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Thread: Solo in OHE

  1. #1
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    Solo in OHE

    As mentioned in earlier/other posts 90% or more of diving is solo, I would prefer not to get into the endless debate on this topic if possible, but have been considering some of the implications of this in terms of the OHE.

    Initially as I learn and develop my principal tool will be OC mainly backmount but will be adding sidemount over the winter probably.

    From what i have read and researched so far it appears that if using backmount manifolded doubles, given the inherent risk of catastrophic gas loss in the event of damage to the structure of the manifold, it is considered sensible to carry a "buddy" bottle which doesn't feature in the gas plan and is sized for extraction from the furthest point of penetration plus a safety margin, so pretty much analogous to CCR bailout.

    If using sidemount OC the thinking appears to be that a catastrophic failure should only impact one cylinder, provided you are adhering to gas management (thirds/quarters/sixths), you should still be capable of self-sufficiency.

    Happy to learn more about the above 2 ideas, especially if I have missed something, but it also occurs that the old style back mounted independents are also an option, yes it adds another SPG but removes the risk point of the isolator, connection tube and o-rings etc., but if the valves are handed, each cyl can be shut down independently and therefore provides the same redundancy as sidemount but in a package that is easier to pack around.

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    When BM solo I’ve used a 7l back-up in the past, tbh even in a team it would give add’l peace of mind.

    SM depends on the location. I visited one in eastern France during the Easter hol and had a 7l to bring for back-up, as what I’d read about the site was quite intimidating. I couldn’t fit in with it though so ended up just using my 12s, though I opted to turn at 1/4s. Doing the same trip now I’d be comfortable with 1/3s.

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    #keepittea ebt's Avatar
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    Each to their own. Youre informing yourself of risks and making a judgement, im good with that.

    I plan conservatively, then add in an extra bottle... And leave details with someone i trust. That last bit is probably the best thing to do

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    Zak's alive it's a miracle!

    Quote Originally Posted by ebt View Post
    Each to their own. Youre informing yourself of risks and making a judgement, im good with that.

    I plan conservatively, then add in an extra bottle... And leave details with someone i trust. That last bit is probably the best thing to do
    The dog's really bad at swimming tho and missus is worse

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribal Chestnut View Post
    When BM solo I’ve used a 7l back-up in the past, tbh even in a team it would give add’l peace of mind.

    SM depends on the location. I visited one in eastern France during the Easter hol and had a 7l to bring for back-up, as what I’d read about the site was quite intimidating. I couldn’t fit in with it though so ended up just using my 12s, though I opted to turn at 1/4s. Doing the same trip now I’d be comfortable with 1/3s.
    This raises a related and interesting (well to me anyway) point that whilst 3rds in a team of 2 is cutting margins fine , in certain instances it could be applicable for a solo diver from what I can see.

    E.g. precariously dived, no restrictions, ltd silt, good lines, configuration self sufficient etc.

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    Formerly sbc23cam Steve Clark's Avatar
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    Depends on your approach to diving I suppose.

    If you are diving in a small cave in the UK, you are better off solo with side-mount independent cylinders. The whole setup is ideal for this and gas planned accordingly.

    If you are diving in a big, clear cave then a team is definitely an advantage. There are people who dive these caves with a solo mindset, but IMHO they are missing a trick with it. It's not just about the gas, it's about a second set of hands & brain. Lots of things go wrong in a cave, not just losing X bars out of a tank. I've done something like 100-200 cave dives and consider myself careful/conservative about how I dive, but not particularly experienced in the scheme of things. The following things have gone wrong on dives I've been involved with, either my dive or supporting. A buddy was/would be a help in a lot of these and some would be a nightmare without a buddy.

    Lost a fin (close to the entrance)
    Foot worked it's way out of drysuit boot. Buddy needed to re-seat the boot & fin. (500ft into peacock in a large open space with a shitty muddy floor).
    Cookie placed on the wrong side of a jump. (Double-jump in a parallel passage, bit of narc)
    Pulled the mainline off a roof rock projection and trapped it between a lot of stages on a support dive. Big, dirty room.
    Snapped the right post knob off on the roof and sliced hand on the remains of the spindle.
    Snapped the left post knob off
    Total flood of a gavin scooter
    Primary light failure (several)
    Attempt to start a dive with no backup lights
    Started a dive without calculating gas, aborted
    Followed a diver from the wrong team whilst trying to video for the first time.
    Stone stuck in an oxygen 2nd stage. Unable to breath. Had a spare stage.
    Missed a 9m stop on a long nitrox dive. Bent/ill.
    Freeflowing regulator on a 50% deco stage. Swapped reg underwater.
    Broken mask strap.
    Generated our own total silt-out. Got to a T, genuinely surprised about the cookie direction. There were two, which helped.
    Swam past a T on the way in.
    Swam past a T on the way out.
    Total flood of a rebreather on the other side of a 75m deep, 1.6km sump. OC exit on stages.

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    Trust me Steve it's not out of choice, and I have no issue diving with others but have to accept that if I want to dive at the moment it tends to end up being solo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Trust me Steve it's not out of choice, and I have no issue diving with others but have to accept that if I want to dive at the moment it tends to end up being solo.
    That's pretty much how it worked out for me. I did some cave courses then wanted to go diving in France. Found a buddy through one of the old mailing lists and we dived together for a few years.

    Then I started spending time in Mexico and dived a couple of different cenotes dozens of times. Going really slowly, gently, learning the map and building up confidence in diving alone. Now I choose to dive alone - sometimes sharing the cave with friends, but not typicaly 'team' diving.

    In the commercial marketplace there are lots of continuing development courses, and I think they are designed to fill the gap where someone is freshly trained but not yet confident to go do their own diving.

    Or if you were go hang out at one of cave diving hotspots (Mexico, Florida) you could meet some like-minded buddies.

    On the gas config:
    Backmount: I carry a buddy bottle which I might breath off on the way out.
    Sidemount: Rarely to 1/3s in low flow cave. 1/4s if it is tight.
    Last edited by t0by; 09-05-2019 at 07:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonG View Post
    Trust me Steve it's not out of choice, and I have no issue diving with others but have to accept that if I want to dive at the moment it tends to end up being solo.
    Oh go on...I'll dive with you, but only if you carry my cylinders out of HB again

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    Quote Originally Posted by MinimalMayhem View Post
    but only if you carry my cylinders out of HB again
    Thought that was the job of the young bearded fellow?


 
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