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  1. #1
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    Reel-y rope-y...

    Diving at St Abbs this weekend in perfect weather conditions and a practically flat sea.

    Diving at Black Carr for the first dive, so nothing too strenuous, towards the end of the dive at about 15 metres, as per the norm, I set about putting my dsmb up. For the past few weeks I’ve been using a spool rather than a reel, which is easier to stow away in my right hand side bcd pocket, and with no moving parts has nowt to go wrong. Haven’t had a problem with it until today...

    Firstly, I simply couldn’t reach round to unzip the pocket, much as I tried, don’t know why, I just couldn’t. Also, my hands were cold, which undoubtedly didn’t help. This led to me breathing a lot heavier than normal, which led to my computer chirping furiously at me for overbreathing, which led to even heavier breathing, which led to my air dropping below 50 bar, which caused the computer to go into meltdown, which caused me to get annoyed with myself, and so on. Finally got the spool and smb out, and then proceeded to fanny about trying to fill it firstly with my main reg, which simply caused lots of bubbles in my face, and then with my front-slung pony reg.

    By the time I got sorted, my main air was way down, my computer was screaming “FFS MARTYN!!!” in computer-ish, the spool was on the deck, and there was line everywhere. I gave the pony reg a good squirt of air into the smb, then switched to it from my main reg. By the time I started to head up, the aforementioned loose line had drifted hither and thither and proceeded to wrap itself around my pony’s first stage, my torch, which I hadn’t clipped off prior to this, and my fins, and the spool was somewhere in the depths below me...

    Hit the surface after ascending faster than I would have liked after a safety stop, but not unsafely so, and fully inflated both my bcd and my suit. By the time the dive boat got to me, the line was everywhere and the spool was still out of sight. I attempted to wind the line around my hand while waiting to be picked up, but gave in. My main worry at that point was the line getting wrapped round the boat, but I was more than prepared to cut it and accept the loss. Got on the dive lift and somehow passed the smb and line to the skipper, who proceeded to fetch the spool up from the depths and wind the line back on it. I had to be undone from the mess by 2 angels on the boat, and tbh, it was a real mess!! I’d also cut my forehead, how or on what I have no idea. Only a small cut, but blood all over didn’t help matters along.

    Other than making a complete and utter twat of myself, I don’t believe I was in any mortal danger at any time. My pony was fully charged, I could have omitted the safety stop, and I had full access to all my buttons and valves. However, what did I learn? Firstly, since falling off the wagon last year, quite literally and not an alcoholic euphemism, my right arm isn’t as mobile as it used to be, so attempting to contort myself doesn’t work. Secondly, cold hands don’t help. Thirdly, the dsmb and crack bottle that I bought a few weeks back, which I subsequently clipped to my left side bcd ring and deployed perfectly on the second dive, will now be part of my normal kit and used on every boat dive that requires it. No idea why I didn’t take it with me on the first dive, I even bought a decanting whip at the same time to recharge it from my main cylinder...I simply cannot reach far enough around my r/h side, so left hip it is from now on.

    I fully appreciate that it could have ended badly, and I’ve berated myself quite vehemently for this. Thankfully, it didn’t, lessons have been learned, and changes to my practices have been made.
    Last edited by Strange One.; 12-05-2018 at 09:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Established TDF Member mark weaver's Avatar
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    Wow what an adventure, glad it all worked out. I always use a co2 SMB for UK diving, less faff than manually inflating.

  3. #3
    Last of the Mohicans gobfish1's Avatar
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    Task Fixation

    you prob didnt even need to put a dsmb up, yet you let it interfere with your safety / low air supply, and stress you .


    learn from it , move on ,


    feek knows how divers went on be4 dsmb .lol
    Last edited by gobfish1; 12-05-2018 at 10:29 PM.
    None diver as of 2018.

  4. #4
    Could start a fight in a convent. Mikael's Avatar
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    In no particular order:

    • I have never been a fan of using BCD pockets. Their relatively high up position in combination with wearing a drysuit make them harder to gain access to. They are often zipped which can makes retrieving or putting items back in more difficult. When your BCD is inflated BCD pockets are usually harder to access.
    • Have you considered putting the key items in drysuit leg pockets?
    • If possible cargo style velcro pockets give easier access then zipped pockets
    • Making life easier for yourself right at the start would likely have prevented much of the snowball of stress you got yourself into
    • Well done for working through the situation none the less
    • Moving the item to left side and use of the crack bottle both sound like good moves
    • Have you considered CO2 DSMBs?
    • Have you considered orally inflated / drysuit feed DSMBs?
    • If going with the latter make sure you get a good one and that your drysuit hose will not get stuck on it!
    • When the computer starts beeping or you start berating yourself - STOP
    • Try to avoid adding an extra stress if possible


    Good luck. Hope the right arm recovers with time.
    Why is it that with everything in life I always find a more difficult way of doing it (and not intentionally)

  5. #5
    Established TDF Member mark weaver's Avatar
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    Good point about drysuit pockets.

  6. #6
    Established TDF Member Energy58's Avatar
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    Buy a diving handbag that clips on your BCD and around your thigh for your DSMB/reel: Bowstone do some humongous ones, I probably have a few somewhere. Reserve your BCD pockets for treasure...

    Seriously though, spools and thick gloves are not a good mix if you are not 100% on the ball. Even if they are made of unobtanium and come in pretty colours

    Maybe get some proper physio on the shoulder too - I have a seriously ****ed shoulder however physio keeps it in reasonable working order (do the exercises properly) but it takes time and commitment: I am now able to swim 50m freestyle without too much pain (which is about 45m more than a year ago!)

  7. #7
    Nicotine, valium, vicodin... notdeadyet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobfish1 View Post
    Task Fixation

    you prob didnt even need to put a dsmb up, yet you let it interfere with your safety / low air supply, and stress you .


    learn from it , move on ,


    feek knows how divers went on be4 dsmb .lol
    I'd agree. I wouldn't bother with an smb from 15m. I'd rather have air to breath than an ascent line. And inflation at the surface. I have no issue with ponies but they do feck all for you if you've nothing to inflate your bcd or suit with.

    I'd be less quick to switch to a crack bottle, too. People do it because ordinary smb's are a faff but that's the wrong attitude. Make the swap when putting up an smb normally is no issue, not as a compensation. The day will come when you forget to fill it. Happens regular. If you want an easier smb then oral inflates are miles easier than dicking around with 2nd stages.

    If you want leg pockets then glue them on the suit. Those strap on pockets are shit, they flop all over the place.

    If you have mobility problems then maybe look at a simpler webbing harness. Gives you a better range of movement and more scope for clipping stuff where you can reach it. Stab jackets are shit for storing kit. Bit of air in it and something in your pocket might as well be up your arse.

  8. #8
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    One way I store my AP DSMB is stuffed inbetween harness/bcd and suit I use a reel that is clipped to a D ring to the lower edge or hip point so if the DSMB falls out it can just be stuffed back in again, though that only happens rarely.

  9. #9
    Old but keen Mark Chase's Avatar
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    1: Dry suit pockets sound great but they need some thaught.

    When we did our cave course (two 20year+ vets & a high level BSAC instructor) we started using stuff in pockets in anger for the first time rather than just stuffing it in there per dive and taking it out post dive.

    1st you have to develop a system of what goes left what goes right and then decide a stacking system within the pocket that is memorable, practical and logical

    For example. I keep my back up C02 SMB in my right leg pocket with my spare mask. I keep my emergency yellow C02 SMB & spool in my left pocket with my goody bag. That way if I cant reach my back up SMB on the right for some daft reason, I can probably get the one on the left


    MOST importantly have a large loop of bungee attached to your pocket and clip EVERYTHING to it. SO when you want something you pull everything out of the pocket stretch up the bungee, unclip it then either ignore the rest or stuff it back in your pocket



    2nd thing is:

    Any issue end of dive (with obvious exception of entanglement) should NEVER prevent your ascent

    Never stay deep and try and sort it. At least start to ascend.

    SMBs at there to signal the boat where you are and make the ascent easier. They are not there to make the ascent possable. You should be able to do that already without a SMB


    As you rightly have concluded a pre assembled reel and crack bottle SMB is the most reliable way to deploy

    OK so you deploy, get a jam and have to let the reel go?

    Now you should start to ascend whilst getting your pre assembled back up SMB and spool out of your pocket.

    But your ascending so how to deploy?

    Hence the fire and forget C02 back up blob

    Plenty of Gurus on here who could free ascend whilst tying a half hitch knot to assemble their SMB and fire it off with the escaping gas of their regs or a dry suit hose, but that's takes a shed load of practice and will never be the low risk option

    1000s of BCDs out there. Some have pockets you can reach, some don't

    My2p, if its not very easy? don't rely on it.


 

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