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  1. #1
    TDF Member Alex Denny's Avatar
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    Bad day at the office...

    Okay - so we're all rusty after lockdown, but I had been to a shallow lake, and a couple of deep qarries to dust off my skills before jumping in the sea.

    Monday, two sea dives, 32m followed by 12m, Tuesday off, diving again today.

    32m wooden wreck, all broken up but pretty and interesting for history buffs. Aiming to dive high slack. My buddy and I were first in the water and the current was still running. We were asked to check the shot was securely in and send up a float to signal the skipper that the other divers could follow us in.

    I descended the line with my buddy - still flowing a bit at depth, but the shot was in so I reached for the float and couldn't find it. (It was probably by my head floating up, but I kept checking for it under my stage like an idiot).

    My buddy was slightly ahead of me, but facing away so I signalled with my torch but didn't get an immediate response - so I started finning after them.

    At this point, I snagged my stage on some old rope / ghost fishing gear that was caught around the wreckage and came to an abrupt halt. I wriggled around a bit more and managed to get myself loose, but in the process dislodged my mask to a full flood.

    I tried to clear it, but out of practice for a while, in a current, with thick dry gloves, 8C water and probably a hint of narcosis, every time I cleared it my hood was still caught under the mask seal and it would fill up again.

    As I was still near the shot line, I took that in hand and tried to readjust my mask and, well, knocked it clean off. Every breath felt wet and I have to admit I probably had eyes like dish plates.

    Anyway, as I was at the shot and stressed, I decided I would be safer at the surface than at the bottom and managed a 32m mask off blind ascent using the shot for 'control'. Looking at my computer the ascent was pretty steady, but I eventually lost the battle with buoyancy at about 6m so was pretty rapid from there. Thankfully unbent, and no gas embolism so no harm done. My computer wasn't even that upset with me - though I was pretty upset with myself!

    Moral of the story is that 32m in a quarry ain't the same as 32m in the sea. I definitely need to do more full cold water mask off and replacement practice in dark conditions and not on a platform, and be super familiar with all of my kit!

    Also, decision making could definitely have been better, and maybe a bit of helium doesn't hurt, even in less than 40m depth. You don't know you need it until you need it I guess.

  2. #2
    Not short, just concentrated awesome ;) smileydiver's Avatar
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    Glad you are OK and thanks for sharing. I made myself do a mask remove and replace in 6 degrees in Vobster a few weeks ago and even doing it deliberately it was quite a shock when the water hit. Sounds like you managed things pretty well all considered, don't beat yourself up too much!
    The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever - Jacques Cousteau

  3. #3
    Established TDF Member Nickpicks's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing.
    Sounds like you managed not to panic too much, and sucessfully made it back to the surface. That's a good outcome.

    I had to do a mask off & breathe last week in 8 degrees (as part of teaching a lesson). It struck me that I probably don't practice that enough, especially in the sea.
    The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.

  4. #4
    TDF Member Alex Denny's Avatar
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    I will be doing a lot of mask off swims over the next few weeks I think...

  5. #5
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    Goes to show that practise is still needed even for experienced divers especially after a long time out of the water.

    Having been out of the water for over a year I know I will be very rusty skills wise so I for one will be going for a few pool sessions and some easy dives (with practise drills for mask clears, lost reg etc) before trying anything more serious. As Smiley and Nick have both said there is a difference doing these things in cold water with thick gloves etc.

  6. #6
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    Glad you are ok, I always give a quiet thanks for those dives as I learn a lot more than on a squeaky clean one! Drills this weekend for me as well now, nice reminder

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neilwood View Post
    Goes to show that practise is still needed even for experienced divers especially after a long time out of the water.

    Having been out of the water for over a year I know I will be very rusty skills wise so I for one will be going for a few pool sessions and some easy dives (with practise drills for mask clears, lost reg etc) before trying anything more serious. As Smiley and Nick have both said there is a difference doing these things in cold water with thick gloves etc.
    I should have said - you made the best decision when you decided that being on the surface was the best place to be. Better to be on the surface wishing you were down there that down there wishing for the surface.

    I am a firm believer in anyone being able to call any dive at any point for any reason. We dive for fun so if it isn't fun then call it there and then.

  8. #8
    TDF Member sean0801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neilwood View Post
    I should have said - you made the best decision when you decided that being on the surface was the best place to be. Better to be on the surface wishing you were down there that down there wishing for the surface.

    I am a firm believer in anyone being able to call any dive at any point for any reason. We dive for fun so if it isn't fun then call it there and then.
    Ditto what he said, if you're not happy for whatever reason call the dive, and good on you for being honest about it, glad you're safe and well
    Not the dodgy one, the nice one

  9. #9
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    Have been back to Capers a couple of times now, looking to get everything dialled back in. Took our stage cylinders on Saturday, to do some gas switching practice... with thick Santi liners inside the heavy textured gloves I just could not re-stow the reg hose. I stayed cool but after a while I unclipped the bottle, laid it on a platform and eventually sorted it out using both hands. It's good to learn these things in a nice safe environment :-) Now considering how to make those damn rubber bands easier to manipulate. Any suggestions?

  10. #10
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    Glad you’re ok

    I think that more people should go diving in the sea instead of wasting time in quarries - I do know it’s less predictable than a puddles, but they really are shite at getting you ready for real diving and do give a false sense of security while at the same time building the sea up to be something that should be prepared for...

    Some shallow sea dives are the order of the day


 
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