Put this post in general dive chit chat but thought it might fit in here as well but feel free to remove if not !!!
So, a bit of background. I was at an inland Dive Site doing a deep Spec with one student and another instructor as my HSE/Safety diver. I was using a Single 12 with a pony, the student a single 12 and my fellow instructor a single 12 with a pony.
We did all the usual PADI Buddy checks before entering and started the dive. At 26 mtrs approx my regs started a relatively gentle free flow, I thought I would see if it would sort itself for a second or two but became apparent that it wasn't going to.......got worse.......... I got to student first as he was closest and I was was needing to get something sorted relatively quickly (with hindsight I should prob have popped straight onto my pony and gone to my safety diver for his alt, hindsight huh !!) , our student was absolutely on the ball and had his octopus ready as he had spotted what was happening. Took octopus and the first breath I took was very wet but I assumed it was due to a bad clearance on my part, second breath, more water third and fourth getting much worse.......have to admit that I did not feel all that comfy at this point but knew that A: my fellow instructor was just there and B: I had my pony so I could happily have gone onto that. My colleague was indeed there very quickly and I swapped onto his alternate and made a controlled ascent and all was well.
This turned out well in my mind because.....
A: We had planned a deep dive and had redundant air sources.
B: There was no panic, due to the fact that I am relatively experienced and knew what to do and I had absolute confidence in both my buddies.
C: We were diving with three of us in a group so when the first Alternative went tits up we had another to fall back to.
My question is the same question I asked the forum a few years ago.......is there an argument to do a check on your alternate air source once you are UNDER the water, or as WOZ suggested back then that you should do a really hard "suck Test" before turning on yr air to check for leaks/ bad seals etc. This is the second time I have gone to someones alternate (the first one was a training exercise so no great shakes) and found myself breathing water......both Alternates breathed perfectly well at the surface during the buddy checks but not when they were really needed. The last thing you need is to be in a spiralling situation and going and getting someones alternate only to find it doesn't work, that could be the beginning of a really nasty incident.
So do you think this should become a part of most recreational divers buddy check.....apart from WOZ telling me this method I have not heard anyone else mention it and have certainly not seen anyone actually do it !!!
I have gone through in my head what COULD have happened had it been two relatively inexperienced divers neither with any redundancy (which you see on a regular basis) .
The only option they would have had open to them as far as I can see would be to make as controlled an ascent as they could, with one diver breathing off a free flowing reg from nearly 30 mtrs.....not a particularly nice or simple option for anyone, let alone relatively new divers and if you throw in trying to communicate with all the bubbles and panic it really isn't a pleasant thought.
So I shall be making sure that if I am diving ponyless I shall be trying big fat "Suck Test" topside before we go in or taking a few breaths from my buddy once at about 5 mtrs to make sure all is in order in future.
I am sure that this must have happened many times before and I would be fascinated to hear your thoughts !!!