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iamyourgasman
15-02-2013, 09:59 PM
Originally posted on the "other place":

Part 1


It all started on YD when Simon TW planned the road-trip with the Van of Dreams last year.
I have already read a bit about rebreathers and from what I gathered, I quite fancied the rEvo. So I booked a day at NDAC and I was pretty much sold to the idea on the second dive, when for a brief moment I managed to hover midwater, motionless, breathing in and out in complete silence (apart from the reassuring clicks of the mushroom valves). The price of the rEvo was however prohibitive and we just had a little baby…So I plodded on with OC learning valuable lessons from Garf and doing my trimix course. Fast forward to November, when we had a sadly eventful trip to Scapa, where Simon TW and his gang was moored next to us. We had a brief chat and he mentioned that he might be able to do a deal on a unit…I managed to sell my flat back home which provided me some free cash, so when Simon pm-ed me about the potential of buying the rEVO III mini hCCR I have done the try-dive on, I jumped.
We set out dates and I did my MOD1 with him over two weeks. Simon and Sharon was kind enough to put me up in their home, I think it is not very common that you have this opportunity and friendliness.
I won’t bore you with all the skills and drills we have covered during the course (you can read all of them here http://www.revo-rebreathers.com/uplo..._270411_EN.pdf ) but give you some highlights sticking points.
Day 1 was on theory and building up the unit from scratch. The theory was very enjoyable, as I got a relatively strong background in physiology and physics we have covered most of the topics swiftly and I even managed to explain a few things to Simon . We spent better part of the afternoon putting the unit together and although it took a good couple of hours it was evident that the day-to-day maintenance of the rEvo is a doodle. Some more theory and a thai curry prepared by Simon and we retired to sleep.
Day 2 and 3 were spent at Capernwray, where I have never been before. Being weekdays, the site was not particularly crowded (in fact there were only 4-5 other divers around.) During the first 6 dives we used the ‘breather in MCCR mode, setting the setpoint manually at 1.0, with a parachute of the solenoid at 0.7. On the first day we did the two “confined water” dives, so we didn’t venture deeper than 8m. The first dive was spent on getting used to the unit, practicing bailouts and getting the feel for buoyancy. I used to use my wing as my primary buoyancy source, but Simon wanted me to use the suit and although a bit reluctantly I followed the advice. It was actually easier than I thought, as the rEvo was a much lighter setup than my twinset!
During the dive I started to feel comfortable and somewhat in control after about 10 minutes and I thought I managed to get a reasonable control over everything.
On the way out where it gets shallow over the slipway I lost the buoyancy at 4.5m and popped to the surface, much to my annoyance, but fortunately I didn’t forget to add O2 on the way up… After the first dive we headed to the cafeteria for a healthy lunch and de-brief. Apparently I wasn’t half bad, so we pressed on to the second dive. This is where the fun begun: no-mask swims, BOOM-drill, barrel rolls and some more bailouts for hypoxia, hyperoxia and hypercapnia. The “tour” around the container without mask was particularly interesting. It wasn’t really for the 6C water, I could cope with that or the reduced visibility (I used to swim in my early teens and never wore goggles so this wasn’t new), but for the fact that I discovered I inadvertently inhaled via my nose, not just via my mouth. I pinched my nose, but then it blocked the view of the HUD, so it was a bit of a faff. The barrel rolls were the fun part and generally I felt better with my buoyancy. On the way out I lost it again, but only at 3m, so an improvement.
We packed up and went home, where we have cleaned and prepped the units for the next day’s dives. Then some more theory and the written exam, which I have passed.
On Friday Paul joined us as safety diver for the first “open water” dives. Our first dive got a bit delayed as Simon forgot to put his drysuit in the van… We are talking about the Van of Dreams here, so he got a spare, but it didn’t have drygloves and he refused to dive without them. What a wuss! Fortunately he managed to source the right Si-tech rings from another diver so after this intermezzo we have started. Bubble-check and bailout at 6m then mid-water swim at around 8m, buoyancy fine-tuning, bailouts (lot of them! For the 3Hs) no-mask swim (again), we did everything plus a bit more which is prescribed in the course standards. On the first dive the ascent was not as good as I wanted and as I felt very light in the shallows we decided to put on an extra kg. This made all the difference. On the second dive as we were ascending after sending up the SMB I have noticed that Simon is getting ahead of me, then settled down. On the surface he told us that his ADV stuck open and his CLs were flooded with dil, so he had to do the BOOM-drill for real. TBH I was so preoccupied with my buoyancy that I didn't even notice he has done it. After the dive while on closer inspection we saw that the new RMS cables are a bit shorter and stiffer than the non-RMS ones and they have a tendency to slip under the ADV, opening it wide. A bit more careful positioning of the cables and the problem was sorted.
We have cleaned and prepped the units for next week and I had a long, but uneventful drive to home.

Part 2

Next week I drove up to Simon’s on Wednesday evening to complete the remaining OW dives over Thursday and Friday.
We wake up a bit earlier on Thursday and prepped the units within 40 minutes and it was noticeable how much slicker you get with practice :). We made sure he takes his drysuit with him this time and off we went for another fine day. On the first dive we went down to the “sump” where we practiced reading the HUD in silt-out, did more buoyancy exercises under the wing of the plane and on the various other objects. Then I did a reg-out swim, which was a doodle, arriving to the no-mask ascent.
Based on my previous experience I knew it will be uncomfortable in 6C water, but what I couldn’t predict is that I nearly loose it…The ascent went OK, but before I had an OK from Simon to put the mask back on, again I managed to sniff a noseful of water. It was horrible. I could feel the water in the upper airways, where it shouldn’t be and I had a huge urge to breathe through the nose. I managed to clip my nose with one hand and tried to blow out the water. I tried to put my mask back on and clear it, however I didn’t seemed to get enough air to my lungs to do it properly, so there was some water at the mask which I sniffed p again. I had to take the mask off to pinch my nose…I have now done it twice and I was starting to panic and for one moment I thought F%^ it I’m going up! And here came the cavalry: Simon helped me settling down on the platform and even without my mask on I could see that both him and Paul was holding there regs ready to shove it in my mouth if needed. I had a look at my HUD and I have seen a solid green, so I knew I’m breathing OK gas. This calmed me a bit and I gave another, much more controlled go. Same thing, couldn’t clear the mask properly, water back in the nose. However, by this time I was much calmer and I could control my breathing and on the next attempt I managed to clear the mask and get myself sorted. Later on Simon and Paul both said they thought we would be on the way to the surface as they have seen the panic building up in my eyes. Not a nice experience, but it made me more aware of my limitations and abilities.
We continued the dive with running the rEvo in SCR mode, then doing some fun buoyancy skills riding an SMB and Simon demonstrated how should we went the loop if we are doing OC ascent. A bit more swimming around (swopping a couple of stages and going through restrictions) and I launched the bag and we ascended to do some simulated deco. It was miles better than a week ago, but I was still not happy with my shallow water buoyancy control.
Healthy lunch followed as Sharon was in attendance as surface cover and we went back for a second dive. We covered pretty much all the skills and scenarios responses to the 3H scenarios + total flood again when I noticed that my suit inflate has run out. It was time to swap stages with Paul for real, as he had an inflator hose on his. It threw my balance quite a bit as there is a big difference between a steel7 and an Ali7! But good for practice. I also noticed on the next bailout drill, that Paul’s Cyclone really needs a service, I could barely got gas out of it, only when I actively purged it. Simon noticed it as well so we agreed to swap back to my own stage for the bail-out ascent. As we were happily swimming along the container I checked my gauges and shock horror, my O2 showed only 40 bar. It was 90 bar a couple of minutes ago??? I indicated this to Simon, who casually waved OK, let’s carry on! For me this was the giveaway to check my valves and not to my surprise I found the O2 closed. Nice try I thought :). The dummy-run on the OC ascent was a bit of a disaster (or so I felt), venting the loop, venting the suit, changing the computer to OC and reeling the SMB proved a bit much, so I just about completed the simulated deco stops at 9, 6 and 3 before ungracefully popped to the surface from 3m.
I knew I have to get my act together for next day! We drove home, prepped the units, got the tanks filled and had a lovely dinner again, followed by some more theory on He, END and deco planning.
We planned the last two dives which were to be completed in Coniston. I crashed into the bed and fell asleep immediately. In the morning I wake up fresh and ready for the challenge. Everybody whom I spoken to said the Coniston is a great training place: deep, dark as pitch black and featureless. It didn’t disappoint! For the last day Steve came over to provide surface cover, while Simon, Paul and myself headed to the water. It was uninviting…but we descended and as soon as we gone past 20m it was like somebody switched the lights off. Pitch black, but with our torches the visibility was quite good (until I stirred the silt up a bit). Strangely, when we reached our target depth of 42m, I felt much more comfortable. Paul showed me the way, as I was going to lead the second dive. More skills and drill at depth and after we racked up some deco, we started to ascend on a huge pink rock and completed our stops on a rocky ledge. No dramas and an overall very good dive. We had a bite to eat and some tea coffee in the Van of Dreams, and then started to prepare for our final dive. It was going to be easy: same depth for the same amount of time, locate the pink wall and bail-out to OC and complete a perfect ascent whilst communicating to the other team members. And off we went. Once on the bottom and we were at the pink rock I experienced a total flood (fortunately not for real!) so I had to bail-out. I was anxious about the whole thing but managed to keep my calm and followed the plan to the letter. Probably annoyed the hell out of Paul with my constant pestering about how much deco we need to do… At the 6m stop I started to feel a bit floaty as the gas from the Ali7 emptied, but halfway through the 6m stops this feeling disappeared. As we broke the surface at the prescribed time I realized that Simon has clipped an other stage to me…oh well I could have been more vigilant . As we scrambled to the shore I was told that I have passed the course and I can take my new toy home :D!
I was well pleased! This is the time and place to thank everyone who helped me through this course especially Simon and Paul.

Epilog: since then I have completed more than 50 hours on the unit. It took me a year, but actually I have dived more last year than I have done in the previous 2 years. The gas logistics are so much simpler (thanks to Brocky et al at Bristol Channel Diving) and I always have a good 10 hours worth of gas in the garage. No major issues with the unit: I managed to break the cable coming off from the battery in the Predator, but it was an easy mend, I had the usual battery changes in the computer/solenoid and revodream. The only fault was the leaking O-ring in the O2 spg, which was fixed in about 5 minutes. I just timed myself this week: from a disassembled unit (I had the half-used lime canisters in a sealed bag, so no filling those) to a ready to dive one it took 17 minutes to prep and that included loading the kit in the back of the car. I made some tweaks: putting elevated D-rings on the waistband and changing to the rMS system...so nothing major, it's still a stock unit. Still continue to do at least 2 drills/dive and just done two bail-out ascents for good measure to see if I can keep it together. So far so good, and looking forward to some further training to MOD2!

thetrickster
16-02-2013, 06:44 AM
Nice write up. Thanks!


Regards

Rich.

Simon TW
16-02-2013, 09:48 AM
The Epilog is a nice addition. It's always nice to know that the skills are being practiced.

I'm looking forward to the next chapter.

You're still welcome out in Hurghada for Dive Fest, two weeks of top diving with some really great people. Mostly rust.

iamyourgasman
16-02-2013, 01:03 PM
Thanks Simon, but with everything going o. It's unlikely. We will be back from Spain from a weeks diving only on the 4th May and even I need to work occasionally!

Yogi
10-12-2013, 09:30 AM
Nice to read someone else's report on the training and realise I am not alone. I too had a lot of problems inhaling water through my nose during mask off drills and had to hold my nose to complete the swim. (Simon said it wasn't a full 25 metres but as I went up 7 and back down again he added that on. :think: ):doh:

I had the added benefit of doing the course in the Red Sea but didn't get to see much as the course was very intense. Last day was on the wrecks of the Carnatic and Ghiannis D though and we did manage to enjoy those. :)

My fitness level was a bit dubious and I found swimming against strong currents exhausting leaving me to wonder about doing MOD2 but, if I don't, I have wasted a lot of cash. I bought the rEvo to allow me to dive the deeper wrecks in the Forth and take part in expeditions to Malin Head. A depth limit of 40M gives me no real advantages over OC. So, priority now is to get some hours on the unit.

colinicky
10-12-2013, 10:06 AM
I'm sorry but provided you are carrying a spare mask I see absolutely no point to the mask of swim, fair enough remove your mask then obtain your spare from your pocket & don & clear but a 25m swim ???? I wonder at times if it is even part of the course structure laid down by an agency or if the instructors just add it in themselves ?

GLOC
10-12-2013, 10:32 AM
Colin,

I would put the 25m swim down as a task that is to be completed not because of the need to swim 25m without a mask, but because it shows that you are comfortable swimming for the time it takes you to swim 25m.

Chatting at the weekend when someone mentioned the mask off drills and ascents that we had to do, we said the same about spare mask or buddy's mask. Case recounted: jumped in, lost mask, get spare mask out, lens shattered, buddies spare mask, strap too short, pulled the strap out of the loops, dry gloves needed to be rethreaded, all of which took time.

So, is there now a problem with spending 30-60secs without a mask on? Much better to know if you have an issue with a mask off in a controlled environment than when it happens for real.

Regards

humpbackdiving
10-12-2013, 11:07 AM
my father used to train polish navy divers and the polish equivalent of navy seals. I was challenged to do some of the drills and as tough as they are I do believe the tougher the training the better you are prepared for shit hits the fan moment!

yes you can have a situ where your masks floods or strap goes and you do have a spare.... but what if that day you do not have it with you or lost it?!?!?

swampy
10-12-2013, 11:29 AM
my father used to train polish navy divers and the polish equivalent of navy seals. I was challenged to do some of the drills and as tough as they are I do believe the tougher the training the better you are prepared for shit hits the fan moment!

yes you can have a situ where your masks floods or strap goes and you do have a spare.... but what if that day you do not have it with you or lost it?!?!?

Or drop the bloody thing over a wall when you're getting it out of your pocket :doh:

colinicky
10-12-2013, 11:37 AM
Gloc
I would agree with you on the pov of a 25m swim as a fitness level. God knows a lot of divers me included could do with a higher level of fitness! ( scooters have a lot to answer for LOL)

If at the level of doing a ccr course you do not know that you have a problem with a mask off situation ( found mine out on PADI OW course) then I would say you are not experienced enough to do the course.

With regards to either forgetting it or dropping it that is akin to what happens if my computer packs up & I forgot my back up or it has also packed up or it fell of my wrist, probably wasn't a good idea to get in the water that day.
More likely in my case that I remove from pocket & think Shit I really need to clean the mould of this mask !

colinicky
10-12-2013, 11:40 AM
Gloc
Sorry but I personally would not count the Red Sea as a controlled environment ?

GLOC
10-12-2013, 11:41 AM
Gloc
Sorry but I personally would not count the Red Sea as a controlled environment ?

But your instructor is sitting over your shoulder, which is the controlled environment...

Regards

Chris Brown
10-12-2013, 12:58 PM
I'm sorry but provided you are carrying a spare mask I see absolutely no point to the mask of swim, fair enough remove your mask then obtain your spare from your pocket & don & clear but a 25m swim ???? I wonder at times if it is even part of the course structure laid down by an agency or if the instructors just add it in themselves ?

Hi, the reason for a no mask swim from my perspective is a confidence booster primarily, but also to help reinforce that even a few metres of separation with your buddy can dramatically increase the stress and complexity of a simple task / requirement.

Also, on rebreathers we occasionally have students that 'nose breathe.' This habit has to be corrected if possible, as not only are they diving SCR (venting out the top of the mask usually) but they often can't breathe on a rebreather with their mask off. It helps the instructor and the student identify any potential issues and boost confidence at the same time.

Some people just can't open their eyes with a mask off. They hate the feeling of water in their eyes or whatever. Once you get past that, and you can swim around with a mask off, you soon realise that you might just be able to pull off an ascent up a line or find a buddy / gas switch or whatever underwater.

Its a real "eye opener." LOL

PeterL
10-12-2013, 01:51 PM
I think I spent about 25 continuous minutes mask off on a training dive earlier in the year in Malta. A mask is not something you need even in salt water as the stinging ceases and if you have sufficient oro-nasal separation to be on CCR then you have enough to stay that way all day. Doing it to a newly minted CCR diver who has not developed the skill is an interesting check but it can turn out nasty if they have not got the skill yet as my wife found out.

Edit, I have a lovely Shearwater HUD that I can monitor PPO2 with mask off as I found. This is the one thing that a NERd would cause me to lose and why I would not swap to one.

iamyourgasman
10-12-2013, 02:07 PM
Whilst I still don't like swimming without mask in the quarry I managed to pull it off recently pretty OK. I agree that it increases the stress level and as an exercise can be used to test problem solving ability under task loading. Me? I just swap to a spare mask thank you!

Simon TW
12-12-2013, 04:50 PM
I'm sorry but provided you are carrying a spare mask I see absolutely no point to the mask of swim, fair enough remove your mask then obtain your spare from your pocket & don & clear but a 25m swim ???? I wonder at times if it is even part of the course structure laid down by an agency or if the instructors just add it in themselves ?


Many reasons for the 25 metre swim have already been stated Colin but it's not just the Instructors being twats it's standards, even if the Agencies don't have it the manufacturer does.

See OW2
http://www.revo-rebreathers.com/uploads/rEvo_air_diluent_course_procedures__minimum_requir ements_270411_EN.pdf

I was asked "why" by a Student on a user course some years ago and by some chance I had just seen posted a thread by a guy in Australia who had lost his mask. Whenever anyone questions why nowadays I refer them to this thread. I also learned by reading this that it's a good idea to know how much line is let off by a revolution of your reel.

Salt water stings your eyes after a while. - Rebreather World (http://www.rebreatherworld.com/rebreather-accidents-incidents/5747-salt-water-stings-your-eyes-after.html)

Before anyone says that it's not good form to cross post to other forums, that's bollocks, read and learn.

gobfish1
12-12-2013, 05:05 PM
mask off swim i like , should be done on all diving courses ,

each year i read of new divers getting killed , over a simple thing like losing a mask even just having a leaking mask ,

Feeking Dive Instructors doing a runner cos of a leaking or lost mask ,

mask off swim , long may it live ,

i remember having lots of fun with my Instructor , putting shit in my mask hiding his regs letting the line run out as i swan along it , lol twat , but hay it was fun

Simon TW
12-12-2013, 05:14 PM
mask off swim i like , should be done on all diving courses ,

each year i read of new divers getting killed , over a simple thing like losing a mask even just having a leaking mask ,

Feeking Dive Instructors doing a runner cos of a leaking or lost mask ,

mask off swim , long may it live ,

i remember having lots of fun with my Instructor , putting shit in my mask hiding his regs letting the line run out as i swan along it , lol twat , but hay it was fun

You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to gobfish1 again.

I owe you one mate.

wamchop
12-12-2013, 08:53 PM
Any tips on trying to improve oro nasal separation? I have real problems with feeling like I have to breathe out thru my nose once I've taken my mask off?

GLOC
12-12-2013, 09:16 PM
Pretend you are breathing through a straw.

Regards

dwhitlow
13-12-2013, 01:50 PM
I think I spent about 25 continuous minutes mask off on a training dive earlier in the year in Malta. A mask is not something you need even in salt water as the stinging ceases and if you have sufficient oro-nasal separation to be on CCR then you have enough to stay that way all day. Doing it to a newly minted CCR diver who has not developed the skill is an interesting check but it can turn out nasty if they have not got the skill yet as my wife found out.

Cruel it may seem but it does demonstrate how vulnerable you are without a mask and how critical such a seemingly trivial piece of kit actually is.

I doubt any who have done a mask off swim will dive without a backup mask, and they will make sure it fits, is correctly adjusted, does not leak and is just as good as their primary mask.

This is especially true if the swim was after bailing out and being told you are OOG whilst your buddy is at the end of a white line lying on white sand and at one point you lost contact with the line... :sweat::sweat: and wasted quite a bit of time finding him. Thankfully, when he turned round, he was at least able to simply hand over a stage reg :clap::clap::clap: so we could swim back down the line and swap roles :clap::clap::clap:



Edit, I have a lovely Shearwater HUD that I can monitor PPO2 with mask off as I found. This is the one thing that a NERd would cause me to lose and why I would not swap to one.
:mm: but you can't monitor TTS or depth :sweat: and it makes untying lines a bit of a challenge :clap: and means you have to rely on your buddy which can be a problem if your buddy is without mask :D:D:D

wamchop
13-12-2013, 07:58 PM
Pretend you are breathing through a straw.

Regards

Will have to give that a try, thanks
Can't play out this weekend - on call :(

PeterL
13-12-2013, 08:19 PM
it makes untying lines a bit of a challenge :clap: and means you have to rely on your buddy which can be a problem if your buddy is without mask :D:D:D

Or if your buddy can tangle a wreck reel within 2 seconds of handing it back to him after spending 5 minutes untangling his prior effort without your mask on you might be better off drowning him and hiding the body........ :clap:

Masks are for pussies......