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Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


A classic goon stereotype is that we're afraid of the ocean. That's crap. The ocean rules. This thread is for questions and discussions about diving, even for those of us that spend a lot of the year having to settle for lake/quarry diving. Ideally we want to convince people to take up the sport. SCUBA means Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus but the important part is that it lets you go underwater and see tons of cool poo poo. We are lucky enough to have a bunch of great underwater photographers around so almost all of these photos are taken by goons:





















I could go on forever.

Is diving safe?: Diving within recreational limits is very safe as long as you are in semi decent shape. You have redundant equipment and hopefully someone else with you. Scuba gear is very reliable. Think of it this way: if a company made a bad product, they would be sued out of existence very quickly. Diving a shallow reef and seeing all the great coral and fish is probably safer than hiking.

Will a shark bite me?: It's technically possible but I've never met a diver that has been bitten by a shark. The odds of it happening are close to being struck by lighting. Shark attacks typically happen when the shark is confused. The classic example is that a surfer paddling on his board looks like a seal from below. Shark attacks at beaches can often be chalked up to the low visibility that the sand creates. Sharks are sensitive to electromagnetic fields and divers come across as very out of place with all of the metal we have on us. this might make a shark curious, but not in an aggressive way. Most divers actually WANT sharks to come close to us because they're awesome.

Slicerdicer gets personal with a Hammerhead

There are many certification agencies. In my experience the most common is PADI, followed by NAUI and SSI. Most people agree that the quality of your training depends more on your instructor than the agency, so take that into account if you have a choice in your area.

How to get Certified for open water (Courtesy of Crunkjuice)



Getting certified to dive is easy and a lot of fun. An open water certification (the first certification)is a lifetime certification and never has to be renewed. Depending on your location, this will cost anywhere from 200-500 dollars. The course typically takes up two full weekends plus some home bookwork. The class will be small, anywhere from 2-8 students typically with one instructor, and usually a divemaster to assist with the class.

To start, you need to visit your local dive shop. A simple google search of "scuba + your town" should tell you what the dive shops in your town are. If you are lucky enough to have options, go visit each one and ask a lot of questions. Dive shops love talking to prospective divers, and getting to know the shop/staff will help you make your decision of where to get certified. Some dive shops certify through different agencies, and they are honestly all pretty similar. PADI/NAUI/SSI are the big three, and carry the same weight and recognition around the world. I chose PADI because of the staff and shop, not because it meant anything different in terms of recreational diving.

Once you sign up for a class, you'll be given a textbook. You're homework is to read this through, and fill out the chapter summaries before you classroom session with your instructor. This book teaches you about the gear, the science behind diving, how to plan a dive, safety etc. Its a very well written and easy to read book, so this should only takea few hours of your time.

Once that is out of the way you are ready for weekend number 1, pool sessions and classroom work. You will spend half of the day in the classroom (morning), break for lunch and then spend the afternoon in the pool. The classroom portion is where the instructor goes over the chapter summaries, and teaches you verbally about scuba diving. This is where you get to ask all of your questions and is pretty straight forward. At the end of the second day, you will take a short exam over what you learned. You have to pass this in order to proceed in your certification.

The pool session is fun. This is where you get to gear up, and scuba dive in a pool. Before that, you will have to pass a short swimming test. For PADI this is, tread water for 10 minutes without touching the sides of the pool, and an untimed 200 yard swim. This isn't to weed out anyone, but ensures that you are in shape enough to go out into a lake/river/ocean and be safe. After the swimming, you learn how to scuba dive. There are about 20 skills you learn from how to clear a flooded mask, to breathing off of somebody elses gear. These skills are necessary to dive safely, and you will be tested on them in your certification dives.

Your next weekend is out in a lake/ocean, doing your certification dives. You learn the skills in the pool (confined water), and the 4 dives you will make this weekend are in the open water. These dives are simple, where you will settle on the bottom and perform the skills one by one for the instructor. These dives are broken up usually two a day,and only take about 4 hours a day to complete. After the skills, you will be led around on a guided tour via the divemaster/instructor, and you will get a taste of what real scuba diving is, not just sitting around performing skills. After a few weeks your certification card will come in the mail, and you will be a lifetime certified scuba diver!

For those of you with children, it is possible for them to get certified as well. The minimum age to be a scuba diver is 10 years old, but until they are 15, they will have certain restrictions on them. The restrictions are maximum depth and that they will have to have a dive professional (divemaster or instructor) with them at all times. I don't know the specifics of junior divers, but your local dive shop will have the answers.

Technical Diving





Do you hate having money? Tech diving is for you! In all honesty, the best fish life can be found in shallow open water. Goons may be attracted to tech diving because of all the science and equipment behind it but you should have a lot of experience before going this route.

The most common training agencies are TDI and IANTD. PADI has also recently launched a tech curriculum. I'd also give a shutout to GUE, because I think their "fundamentals" course is the best thing to do before you go deeper into training with any agency. Technical class sizes are often one on one and rarely more than 3.

Tech diving is a nebulous term so I'll give you my definition. Tech diving is:
*Intentionally going beyond the decompression limits set by recreational diving. In other words, you are in situations where you can not immediately surface without developing decompression sickness.
*Using non air breathing gasses that contain more than 40% oxygen.
*Using helium (trimix, heliox)
*Switching gasses during a dive, often multiple times.
*Diving into an overhead environment well beyond the "light zone". This means going far enough into a wreck or cave that it is completely dark without your light.
*Going deeper than 130 feet. This is a soft limit but you should have some advanced training before doing this.

Free Diving (help from IM FROM THE FUTURE)


Freediving is diving without an external air source. instead relying on holding your breath (a.k.a. Apnea) to dive. There are three 3 general types of freediving and they are:

Snorkeling: Swimming around a shallow area with the use of a floatation device. The snorkel allows one to keep their face underwater while still breathing. Can be practiced by anyone including children with no training.

Recreational freediving: Diving beneath the water on a breath hold. Usually at depths above 100ft. This includes freedive photography, freedive spearfishing, and just freediving for the hell of it. Training and understanding of the risks, safety procedures, and best practices is important. Freedivers often use specialized fins and wear a weight belt to help them offset the positive buoyancy of their wet-suit and make them more neutrally buoyant.

Competitive freediving: Diving on a breath hold, either for time, depth, or distance. Current records are around 11.5 minute breathhold. And 700 feet deep (using sleds to assist)

Free divers often spearfish or hunt for lobster and other sea life. Here's a sweet video of some free diving instructors messing around on a wreck off of Key West.

Spear Fishing


IM FROM THE FUTURE looks for dinner.
Everyone's seen a spear gun on TV or in a movie. But people do in fact use them for things other than impaling humans or rabid sharks. The spear itself is attached to the gun with a line. That way you can actually capture the fish you just speared. Spear fishers will sometimes attach a buoy on the surface to the line in order to help bring larger fish up. Scuba divers and free divers both spearfish. Most spear fisherman eat the fish that they catch.

Helpful links

Scubaboard is a large forum that covers all types of diving. If us idiots can't answer your question, there's a good chance that doing a search there will bring up a whole thread(s) about it.

The deco stop is a tech diving forum. It's full of tech divers, who can be a bit smug at times. Still, I know at least a dozen posters there IRL and they do know their poo poo.

Deeperblue: The best purely free diving forum.

Spearfishing planet an idiot free spearfishing forum.

wetpixel: One of, if not, the best underwater photography and videography online forum.

Divers Alert Network (DAN): If you are a frequent diver this is the place to go for diving insurance. They will cover the transportation and medical costs of diving accidents. They even insure lost or stolen gear! It's also cheap. I've got the deluxe plan that will cover any dumb poo poo I end up getting myself into and it only costs $75 a year.

We have a good cadre of divers here. We'll take on any question. No question is too dumb. Diving is great and we want to convince people that they should give it a try.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 14:40 on Feb 15, 2013

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Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Did some cleaning up of the OP.

As far as location: I go to Key Largo 3-4 times a year, sometimes spending over a month. That's where I do most of my diving. I'll be down there next around March 12th. I've got a boat in Key Largo and would also be up for some diving within a couple hours drive from there.

I mainly do tech diving, especially wrecks, but am up for anything that has the word "diving" in it.

edit: If people want to post their location / type of diving I'll come back through this thread in a week or so and edit a goon diver list into the OP. It would look something like:
USERNAME (Location): Likes to do this type of diving, enjoys long walks on the beach.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 00:08 on Feb 20, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


ZoCrowes posted:

As far as location goes I am based out of Louisville,KY and Chicago,IL. I am a NAUI, SSI and TDI Instructor. I am the Course Director and training manager for my shop. As I said before I mainly do wreck, archaeological, exhibit and public safety diving when I am not teaching. I usually lead 3 or 4 trips a year out of country and do weekends in FL throughout the year.
I've actually had some regs serviced by your shop a few years ago and I bet you've trained some of my ex-coworkers (I used to work at the Louisville Zoo but left before glacier run opened). My landlocked location is Lexington, KY. Quarry diving bitches.

Since you say you're a TDI instructor and mention Chicago is it safe to assume that you do some great lakes wreck diving? I've been wanting to go up there for a while but don't have the all-important dry suit.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 00:04 on Feb 20, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Charun posted:

Here's a good tip - attach everything to yourself with a bungee cable or something
Elaborating on this, with the "standard" SCUBA setup, always try and keep your instrument gauge and octopus (backup regulator) clipped onto you. Another thing that I used to do is cradle them in my hands near my waist. This way you wont be dragging stuff around on the reef or entangling yourself. another benefit is that you know where they are when you need them. A instrument console or octopus can float around behind you in some awkward to find areas.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


I'd add that it's best to take it slow before going beyond the wetsuit purchase. Make sure diving is something you want to do as a fairly consistent hobby. The shops will push gear sales on you pretty early on because that's where they make most of their money. If you're only going to be diving every five years or something just rent.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


standardtoaster posted:

Does anyone dive anywhere other than awesome places, like brown lakes in the middle of Texas?
Let me refer you to one crunkj... yeah he already got to you. I do quarry diving for classes and sometimes practice. The visibility sucks but at least they throw poo poo in the water like old buses, boats, and planes to keep you entertained. I actually do enjoy quarry trips. You're diving and hanging out with a bunch of other divers talking about diving and planning trips... so it's almost like being on a boat in the Maldives except not at all.

Tomberforce posted:

On a night dive last night, an octopus managed to steal and swim off with my buddy's torch, which was on. Funniest thing I've ever seen diving!
That is loving awesome. Reminds me of a training dive where we were launching surface marker buoys. After my buddy launched a 90 dollar lift bag with a 120 dollar reel, he attached the reel to a "rock". Turns out that rock was a live conch, which got up and made a run for it up current, reel and all. That was a fun chase.

Also Calypso, I've seen grouper like that before (think his local name was barry) and they will "kiss" you if you take your reg out of your mouth. I tried it back in my experimental phase. Groupers are lovely kissers.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


SlicerDicer posted:

It would astonish you what I have seen pass as rental gear and I would kill myself before using some as it would likely kill me. I wouldn't even trust their viz on tanks.
You're right that there are places out there that rent lovely gear, but unless it's truly terrible I still think it's ok. If you follow the dive accidents forums/reports, you rarely see something on the recreational side that can be chalked up to equipment failure. Open circuit dive gear is really robust, even the lower grade stuff. EDIT: may not apply in the Dominican republic or some equally lovely shithole.

As far as the O2 cleaning... I do it, especially for my 100% bottle, but I think the need for it beyond that is overblown. O2 cleaning is not "bad", but it is a bit misleading because the moment you take your tanks out of the shop and use them they are technically no longer O2 cleaned. This is a decent write up of what I'm talking about.
http://www.envirodive.com/chronicles_the_oxygen_clean_myth.html

MA-Horus posted:

Just got my certification card in the mail. Terrible picture, but that doesn't matter.

Do people keep a log-book and their cards? It seems like just one more thing to take on a vacation.
I mostly dive off of my own boat or with shops that know me, but when I'm not I just carry whatever card lets me do the most poo poo. It's a good idea to keep your card with you, but dive shops with internet connections can look you up if you don't have it. I know for at least PADI, they can call to confirm your status as well.

As far as log books go, you get to a certain point where it does not matter if your goal is to just dive on vacation every once in a while. I'd recommend keeping a log book though because sometimes people want to see it, but also because it's cool to go back and look at dives you did a while ago. I talked about this near the end of the last thread, but I first got certified in 1997 (still have that bitchin card), but I only have my first 50 or so dives logged. Then there is a giant gap of 1,000+ dives. I started using wetnotes when I got into tech diving. They are a little notebook that you can carry with you and even write in while underwater. Even with a decompression computer, SOP is to have a backup plan in your wetnotes. After the dive I add comments to it about the dive. It's fun to go back and look at old dives, and I wish that I had logged all of them. So carry your card for practical reasons, but log dives for sentimental ones.

Crunkjuice posted:

Today is a super lovely day.
drat you can't catch a break. I'd be curious to know if they figure out the ignition source of that guy's O2 bottles, especially if a leak was involved. The suspected "leak" is odd too because high pressure tanks don't usually leak quietly. I've had tanks open on me while rolling around in my trunk, maybe it was that?

Bishop fucked around with this message at 04:59 on Feb 27, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


SlicerDicer posted:

LOL agreed this is usually the case. I did however find going in asking for 3L cylinders for rent.. they did not ask for my card when I got that and absorbant. Either they figured I was certified or wanted to see a darwin award.
An unwritten rule is that you don't card people buying rebreather stuff because they've paid for the right to kill themselves

please give me your old inspiration

Bishop fucked around with this message at 16:21 on Feb 27, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


A lot of older aluminum tanks were made from a bad alloy. (google 6351-t6) In my experience a lot of shops refuse to fill or service tanks made before 1990.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


ZoCrowes posted:

I've never seen conclusive numbers about how many actual accidents have been caused by that alloy. I've not done a very in-depth study into it but from what I recall the tanks that did have issue were not properly maintained (no visual or eddy tests conducted.)
You'll find a bit of debate over the whole thing, and for some reason there seems to be people that want to prove themnselves right. Kind of strange I think. The DOT sent out a warning* about that specific alloy though so I give it credibility, and A LOT of pre 1990 tanks were made with it. I think a more balanced approach some shops take with these tanks is that they'll fill them if they're serviced, but won't recertify them in the hopes that the diver just forks over $150 or so (absolute chump change in diving) for a new tank.

*http://regulations.justia.com/regulations/fedreg/2006/08/29/E6-14255.html
edit: also http://phmsa.dot.gov/hazmat if you're into metallurgy. Going off of a few reports on ruptures I looked at, It seems that they don't know exactly why 6351T6 tanks are more prone to failure (specifically "sustained load cracking"), but they take it as a given that they are. Completely unrelated, but I got a good laugh at their notice of "Radioactively Contaminated Tissue Holders Purchased From Bed Bath and Beyond"

SlicerDicer posted:

What old one?
I thought you were switching over to an evoloution? Also one of your sensors is reading off by .02. BAILOUT!@$#!@$!@$

Bishop fucked around with this message at 15:59 on Feb 28, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


PADI being the most popular also means that it certifies the most people at resorts, on cruise ships, and in other places where you probably are not getting as good of instruction as a class that takes place over a couple of weekends. Instructors in those environments are pressed for time and also pressured to certify everyone.

Erwin, if your shop offers both, I would not be surprised if they teach both courses together... the standards for open water are so close that it would not be difficult at all to teach a class that covers both agencies. You might even be able to get cards from both as long as you pay for the course materials for both and take two tests. It sounds like you would be doing a more traditional class so your instruction should be good. Go with PADI, but only because they are more popular. As long as you put some effort into it, that certification will make you a safe diver within the limits set.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


fordan posted:

(actually, does GUE offer a basic-level class? Hmm.)
They do. That would be an interesting way to start out diving because they want you on a basic DIR setup (longhose, backplate, etc) from the start. The class looks harder than a normal open water class too... for instance they have very specific standards for buoyancy and trim control. In other words, it's GUE. I guess if you could see into the future and knew you wanted to be a cave diver that would be the best place to start.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


I imagine wearing something really minimal as an undergarment would keep you from getting too hot with any dry suit, as long as you don't put it all the way on and stand in the sun for a while before getting wet. A dry suit is also a redundant buoyancy source, which is a comforting thing to have, especially on ocean tech dives when your rig is too heavy to swim to the surface without some buoyancy assistance.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


I have not personally dove Hollis but the guys I've met that had them all seemed happy. They all had DIN first stages + longhose set up for doubles. The internet buzz seems to be that they are solid regs without the cost of something like Apex or Scubapro. I think it's a solid reg choice among many.

I personally dive Scubapro MK25s/G250s on my tech setup and old rear end sherwood regs for my single tank yoke setup.

e: I've been prepping gear tonight and checking all my regs. My deco bottle first stage is hosed somewhere. It is leaking, and water came out when I pressurized it, so I took the whole drat thing apart. I think I can salvage it but I really need to retire this 1st stage (another old sherwood) at some point.

fordan posted:

My intro Scuba Diver class trained us in the pool and the quarry to use pony bottles rather than octos, since around this area (NJ/NY) if you want to dive in the ocean the dive boats require either a pony or doubles. Obviously not DIR, but a bit closer to the tech side of the house than most intro classes.
What size tank do you and people in your area use for a pony? 40cft? Less? Just curious because I've never seen a stage bottle being used on a recreational dive.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 03:28 on Mar 3, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


SlicerDicer posted:

Bishop, why not go with the apeks?
I think reg choice goes back to where you dive and who you dive with.

When I was first putting together a tech rig (I basically dive a DIR style wreck/cave rig + a deco computer now), I had to do it one expensive piece of equipment at a time. My instructor, through the local shop lent me a set of MK17 first stages for about a year while I was getting other equipment and training. So I was used to them and ended up getting brand new MK25s, which I won't have to worry about replacing for 10+ years. Hell probably 15-20. Scubapro is on that top tier of regs where the absolute worst you hear about them is: "you can get X brand cheaper and it's just as good". Plus I really really like the MK25's hose routing. It's perfect for the setup I have now but I've played around with other schemes and it's really versatile as well. G250v second stages are an ancient design that has proven its reliability, plus they breathe great beyond 200ft.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Crunkjuice posted:

Its possible i know a divemaster here who uses a Mares M2 as his primary computer and he's totally not a cheapass. I also hear he's a really good diver...
Diving skill is directly correlated with the price of your computer
In real computer chat, buying one that has a "gauge mode" will be something you might use later on or will increase its resale value. Gauge mode lobotomizes your computer so that only displays depth, dive time, ascent rate, and depending on the computer: average depth, water temp, max depth. Lots of people like to use to use a computer in gauge mode as a backup because it gives you the essential info if your primary fails on you. There's even a sizable number of divers that prefer to only dive with gauge mode because it keeps one from growing to rely too much on their computer.

A "bottom timer" is a computer that just does gauge mode. I have a couple of Uwatec 330m bottom timers and as far as I and everyone else can tell, the fuckers are invincible. That is until you have to throw it away when the battery dies in 10 years because it's non replaceable.

SlicerDicer I see that your Shearwater is "inverted" so that the battery compartment is on the inside of your arm. I have mine the normal way and there's a decent number of small scratches on it. Is reversing the screen a software option or what? (EDIT: ok maybe I should spend 15 seconds playing with my computer to find that "flip screen" option instead of asking other people)

Bishop fucked around with this message at 19:44 on Mar 5, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Having the fischer connector on the correct side regardless of which arm you use is probably the main reason they have the flip screen option but I'm gonna try it so more of the "bulk" of the computer will be pointed towards my body and not scraping up against stuff.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


In five days I'll be in Key Largo diving. Yesssssssssssss. I'm excited enough about it that I'm gonna post post post about some of the wrecks in the Keys and what I'll be diving to hype myself up and maybe someone else will care.

Spiegel Grove: My home court, shared with every dive professional in the area because this site gets lots of traffic. This is a 510ft WWII landing ship that was intentionally sunk in 2002. OK... actually they unintentionally sunk it earlier than their intentional plan and after much clusterfucking, the ship ended up on its side. A few years later hurricane Dennis had other plans. The storm turned the ship perfectly upright. Hurricanes mean business. A 510 foot steel military vessel weighs a loving poo poo ton. "poo poo" may be interpreted to mean 9,000 if wikipedia is right.

This wreck can be all things to all divers. You can max out at 70-80 feet and see big portions of the main superstructure and do some cool swim throughs. You could also go under the ship and see the giant props at 140 feet. As far as wreck penetration, it's as easy or serious as you want it to be. I've got around 100 dives on this wreck and I've not seen everything. I like to do the Spiegel first because I know it well and it gives me a chance to acclimate and test all my gear out. One thing I have to do is touch snoopy. Snoopy was the ships mascot. There is a seal with him on it on the floor on the ~95ft deck level right in the middle of the ship. He's pretty easy to get to and I do it for good luck. I also really like the anchor chain room, which you access via small hatches on the front deck. There's cool machinery in there but not much room. Getting to the engine room is one of the more aggressive penetrations on any wreck that I'm willing to try.

The Duane: An intentionally sunk ('89 I think?) coast guard cutter. Much smaller than the Speigel but still a good size wreck. It sits upright. The sand is at 130' but the main deck is at about 100'. The fish life is better on this wreck and it's hard to get yourself into too much trouble penetrating it. Older wrecks have more stuff growing on them, thus attract more fish. The Duane and its sister ship are both very intact though.

The Bibb: The Duane's sister ship lays on her side maybe 2000 feet from the Duane. I believe that they originally wanted to sink them closer together so you could dive both at once but they botched it. Nobody ever goes to the Bibb because by virtue of being on its side, it's a deeper wreck. Looking at my past profiles, I'm constantly going from 115 to 130ish just swimming around and peeking into the wreck. A ship on its side also offers much less protection from current than an upright one. Like any ship on its side, you have to be more careful penetrating it because of how easy it is to get disorientated. I was a huge rear end in a top hat once when diving this wreck. A group of divers had requested a two site trip, one to the Bibb, then the Duane. I was the only dude doing decompression. Well I was down 107 minutes when they were down 30 tops. I surface to a boat full of seasick people ready to murder me. I thought they were doing two dives with a surface interval on the Bibb

The Eagle: I love the Eagle! It's off Islamorada, which is just south of Key Largo. It lies on its side and is also broken in half. I think the sand is at 100' feet so it's a good dive for everyone. I've always had great dives on it, with rays and sharks, etc.

"The Cannabis Cruiser": Honorable mention. Near the Eagle. Some guys were trying to smuggle a poo poo ton of weed into the US and apparently scuttled the ship when they were discovered. Legend has it that the first divers on it pried open a hatch and a huge block of marijuana came floating out. Shops don't really go there because it's not a good dive compared to other wrecks. I just like the story.

The Vandenberg: I've only got one dive on this one. This is a certified big rear end wreck. Bigger than the Spiegel Grove even! It was intentionally sunk off of Key West in the past few years. I dove it last summer. There is very little growth on it thus far, but still a lot of awesome things to see. This ship did signals intelligence and has huge satellite dishes on top of it. Before it was sunk it was in some lovely 90's movie about a computer going insane or something. The rudder is giant and despite being at 150', is an easy thing to get to. There were a ton of nice looking places inside but I did not penetrate too much. I bet you could spend hours in there and we were trying to see as much as possible in one dive. One cool thing I saw was a photography art project they placed on the wreck. One that stood out to me was a picture of a ghostly woman hanging laundry on the sunken wreck. It takes 2.5 hours to get to Key West from Key Largo so I doubt I'll be hitting this one unless someone down there wants to go.

Northern Light: This is an unintentionally sunk wreck off of Key Largo. It has a complicated history but long story short this ship ended up carrying cargo in the area and sunk in a gale in the 1930s. This is a big boy wreck. The bottom is at 190' and you spend most of the dive around 180'. There are no mooring buoys so the dive boat has to either: 1. "Hook" the wreck with an anchor, which is very difficult to do from the surface in strong current. 2. Drop a "shot line" which is a heavy anchor that provides a stable line that hopefully is near the wreck. Or 3. Let the divers do a "hot drop", which involves positioning the boat a quarter mile or so up current of the wreck, getting bearing on it, and then jumping in and sinking as fast as possible while trying to let the current drive you towards the wreck. A nice thing about hot dropping is that you get to do a drift decompression where you launch to the surface an inflatable buoy tied to your reel. The boat then follows the buoy and you as you slowly ascend and decompress with the (often strong) current.

The Northern Light is an amazing wreck. For whatever reason once you get as far out/deep as it is, you see marine life that you don't otherwise. Bull and Hammerhead sharks are very common, as are Goliath Grouper. The wreck itself buckled into two pieces as it sunk. The bow portion sits intact and upright, but the stern is inverted and bent backwards towards the bow. This led people to call it "the elbow" wreck before it was identified. It looks like a bent elbow on sonar. There is not much to penetrate. The cargo hold and other areas are very open. The fish life and the ambiance of the dive really make this one.

Queen of Nassau: A lot of what I just said about the Northern Light applies here. It sank around the same time and place but is more intact. It rests in around 230' of water. It was a retired naval cruiser. It owns. Can you tell that I don't know enough about it to write a good post so I'm hoping I can dive it again in the comming week?

Another dive I want to do very badly is the Hydro Atlantic off of Pompano Beach. Another real wreck that I think is 170 to the sand with most of the interesting stuff around 150.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 05:00 on Mar 6, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Trivia posted:

Also, not too clear exactly on what the difference in algorithms is.
It's er, really complicated. Most of the models are going to give you close to the same no-decompression limits. The bigger difference is how they structure your decompression.

If you take a computer running Buhlmann into deco, it should try and get you to shallow stops quickly, where RGBM or other VPM variants will give deeper stops. This has to do with differences in the basic assumptions (yeah, this ain't an exact science) that each model makes. The total deco time will be close with both models. Their differences are more apparent the deeper/longer the dive is. If you unintentionally go a bit past the no-deco limits, any model is going to give you basically the same thing... 10 minutes at 20 feet or whatever.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 01:56 on Mar 7, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Trivia, since your question was really about if that specific computer locks you out for entering deco: based on a quick look at the manual*, it looks like it only locks you out if you incur deco and then go above one of the prescribed stops for more than 3 minutes. They call it SOS mode and in addition to your computer screaming at you, it locks you out for 24 hours.

*http://www.subgear.com/media/9908/xp10-multilanguage.pdf

Bishop fucked around with this message at 21:07 on Mar 7, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Did some wreck diving on Saturday and Sunday. Both dives were about 90 minutes surface to surface. I almost ran out of line on my 400ft reel on one penetration which is cool or disconcerting depending on how you look at it.

I dove an Evolution+ rebreather today and it's a cool unit. Trims out real nice. My only complaint about it that the bailout valve is a bit awkward and just dosen't feel well constructed. More generally, I'm so used to holding my breath when I get my buoyancy perfectly dialed in (before passing through a tight restriction or something) that I did it out of habit a few times which messes you up on a rebrerather. I'm taking it to a wreck diving sometime this week so we'll see how that works out.

Weather is not cooperating for some of the more aggressive dives but I've got almost a week to see if things clear up. On that subject: the snorkeling boats in Key Largo can be pretty evil. They go out pretty much regardless of weather, taking people who probably aren't used to being in rough seas to sites that have poo poo visibility because of how shallow they are. I saw a boat coming in earlier full of people that... did not look very excited about their experience.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


ZoCrowes posted:

Never ever ever ever hold your breath while breathing any compressed gas at depth no matter what.
Pretty much. It would be bad to teach anything else. I'll "hold my breath" (in reality I might be barely inhaling or exhaling)in situations where I need to be absolutely still vertically. Passing through a small hatch in a silty room is a good example. Always with my lungs around half full because assuming you've got the right amount of gas in your BC/wing, empty lungs will make you start sinking and full ones make you rise.

W/R/T rebreathers, in addition to what crunkjuice said, if you hold your breath the unit gets confused and starts injecting gas into the loop which messes up your buoyancy and breathing. The best advice I've heard is to just breathe deeply and constantly. Unlike open circuit it's not effecting your buoyancy and you've got plenty of gas. Using your lungs for fine tune buoyancy is just a tough habit to break after 15 years.

As far as the weather goes, it might get a little nicer towards the weekend but I don't like my chances of getting to do some of the deeper wrecks. It's been a lovely past 6 months down here for boating.

Crunkjuice posted:

Oh, and another update on my buddy in the hospital. He just came out of surgery, and all of his 3rd degree burns have been grafted. It'll take a week to tell if they will all stay, but he's extubated and is pretty stable at the moment. All in all, as good as he can hope for barring infections/pneumonia complications.
That's great that he's recovering as well as can be hoped for. That's some scary poo poo.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Mar 13, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Awesome pics slicer. I like seeing pacific ocean stuff because the fish confuse the poo poo out of me

IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

Here in Florida the only elevation we get is Reefs that have made themselves tall and the gradual slope into the ocean. I get a boner when I see a 10ft cliff lol.
You can do wall dives in Southern FL but they suck rear end. There are some great ones in the Bahamas or elsewhere in the Caribbean though.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


I had an interesting wreck penetration yesterday. There was a restriction that was VERY tight. I had to remove some gear, including my stage bottle which I held over my head while pulling myself through the restriction. I got to the other side and re-clipped my stage. The plan was for me to confirm that there was a hallway leading to the engine room beyond this point. This way we could plan a proper penetration for a later date. I swim through about 20 feet and see the hallway. Silty as poo poo but it's there. Mission accomplished. Now time to check my backgas as I head out...

***I and most people use bolt snaps to clip stage bottles. One clips to a chest d-ring, the other to a d-ring on your hip. I also clip my pressure gauge (SPG) to that hip d-ring. After I passed through the restriction, I accidently clipped the bolt snap attached to my stage bottle through the one on my SPG. The bolt snap on the stage bottle went through the SPG snap instead of the d-ring. If you look at the attached picture, imagine a bolt snap jammed into the end of the one on the SPG.***


...When I try and check the tank pressure on my backgas, I can't unclip it. I also can't unclip the stage bottle. Both are jammed. Great, now I can't tell how much gas I have left at 120 feet and I also can't remove the stage bottle, meaning I can't get out. Fantistic!

I spend about two minutes (felt like 10) trying to unfuck things. You can't see your hip d-ring in this situation so you go by feel. No dice. I'm good at moving slowly and deliberately. Still, I could feel my heart rate going up and thus my gas consumption. This was made worse because I could not check how much gas I had.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fja4r7mNmic

I swim back to restriction and consider my options. I can try and cut the line that ties the boltsnap to my stage bottle. I could also come out of my entire rig and drag it behind me. This is where having a 7 foot long hose is great. What I ended up trying first was un-clipping the stage from my chest d ring and trying to tuck it between my legs and squeezing through like that. It worked. Once I got back into open water I managed to get everything fixed and continued diving about 20 more minutes. Welp, that's my story.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


IM FROM THE FUTURE posted:

Anyone ever dive in deep water, like 400-600 feet? That is pretty freaky. You can see for a long while in every direction, but its just a glowing blue. Ive done some 30-60ft freedives spearfishing for mahi and its a pretty crazy experience.
A good wall dive where you swim over a ledge and all of the sudden there are thousands of feet of water below you is incredible. It really gives you an "astronaut" feeling. Also drift dives or drift decompressions. You gotta be careful checking your depth gauges though because it's easy to ascend/descend a bunch without realizing it because you have no point of reference.

Murky water is just kind of boring but I'll take it over no diving at all. Also a nice murky quarry is a great place to practice underwater navigation.

I just remembered that you asked what "wall dives" I had done in South Florida and I can't remember where it was. I did it in 1999 or something. Maybe near Alligator reef. Wherever it was it sucked. No reef or fish life and the drop off was not very steep.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Diver Dick posted:

5 feet of visibility would be a great dive for me

I do underwater inspection (bridges mostly) as part of my job, and end up in <1 ft of vis quite often. Sometimes this is enough, and I can press my face plate/light up against whatever I want to get a look at. In a lot of the locations I work, the water is too silty or muddy and I have to play Helen Keller. I've learned how to feel my way around structures and estimate distances.
I'd be curious to know what type of light you use. Also since you say "face plate" I'm assuming your doing hard hat diving? Surface supplied gas or do you carry it with you?

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Diver Dick posted:

My go-to light is a UK SL-6 LED
Don't take this the wrong way because it's more me not knowing poo poo about the type of diving you do, but I'm really surprised that's the light you use. I was assuming you had a 50 watt HID can light or something. Still... if it works it works! plus why be dumb and risk something expensive when a cheap (free in your case) light gets the job done.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


I've seen people abuse the poo poo out of all kinds of equipment, including rebreathers. I've been guilty of not rinsing my gear between dives on consecutive days. I think with a lot of dive equipment you start to care less for it after that "first scratch" happens. I tend to do better with equipment that I might end up selling.

If you want to get really ~hardcore~ with gear choice and durability, I'll take the Saturation divers over people using consumer grade rebreathers. Commercial diving is a different beast than what most of us do.

Slicer, I do have to give props for that custom housing you're having built, that's some impressive poo poo

Even as someone transitioning to closed circuit, the rebreather is not always the right tool for the job and commercial divers choose something else quite often. Manifolded doubles are pretty drat reliable and would be great in a bridge inspection. Surface supplied gas can be an even better option.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 06:14 on Mar 20, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Aquaseal is the duct tape of diving. If all else fails that may be worth trying. Try and get it in the threads of the screw. I'd take it down without the camera in it as a test though.

I just got done with a bunch of diving so I'm giving everything a detail cleaning. Tooth brush and dish detergent for my masks an computers, new silicone grease for my twist on backup lights.

One thing I use a lot is corrosion block. Ive been using it on boats forever. It does a great job lubricating and of course preventing corrosion. I use it on things like bolt snaps, my backplate, and other metal pieces. Keep it away from your stages or anything else involving breathing gas though.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Don't phone post.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 01:49 on Mar 22, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


I hope my local dive shop is ready for some business because I need to have ALL of my stages and tanks serviced. Also might buy a new first stage for my deco regs... I had to tear down, clean, and replace an o-ring on it before my trip. It ended up working fine but I'm a bit uneasy with it. If it fails during a dive I lose access to my deco gas.

jackyl posted:

I think I am going to start a lot more local diving (Louisville, KY) to increase competency and start moving up the cert ranks, too. I wish we had done this a lot earlier.
See you at Joe's quarry! I live in Lexington and ZoCrowes is an instructor based out of Louisville. Depending on the water temp I'll be heading up there to do some skills practice myself in the next month or so.

gently caress Louisville go cayuts

Edit: drat I go into a dive shop and next thing I know I'm signed up for a divemaster class. Living the dream y'all. I've been wanting to get up to at least DM for a while now because teaching new divers is a lot of fun. I will also volunteer to "die" for every rescue class ever because drat that looks fun.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


My rescue class had a pretty burly cop in it and he er, turned the tables on the instructor during active panic. Problem is we eventually just got plain outnumbered. On the last day there were 2 instructors and 5 DMs all dying at once. Now I know why everybody was so eager to volunteer.

"Inconsolable spouse that jumps into the water fully clothed" was probably my favorite.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 04:13 on Mar 22, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Trivia posted:

I was thinking about taking Rescue Diver at some point. Can anyone give me more of a rundown on exactly wtf you're all talking about and what to expect?
Crunkjuice wrote a "tips before taking" style post and I wrote a pretty long trip report in the last thread, I'll dig it up when I get home this afternoon.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Looking through the DM course materials. Not a bad kit actually. All the materials look pretty polished. I don't know what this box labeled "Multilevel recreational dive planner is" but that adds to the excitement! I thought you could always just use a normal table to plan something beyond a square profile. Just have a zero minute surface interval between dives. You also get a rockin PADI tote bag and of course, a "DIVEMASTER" patch. Who actually sews on all the patches that dive agencies give out? Maybe I'll go all hipster on my about to fall apart wetsuit and ironically sew every patch I can find onto it.

Bishop posted:

Crunkjuice wrote a "tips before taking" style post and I wrote a pretty long trip report in the last thread, I'll dig it up when I get home this afternoon.
Some advice from crunkjuice

quote:

Strip all the dangly poo poo (i doubt you have any) off your rig. Active panic diver will probably wrestle the poo poo out of you once and i've seen people lose stuff. You won't need lights or anything.
When you're towing people, don't overinflate their BCD's as they tend to roll, especially with back inflates. Inflate em just enough to keep em buoyant.
When your demonstrating rescue breaths, watch where your support hand pinches the nose (if your not using a mask), as you can drip water into their mouths and cause more problems. I don't think thats in the rescue class, but my instructor hounded me on it.
Make sure you count out loud synchronizing with your kick cycles towing. It helps a lot to set up a routine. While your kicking, your counting and unclipping stuff. On the last few counts, you give them breaths. Repeat. Its better than trying to count in your head and sprint back to shore.

From when I took it:
Trip Report: PADI Rescue Diver

I've decided I want to start divemastering some classes and eventually doing some teaching so I'm starting to work my way up the PADI ranks. I've been AOW for 12 years or so, and the next step is Rescue. I had heard good things, by far the most commmon one being "I love DM'ing for it". There were three of us students. Me, the smug tech diver, An experienced cop who knows how to handle an emergency and has also done a ton of body recoveries in the water, and a dude who I think is relatively new to diving but wants to "live the dream" and go pro while he is still young. Overall we made for a good class. Our instructor was very good. He's been teaching PADI since the mid 90s and is also a cave diver and all of that good stuff.

Day 1 was about a 6 hour class session on Friday night. We covered all the textbook stuff. Handling a panicked diver, getting EMS on the scene, and controlling the situation were all covered in theory. The idea of "not becoming the second victim" was covered but not as much as I expected. We also discussed a lot of hypothetical situations that would apply to the diving that each of us did.

Days 2 took place at the quarry. I spent this day in a jacket BC and single tank. We spent most of the day practicing skills in a "controlled environment". For example, the instructor would pretend to be a panicked diver and we would take turns trying to calm him down. We also practiced bringing unconscious (IMO dead 99% of the time) divers from the bottom and giving them rescue breaths while getting them to the shore. We also did tired diver tows, practiced various underwater search patterns. Only one "surprise" was pulled on us this day.

Day 3 took place at the cursed quarry of death. I did this day in my tech rig but I left my expensive poo poo like my computer and can light off because I did not want someone to pull them off of me. Our Instructor got to watch everything from shore to judge us because 2 other instructors and 4 divemasters showed up to practice diving and also participate in loving with us. To paraphrase one of the DMs afterwards, "we lost a lot of good men today". The premise is that it's just a normal day of diving and poo poo could start to go wrong at any time or place. Arguably our class had it a little harder because a lot of the people were in doubles and thus harder to drag onto shore and such. Multiple emergencies can happen at once, and us three students were expected to handle everything. We were encouraged to enlist random bystanders to help with things like call for an ambulance whenever possible.

Having a cop in my class was a big help. He was really good at handling situations, especially on the shore. All three of us did a pretty good job at taking the lead though and communicating with each other. Lots of poo poo went to hell that day. The grand finale involved 7 actors at once and I don't even remember exactly how everyone was dying but it sure was taxing (and fun).

An example of one of the situations, which I think was sort of tailored to me. Us three students are in the water and someone from shore yells that a person is passed out up by the cars. We get up there and the symptoms/actions of the victim were pretty obviously heat exhaustion/stroke. The cop takes over brilliantly asking stuff like "are you on any medications" and other stuff that he deals with IRL all the time. At that very moment, two divers in tech gear surface and one is screaming. I tell the cop to handle the first dude and head back to the water.

Me and the other guy get to them. One diver is unconscious, while the other is in a half panicked state. I get to the conscious diver and get control of him from behind by grabbing his manifold and making sure his wing is inflated/etc. This guy is a GUE instructor and a spectacular diver so I have to give him an academy award for his performance because I can't see him panicking like that IRL. He was freaking out about his buddy, who apparently bolted from 110 feet (quarry ain't that deep). He wants to go check on him but I know the minute I let him go he's going to swim over and start freaking out and messing with the other student's job. He's giving me lines like "Oh my god oh poo poo it's all my fault he said he did not feel good today but I ignored him! Please let me go see him" and such. Long story short first guy was probably dead and my conscious diver developed decompression sickness symptoms because he bolted after the first guy.

The grand finale involved everyone, including one person playing the inconsolable spouse who jumps in to "help" us. I've already written enough about one of the simpler ones so I'll leave it here.

Overall I enjoyed the course a lot. Laughs were had, men were lost, and it's surprising how real a situation feels when everyone is acting out their role convincingly. I'm wavering on how useful it is. On one hand I'm probably a lot better now at dealing with a situation in a lake/quarry. It teaches you to stop, think, then act. I have my doubts about how much use some of the skills would be in rough seas. The rescue breaths while swimming an unconscious diver to shore seem nearly useless. It does do a good job of reminding you to delegate others to get EMS on scene and otherwise control a situation.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 19:37 on Mar 22, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


SlicerDicer posted:

Bishop, Is it disturbing that I am worried about doing PADI IDC.. even though I am a full blown rebreather diver and PADI DM?

ZoCrowes posted:

Not at all crazy. Being an experienced diver and being able to effectively teach diving are two very different things.
What he said. I'm taking DM so I can be around and teach new divers, hopefully while not sucking at it. I consider it a separate "branch" of my diving than my tech stuff. I've been at enough pool/quarry sessions with open water classes to see how rewarding teaching people can be. Plus MORE C-CARDS GIVE ME ALL THE C-CARDS.

Trivia posted:

Man, that course sounds crazy but oddly fun / rewarding.
Outside of open water I think it's the most useful PADI course I've taken. Your mileage may vary with how many and how crazy the staged emergency situations are. My class happened to have a lot of DMs and instructors that were there for other reasons on the final day, and of course they all wanted to get in on the action. I knew and had dove/taken classes with a lot of these guys so that may have contributed to them messing with us more. Maybe not though!

Bishop fucked around with this message at 06:24 on Mar 23, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


macado posted:

Does anyone here dive vintage? My most recent obsession has been diving and restoring vintage double hose regulators.
Glad you found us! Is vintage diving something I could do as a relatively cheap as a side hobby, assuming that I did most of the work myself? Is it the type of thing you can do by going to garage sales or buying cheap off eBay or is serviceable equipment more rare?

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


SlicerDicer posted:

Some Poast Pictars, I hope you enjoy these
These are great. You've got a good knack for the macro stuff.

Cool stuff macado... I did know there was a whole vintage community out there. They have a subforum at scubaboard which I'm sure you know. I've never encounterd a vintage diver "in the wild" though. I was hoping it would be a little cheaper because it seems like a cool side project. Between the constant process of upgrading my tech rig and doing divemaster, I just don't have the cash to even spend that much. Maybe I'll hit up some garage/yard sells and get lucky.

Edit: Wait! You have two loving computers on in that pic. A True Vintage Diver would use a watch and a mechanical depth gauge. Shameful poo poo. Seriously though that rig looks pimp as hell. Also nice trim and fin positioning. *hands you GUE pamphlet*

Bishop fucked around with this message at 17:04 on Mar 27, 2012

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Double post because THIS IS MY THREAD AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT (see yall after the probation). I helped out with a discover SCUBA session last night and it was a great experience. I could not be in the water, either for liability reasons (not a DM yet) or because they don't trust me. It was all college students who had never tried SCUBA before. After an instructor gave what was at the most a 10 minute primer, we got them all the right size BCs and into the pool they went.

There were maybe 20 total people that showed up. Each DM had about 6 new divers to take care of, and they did some basic stuff like mask clearing and regulator removal/replace. Besides being a gear grunt, I just helped as much as I could from the surface. I did help a semi-panicked girl remember how to inflate her BC. In five feet of pool water.

Everyone from the frat boys to the quiet foreign students that showed up seemed to have a great time and if a couple of them sign up for an open water class the shop makes money. Considering that all the DMs and people like me were working for free, I think it's a great business model plus people love the first time they breathe underwater, even if it is in a pool.

Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Heh yeah I knew it was mainly a liability thing I was just being sarcastic. We were overstaffed anyways... two instructors just hung out without getting in the water too.

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Bishop
Aug 15, 2000


Heh I can't believe we have *multiple* goons into vintage diving. That pretty much completes the spectrum of diving. Owns.

Macado the GUE joke was a play off the (often true) stereotype. I might be the only guy with a GUE cert ITT and say what you will, but they make you great overhead environment divers. The key is to not think the DIR way is the only way.

Bishop fucked around with this message at 22:02 on Mar 27, 2012

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