. I said that didn't occur to me, but it was a skill I need to practice. I vaguely remember doing that in OW class in the pool.

    So I headed to the quarry with a buddy yesterday to practice. My tank strap was still giving me fits, it slipped out twice before I even got in the water. Well, it came loose early in the dive, possibly from the 5 foot stride drop from the platform. When we got to our first stop, a sunken school bus, my buddy had to take some "flat Stanley" pictures for his niece (thats another whole story). While he was doing that, I just decided to practice my skill, since it really was a practical application. On the bottom, at 25', I successfully took ot off, re-attached my tank and put it back on. It was surprisingly easy. Then my buddy appeared after taking his pictures and we went inside the bus. He signalled to practice the skill and I tried to communicate that I had already done it, and it was his turn. So he did it, not as easily, he uses an integrated weight system and I use a belt. He was buoyant, but his tank and BC were negative, which made it a little more difficult. After he finished and had it back on securely, I decided to practice one more time, this time more flawlessly than the first.

    Towards the end of the dive, we were exploring the old rock crusher. I was following my buddy when my tank bumped an overhead beam. Once again, it came free from the strap. I swam away from the structure, now confident in my ability to fix it. I had about 700psi, and was kneeling on the bottom at 30 feet. When I removed the BC, much to my surprise, it was extremely buoyant. I let all the air out, but it was still positive from the tank. I struggled with it for a couple of minutes, but could not control the buoyant tank. At 500 psi, I decided to make a free ascent, BC and tank in tow in my hand, and still buddyless. I held on tight, knowing full well that my BC would head for the surface, and I would head for the bottom if we parted ways. I swam slowly at a 45 degree angle in the direction of the platform, surfacing at at very reasonable pace. At the surface, I had no trouble re-strapping my tank and donning my BC for the surface swim back to the platform. My buddy surfaced soon after.

    During the SI, we diagnosed and remedied my strap issue.

    The second dive was uneventful, save one incident. I poked my head into an old airplane and my second stage hose got caught on something and ripped my reg out out my mouth. I slowly backed up, recovered it and put it back in my mouth.

    I learned several things from my intanglement incident in the ocean and these two quarry dives.

    Remain calm and think before acting.

    Assess the situation and make the safest possible plan.

    Think of things that can go wrong and practice the remedies, or at least rehearse them in your mind.

    Be a better buddy.

    Never get in the water with a suspect piece of equipment (My tank strap)

    Ok...let me have it :14:
  2. divermatt

    divermatt Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Boston
    First, be a better buddy.

    Second: Tighten your tank strap, and be sure to soak it before attaching the tank.
  3. ffestpirate

    ffestpirate Divemaster Candidate

    Hey, you kept your head. That was the most important thing. Yeah it's good to check equipment first, but you learned that. You can handle almost anything underwater if you stop and think. I find that if you practice for emergencies when there aren't any, they don't become "emergencies" when you encounter them. A lot of divers never practice their skills after class. The more you practice, the easier self-rescue becomes.
  4. Fish_Whisperer

    Fish_Whisperer Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: In a car underwater with time to kill....
    Man... Nothing but praise and kudos, here. You encountered a number of problems underwater and solved them in a cool, methodical manner. Nice!! :thumb: If you're diving with a buddy though, don't get separated.
  5. ffestpirate

    ffestpirate Divemaster Candidate

    I agree with the buddy advice, but I occassionally dive solo. You never know when your buddy may become incapacitated or disappear. Sef reliance cannot be over emphasized enough.
  6. suthnbelle

    suthnbelle ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hood River, Oregon
    I've already talked to Ken about this since we're friends and he just soo appreciates my .02. :wink: I'm sure he'll repay me later.

    My first thought was you don't do this skill, donning and replacing rig, without your buddy nearby and paying close attention to what you are doing. I didn't think he should have been doing it while his buddy had his back to him and focused on taking pictures of Flat Stanley. :D

    Also, if my cam strap was giving me problems before I even got in the water I would have taken my gear off and tightened the strap until I was confident it was tight.

    Maybe be more aware when entering the bus, airplane and especially swimming down in the crusher. Make sure you have no hoses sticking out too far or danglies when down in the crusher.
  7. erparamedic

    erparamedic Vampire Girl......er Dork

    Aside from the buddy issue.... job well done. I have practiced removing and replacing my tank in the bc a few times. I wear 1/2 my weights on a belt, and the other 1/2 in bc pockets... thus when I practice with the tanks, I am bouyant, and end up head down, finning down.... not a big deal. It's to be expected depending on how you wear your weights. I've also done the drills with full tanks and tanks that were breathed down to 500-700 psi. Having a floaty tank does add a bit of "fun" to the drill... but again... practice and you'll soon handle the situation fine. :wink:

    Good job! Glad to hear you learned something new! I must say though... if you're buddy diving... stay with your buddy!
  8. Hemlon

    Hemlon Solo Diver

    You remained calm and handled the situation well. No flames coming from me!

    Well done!!

  9. TSandM

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

    I learned the hard way that drills can turn urgent and nasty. Even though you're practicing the skills to be facile with them when you ARE alone and you DO have a problem, there is no reason not to arrange the extra insurance of an attentive buddy when you are doing something which, if it goes wrong, could become an emergency. JMHO.

    Good on you for practicing skills, though.
  10. mdb

    mdb ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    Swampdogg: You did a good job remaining calm and continuing to "work the problem". You also reminded us to continue to practice skills. Doffing and donning U/W is one of those things lots of divers never do after their OW class. It is an important skill for all the reasons you outlined.

    Now, for the blatant Apollo plug. We hear about slipping tank straps quite a bit since we sell a product that helps solve the old tank going south while your going north problem:

    sales pitch finished. :)

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