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Is limited solo diving completely insane for a new diver?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by HeliMech, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. HeliMech

    HeliMech Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Whitehorse, Yukon - land of very little diving

    First off. I believe the answer to the title of this thread is, "Yes!". It is insane to dive solo as a new diver.

    As this forum is a no-troll zone. I figure I'd put this out there.


    - 46 Years Old. Risk averse. Aviation safety background. Decent shape.
    - PADI OW/AOW/Drysuit/Enriched Air
    - Only 12 Dives (mostly in cold Pacific Northwest water).
    - Comfortable w/buoyancy & weighting.
    - Have all my own gear except redundant air option.

    Obviously anyone thinking to do anything solo after 12 dives is a moron right? I'll troll myself there to get that out of the way. Also I'm not trying to be lazy and not bother trying to find a buddy - it's just that by the time I find someone with a similar SAC rate (mine needs work) who wants to do what I want to do and that I trust - I'll miss a lot of diving.

    I will be going to a local dive club meeting this week to try and get the ball rolling for another buddy though.

    However, here's why I'm thinking about this:

    1) My dive buddy (my girlfriend) has to rent gear and we have different schedules. I probably want to dive three times as much as she does.
    2) I'm an introvert and would prefer my own company if she can't go. (Plus I don't trust randoms in any safety capacity to help me out)
    3) My LDS doesn't do guided dives every day I want/need to go.
    4) I need to dive.
    5) I hate diving in groups. Other divers swimming into me, kicking me in the face...or just being on someone else's schedule.
    6) I want to go slow and just practice my own thing.
    7) I don't want to end someone else's dive because my breathing isn't dialed in yet.
    8) My LDS just cancelled my Wed. dive due to nobody else registering. So now I can't dive that day.

    Where?: There is a shore entry area that is popular for practice locally. Porteau Cove - West Vancouver.

    Why?: In a perfect world (where this wasn't considered suicide) I would like to go there to practice by myself when there isn't anyone else to go with.

    I am familiar with the site and my plan would be simply to surface swim to the nearest buoy, take a bearing to one of the wrecks close by, descend, head out to wreck (no entry at all and none really possible), head back to buoy, quick safety stop and ascend. All dives well within NDL.

    I wouldn't really be doing this for sightseeing - just to practice.

    PADI Self-Reliant Diver requires 100 dives. Not diving often is killing me - just because I don't have a buddy available.

    So I am talking about a single, familiar, shore dive location. The route taken and depth would be the same every time. Can risk be mitigated to an acceptable level for a diver with let's say 10 dives at the same location?

    If anyone else has gone through this before as a new or new-ish diver please let me know what you ended up doing. Any experienced solo divers please also advise as you see fit. I'm all ears.

    I don't even have a pony bottle so not to worry, I'm not going to do solo anything...for a while.

    I do have a desire to do this though. It's tough to see all my gear ready to go with 4 AL80's filled with EANx32 filled and propped by my front door.

    I just want to dive....like super bad.

    So full disclosure. I fully believe that I can dive this site and dive plan safely....alone, right now (if I had redundant air). Yet my training tells me this is crazy and that as a new diver I can only dive with another person. So for now I'll just stare at my gear and play Subnautica on my Xbox One X...while you dive.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to read this and reply. I'm kind of hoping someone will recognize that they felt like this too.

    Anyway, I love diving. Help!!!!

  2. decompression

    decompression Instructor...seriously...

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
    There are some aspects of your background that I would consider you as a candidate for a solo diver course, so you might get an instructor to let you on the course. Its amazing how much you don't know because you don't know......I highly recommend taking the course. There's far more to solo than redundancy, handling failures is a very big part, as well as planning. Best of luck.
    Satrekker, Zef and Snoweman like this.
  3. northernone

    northernone Great White Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Currently: Cozumel, from Canada
    I may be in the minority, but here goes.

    If you can drill your skills to a point you are self reliant shallow enough you can stand up, go a little deeper. Carry on this until you're utterly at home on your equipment.

    Have a redundant airsource you trust with your life. Practice with it regularly.

    You need some more skills, right now all your training has been focused on making you 1/2 of a dive team. Solo skills are similar but different enough to be fatal (as you're already well aware)

    I too am an introvert and if I waited for a buddy I'd barely get to dive so I'm sympathetic.

    Specific questions welcome,
  4. HeliMech

    HeliMech Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Whitehorse, Yukon - land of very little diving
    Thanks for the reply Jay. It's appreciated. I also totally agree. What you don't know can often kill you.

    I might give that a shot. It's my preference to take the course. Only the 100 dives requirement keeps me back. I also get that there is a 100 dive requirement for a reason. Maybe they could hold my card back...

    Thanks again.
    Jordan Trotter likes this.
  5. HeliMech

    HeliMech Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Whitehorse, Yukon - land of very little diving
    Thanks Cam. I totally agree on all points. I'll definitely get a few more dives under my belt (with some practice using redundant air etc.) before advancing my thoughts on this too far. If I'm lucky maybe I can weasel my way into some training early as Jay suggests.

    Really appreciate the response.
    Jordan Trotter likes this.
  6. Tecomah

    Tecomah Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Florida
    While I can't in good conscience recommend for anyone, especially someone off the internet who I don't know and have never dove with, to dive out of their skill limits I couldn't blame you for making this dive. Your background In aviation is a major benefit when it comes to solo diving. Checklists, checklists, and more checklists has been the name of the game for every aviator I've known. The dry suit also gives the benefit of secondary inflation. Get comfortable with a good secondary air source(not spare air) and carry easily accessible cutting and signaling devices. I as well am an introvert but by necessity had to make dive buddies.
    Ps: great choice in games. Subnautica is the bomb.
  7. DButton90

    DButton90 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Redding, CA
    My first dive out of certification was a solo dive and nearly half of my dives since then have been solo. You could argue that it's insane and I wouldn't disagree, but I don't think it's out of the question. I put limits on myself when diving solo, but that doesn't mean my plan will be fool proof. I admit that I have a lot to learn and appreciate instruction from a buddy when possible, but I'm not going to wait for someone to be free to go dive especially when I live inland and can only make it out right after work during the week. There are a lot of activities that suggest shouldn't be done solo and probably for good reason, but if you pursue it then my belief is you have to be aware of the consequences. Probably a void argument coming from a newbie, but I've held the same practices with rock climbing and mountaineering too.
  8. divad

    divad ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    I started diving "solo" immediately during, and after, certification in 1996. I'm sure they meant well.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  9. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    A number of good points already mentioned and I will toss my voice behind them as well.

    The other thing which may or may not be a factor, is that the area where you are planning on diving isn't the easiest either. Is you knowledge of tides etc solid? You might be the best diver in BC, but if you get caught in a ripping tide, you're gone. (I am not familiar with that specific area, but just make sure you know what's going on out there.)

    I don't really recall when I started solo diving, but it wasn't probably much different than what you are talking about. I was 17, and the club I joined was great at talking about diving, but really didn't to much beyond that.
  10. agilis

    agilis ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: N.J.
    I did my first couple of dozen dives solo after reading "The New Science of Skin and Scuba Diving". No certification until they began demanding a C card before filling your tank. Forty-six years after being certified I do almost all of my local dives solo because the friends of my youth have either stopped diving or died. Solo diving was my first love and I still prefer it.

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