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[Multi] Task [Over] Loading -- How Do You Do It?

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by Ryan Neely, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Ryan Neely

    Ryan Neely Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Akeley, MN USA
    Okay ... I am fully on board with the analogy of comparing your Open Water Certification like obtaining a Learner's Driving Permit. I have some information, some theory, a very limited amount of practical experience, but am in no way confident or comfortable enough to consider myself "ready" for a "drivers license."

    To help improve my confidence and comfort, my buddy (wife) and I have been diving in the lake that is (literally) in our front yard here in northern Minnesota. Over our past couple of dives, our goal has been to work on our trim and buoyancy. Unfortunately, there are so many variables involved with any given dive that getting to practice these things has yet to happen.

    So, we're in cold(-ish) water (between 50° and 65°). It's not the greatest visibility (5 to 15 feet depending on the day). The lack of visibility requires that we use our compass to navigate. Without the navigation, we either surface in the middle of the lake and swim back to shore or risk getting lost on the way back. Per local regulations, we're required to tow a dive flag behind us. It seems like the drag from the dive flag buoy pulls me off course, driving me to kick with my right fin three times for every one kick with my left.

    I'm equalizing every foot or so. I'm trying to use my breath to keep my buoyancy in check but (likely thanks to a little over-weighting) find myself using my low-pressure inflater to stay out of the muck which is the bottom of our lake. My consumption rate is [likely] on par with any other newbie, so it's important I keep my eye on my gas levels. All of this task-loading likely doesn't help my stress levels and, therefore, likely makes my consumption worse.

    So ... my question ... how do you handle doing all of these things and still find time to run drills, practice skills, or even enjoy diving?
    George Monnat Jr likes this.
  2. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    I preferred to practice drills during the last fifteen minutes of the dive. I do not enjoy practicing drills, but did them enough to commit them to muscle memory. If I made a dive specifically to practice drills I would not be fun to be around the rest of the day.
  3. arcticat99

    arcticat99 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Saskatoon Sask canada
    one thing at a time .where are you going to ?swim out anchor your buoy and practice your buoyancy and breathing within a few yards of your anchor point .dont worry about going any distance .relax and stay shallow.my dive buddy and myself spend time in 30 ft of water on our first low vis dive of year to practice just that after that we go deeper on the dives after that and explore also if you can get in with a club in a pool for splash sessions great place to practice skills
  4. Divectionist

    Divectionist Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Gold Coast, Australia
    Why don't you stay close to your entry point for one or two entire tanks, just working on your buoyancy and trim? Get back out, readjust some weights, get back in, assess trim, all the while try making good buoyancy a subconscious habit.

    Then when you venture out again, your focus on navigation will not have to be split as much.

    You may benefit from not trying to do so many things at one time. It may seem like a waste of time to circle around in one area, but it is a luxury to be able to do it (vs many new divers who need to follow DMs around and can't work on their refinements in peace).
  5. TerryC

    TerryC Master Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: St Kitts, West Indies
    First, big kudos to both of you for perseverance in colder waters, poor viz and everything else that is making your diving more difficult.
    My advice:
    Work on only one thing at a time, don't try and multitask too much.
    Can you use an smb at the end of the dive instead of dragging a flag?
    Can you tie off your flag and practice close to it?
    Solve your buoyancy issues first, honestly if buoyancy is cracked then everything is falls in nicely.
    Keep Nav very simple - straight out and back maybe?
    Don't stress over air consumption, just enjoy your dives.
    Remember, every hour underwater adds to your experience, enjoy it and relax.
  6. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    I know you didn't ask, but I always mention that it helps to go through the motions of the skills you were taught in the pool--It's not as good of course as doing them in the water, but great for the memory. Of course you need to be in water to work on basics like buoyancy, finning, etc.
    I have a list of the 20 or so OW skills which I review once a week. So can practice the "out of air/share/ascend" in my easy chair while watching TV. I can't practice deep water entry, but I sure know the procedure and what each hand grabs.
    I rarely buddy dive, so don't have a real way to practice some of the stuff in the Rescue course--but I know the procedures for those skills back & forth.
    When I was assisting on OW courses I only did 3-4 each season, so I had to review those 20 skills more than I do now.
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  7. guruboy

    guruboy Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    If you want to work on buoyancy and trim, find a spot about 20-30’ deep and just try to hover in place. No kicking. That’s all.

    Once you can do that, practice going up and down 5’. Again, no kicking.
    KCB likes this.
  8. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    How deep is your lake and how quickly does it get to that depth?
  9. 0321tony

    0321tony Angel Fish

    I'll second a few things stated above like anchoring your dive flag and then do skills close to the line so that's one less thing to worry about is holding onto the flag. I don't know what you are doing with your flag but let some scope out on it so it's not directly overhead, you shouldn't be hanging on the line. If you have extra line out it'll also allow you to move in the water column more freely. Hopefully you're not using thick line like rope to your dive flag, the thicker the line the more drag in the water. Move slowly the faster you try to go the more drag on your dive flag and the more it'll drag you around, relax and enjoy what you can see, you'll see more by slowing down anyways.
    If it's an option a peak performance bouyancy course is money well spent with a good instructor. I had a good instructor and learned more in just a few dives than I would have in 20 dives on my own.
    When working with your bouyancy try to get your weighting correct at the end of your dive when your tank is low since the bouyancy characteristics are different than when full, you'll want your weight correct at the end of the dive so you don't shoot to the surface during your safety stop or have trouble staying down at the end of your dive. Find your ideal weight then perfect your trim, you can do that with weight pouches on your tank straps or by adjusting your tank to ride higher or lower. I have heavy legs so my tank rides much higher than most and I also have to use trim weights on my top strap.
    You say you have to equalize every foot or two I assuming you mean adjust your bouyancy if that's the case you are more than likely very over weighted. Next time out, at the end of your dive drop some weight and try to submerge if you drop like a rock then drop weight, you should just bearly sink with no air in your bc and your lungs completely empty, go down 10 ft and see how you feel. If you have to struggle to stay down then add a pound or two and try again.
    Don't start changing gear to try and fix issues chances are your gear is just fine it just needs tuned to you. If you do have to change your gear do it one piece at a time.
    Last is practice practice practice, and don't get discouraged, nobody is perfect at anything when they're just starting out keep at it and one day you'll get in the water and it'll just click. By learning in cold dark murky water it'll make those clear tropical waters a piece of cake.
    Welcome to the underwater world.
    Chidiver1 likes this.
  10. Diving Dubai

    Diving Dubai Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dubai UAE
    Very good question. The answer to this is simple in the fact you aren't neutral from the start. The overweighting exacerbates the problem but is not the cause.

    The first part is this. The body has a natural two stage reflex called "fight or flight" reflex. Stage 2 is where the adrenaline kicks in. Stage 1, your diaphragm drops to increase your lung volume (more buoyant) once you relax the diaphragm moves to it's normal position (less lung volume/buoyant) This reflex kicks in if you're anxious or nervous and is common with new divers. This is why with experience and comfort (more relaxed) you need less weight.

    For the second part, imagine your lung volume as a fuel gauge on a car. Your relaxed position (normal breath) is the 1/2 point on the gauge, with a normal breath between 1/4 and 3/4 the final two quarters (E to 1/4 and 3/4 to F) are what you use for "large" adjustments

    When you make a descent, you get near the bottom, take a big inhale and add air into your BCD and stop. Are you neutral? No. You've still got a lung full of air (top half of your lungs). Our brains are brilliant and will easily compensate for this and you'll swim around quite happily until, say your mind focuses on another task and your brain "forgets" to breathe from the top half, goes back to normal and you're suddenly negative hitting the bottom. It works in reverse too, breathing from the bottom half, except in this case you suddenly become buoyant and need to dump air.

    Also your breathing should be slow and relaxed. Divers are taught not to hold their breaths (as though you were skin diving) which is correct. However a normal breath cycle isn't' in then out, it's "In pause Out pause In pause Out" etc

    So underwater practice yoru breathing and try to visualize your lungs - find a way that works for you to "count" slowly breathing in then pausing then out. I personally exhale a bit, pause, exhale again, pause than inhale. but that's just me.

    As you already know, you compensate the additional weight required to offset the buoyancy of your exposure suit, equipment and body as the safety stop. if you have too much weight, thus have a lot of air in your BCD then this additional air will have a greater effect as you ascend causing a faster rate of change and more difficulty in the shallows controlling yoru buoyancy.

    Learn your equipment and go slow.

    Practice being able to find your straps and buckles, pockets and spg etc, just by feel. If wearing a BCD your chest strap is in the centre of your chest. From the base of your neck, run your fingers down your chest vertically and you'll find it. Horizontally to the left and right will be your shoulder strap buckles and vertically downwards your weight belt buckle and waist straps. Practice finding your spg with slow movements of your hand only, and raising the SPG to your eyes, rather than you moving your heads and using rapid movements with your hands to find it. (remember how your brain will "forget" if you're breathing in the top of bottom half, or if anxious your diaphragm will drop).

    Don't worry about gas consumption - the easiest way to have poor consumption is to worry about it. As you relax and go slow it'll improve, but in the end it will be what it is. It's not a competition.

    Take one step at a time, don't try to make the dive more complex - once you have mastered basic buoyancy, start adding tasks (basic partial mask flood and clear etc) to practice remaining neutral which concentrating on other skills. Basically your target is for breathing underwater and controlling your depth being automatic

    I hope that gives some food for thought. But well done for thinking about all this stuff
    Ryan Neely and chillyinCanada like this.

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