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, 8°C 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.