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How Did You Go Solo?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by DBPacific, Jul 23, 2019.

  1. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    1,427
    767
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    @tbone1004, That the dive procedures in post 1, 'buddy elsewhere', and above, post 47, by the OP. do not sound like AAUS procedures were being followed on the actual dive. I think the point is made though if you're pressed on time.
     
  2. DBPacific

    DBPacific Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
    293
    194
    43
    I'm very aware that they're not AAUS procedures. In post 1, it's mostly because we're using square meter transects and to eliminate the chance of one of my lobsters sensing my buddy and getting scared off, we keep another meter of distance. It also lowers the chance of an escapee getting measured twice. Post 47 is bad training, insufficient training for the job, and apathy towards improvement.

    Trust me, if my home DSO could see this I think he'd have a few choice words for this dive team, DSO, and for me for doing this job even though I didn't know that one diver would be poorly trained and a dive accident waiting to happen.
     
  3. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    1,427
    767
    113
    The transect procedures may vary based on need etc. So that may well be fine. If you are conducting it safely.

    But I understand your current dives are under AAUS auspices? And your problem diver does not sound fine! To AAUS standards.

    That your home DSO would not be happy is a clear signal! 'If this went pear shaped, would my DSO be ashamed?' is a great sanity check.

    And I assist in training our divers, and dive our waters, but just for fun. My own science is all inside a computer (machine learning) with nothing to do with the ocean. But we've had teams train on transects in water that started as maybe 3' but mostly 1-2' vis. with cross transect surge of a little over a foot. It goes slowly. The team I shadowed reduced it to just one side of the transect done as a team, and did only half the intended distance.

    Raise this to your DSO, current one first. But tbone is more experienced than I. So let's wait a bit for him to weigh in, maybe tonight or this weekend. No one is in the water at the moment, likely, anyway.

    ETA: If vis is terrible, 0', 2', 4' ... terrible, the safe procedure might be a front diver counting things and a 'at their back hip' diver serving as safety. But that depends on vis.
     
  4. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    15,737
    7,071
    113
    ahh, sorry I didn't know if there was something in the middle of the thread.

    So to answer @DBPacific
    I went solo very early in my diving because I was at a university and we were teaching. Teaching=solo, always. Whether that is as an instructor, or for us in the beginning, NAUI training assistants, you are diving solo. For me that was my second semester of diving.
    I don't have any solo certifications formally but we train all of our divers from day 1 to be fully self sufficient with what they have. That does not include redundancy because we emphasize the importance of buddy diving in the beginning, but they are trained to make ascents properly when left solo in a lost buddy situation, how to remedy situations etc.
    Within the confines of AAUS, there is a STRICT requirement for the buddy system, defined as the following "a diver is accompanied by and is in continuous contact with another diver in the water."
    In post 1 you are describing same ocean diving which is how I normally dive with my buddies, but that does not follow the definition above and would be in violation of standards.
    Now, buddy diving in the AAUS standards does not necessarily mean that you are relying on each other as is the case with most definitions of the buddy system, and when I'm doing scientific dives, my buddy and I are usually wearing doubles or a rebreather and are completely self sufficient. This is more in line with the DIR/GUE/technical diving definition of a buddy where you are each a member of a team in order to make whatever task at hand easier. Scientific diving is all working dives so in our opinion you have to be fully self sufficient and your buddy is only there to assist in the job at hand.

    On your lobster transects that can be a little dicey if you don't have FFM's and comms. Note that the rule says in continuous contact, that can be verbal through the use of FFM's if you are diving in areas where touch/visual contact is impractical as would be your case there. In that instance you know generally where your buddy is, are in visual contact with the transect, and as long as it is made clear that the team arrives at a transect, dive leader stays at point or side A, and diver 2 moves to the opposite, or one of the adjacent corners or sides *usually opposite*, then that's very different.

    Unfortunately I do know that our divers are trained to an infinitely higher standard than the vast majority of programs so the types of things we can have our scientific divers do is very different than most. We will often have previously certified scientific divers come into our program and fail our scientific diving course the first time around and be sent back to basic training again so they can learn to dive in flat trim, with good buoyancy and propulsion, and proper buddy contact. Only when they can demonstrate competency at that basic navigation will they be allowed to start doing working diver training.
     
    MichaelMc and DBPacific like this.
  5. DBPacific

    DBPacific Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
    293
    194
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    Unfortunately without the training or availability of FFMs, I'm honestly not sure what to do to meet AAUS reqs. There's only so close you can get before you're hurting the research collection.

    I'd be really interested to hear about your uni's scientific diving standards and the drills the students go through and what the differences are. We can move to another thread or pm's if you're willing to talk further.
     
  6. tbone1004

    tbone1004 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Greenville, South Carolina, United States
    15,737
    7,071
    113
    @DBPacific feel free to send me a PM or email if you want to ask any questions.

    tn
     
  7. tjeastgate

    tjeastgate Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: California
    13
    3
    3
    I took PADI's "self-reliant" course a few years ago, and I'm very glad I did. It was a nice segue into tech in terms of dive/gas planning, redundancy (not to the level of tech, but similar), and such. It also teaches that there are times when solo diving is appropriate, and others where there's no other choice. An example of appropriate times to solo would be when you've dove the site before, the conditions are optimal, and most importantly you actually want to do the dive (i.e., people that dive because they rented the tank, and they'll breathe it down no matter what!). Every time I solo, I border on being overly cautious, and once I decide that the site is good to dive (after personally checking it) I spend about 5 minutes ensuring that I truly want to do the dive. If there is even a doubt that I'd rather do something else, I'll cancel it. I haven't gotten to this extreme, but if that means I'm knee deep in the water and fully kitted up, I'll gladly turn around if I feel something isn't right. There are too many variables to force a solo dive. The second reason I mentioned (no other choice) has already been covered; instructing. OW students are ENTIRELY reliant on their instructors for the first dive, so you need to be completely self-reliant in those classes. The last thing I'll reiterate is that self-reliant diving doesn't necessarily mean solo diving. Solo diving can be very peaceful, but self-reliance means if there is a problem, the only thing another diver should be providing you with is a second brain. Be safe out there.
     
    DBPacific likes this.
  8. lamarpaulski

    lamarpaulski Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Calif.
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    Started hull cleaning and urchin harvesting both of which were ‘solo’ and got very comfortable u/w by myself. Also continued recreational diving. Lived near Pacific but grew tired of trying to find good buddy with schedule that meshed with my graveyard shift. Started solo shore diving after work early am night dives with dawn arriving at end of dives. Only in primo conditions, shallow. Places I knew very well already. Some amazing dives. So different at 3am vs 9am.

    Still dive solo a lot under good-excellent conditions. A buddy is both a help and a hindrance. Some are dangerous. It’s sometimes nice to just worry about your own rear end too.
     
    txgoose, AfterDark and Dark Wolf like this.
  9. SoloMonkey

    SoloMonkey Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hertfordshire United Kingdom
    17
    6
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    I started Soloing out of necessity when I went on holiday in Tunisia in 2009. The school instructor took us onto a wreck of a fishing boat in 27 metres. Saw that I was okay and then motioned "You seem okay, carry on! I'm coming along with my student when I'm next down.........Ooookaaaaaaay!........." Thankfully I was on a French system of twin headed tanks with double independent 1st stages and two top flight regulators fitted.

    I was stupid enough to go shooting my mouth off on social media when I got back that evening about the involuntary solo dive and then promptly got court marshalled and kicked out of Stevenage SAA dive club upon my return to the UK. Needless to say, my appetite had been wetted. I waited until a full instructor next to have a foray into full soloing in 2010. I asked for a 2 tank dive to be allowed to use one of the schools DIR type twin manifoldeds. This got approved and because I looked the part and acted the part, that certain school on the east coast of Grand Cayman just let me get on with it.

    Several years later I was on Christmas holiday to Malta and did the Solo course with Laurence at Strand Dive Centre. It was a really easy course having in the meantime done CCR diving.
    Have since used the qualification in Bonaire, Curacao, Malta, Croatia and the UK.

    I always prefer to rent two tanks and by pyloning them together as an Indy twinset. It avoids the dive centre trying to avoid the issue by saying "We don't rent pony bottles"
     
    Linke Seitentasche likes this.
  10. DBPacific

    DBPacific Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Oregon, USA
    293
    194
    43

    Holy crap. That's insane for both the instructor and the club. Is an Indy twinset different from normal doubles set-ups?
     

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