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No solo diving in overhead environment

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by Foxfish, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. w ripley

    w ripley Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Norfolk, VA
    Hadn't seen that. Thanks.
  2. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    ... and yet you chose to not highlight the sentence between the two that you did highlight ... the sentence where the head of the agency in question admits that he solo dives himself and says it can be done while minimizing the risks.

    Why is that? Why do you suppose this man "violates" the recommendations of his own agency? Why do you choose not to comprehend the context in which the terms "recommend" and "sanction" are being used? It's been explained to you, and you ignored the explanation.

    You made an unfounded accusation toward me previously ... I have not, in this or any other thread, recommended to anyone that they dive solo in an overhead, nor that they dive above their training. I've stated that I dive in an overhead environment. I've never recommended that anyone else make the same diving choices I do. In fact, based on your comments I'll clearly state that I think you should not do so, since it's pretty evident that you lack the mentality for it ... you'd rather rely on some agency to tell you what to do than think for yourself, and that attitude increases your risks frightfully in an overhead environment. Until you reach a point where you can evaluate the risks for yourself, can evaluate your own preparedness to mitigate those risks, and have the knowledge to impose some self-discipline on your choices in an overhead environment, you should stay out of one. When you reach that point, you'll no longer need an agency to tell you what to do ... the things they taught you will be nothing more than tools, to be used as you see fit to apply yourself to the craft of scuba diving. How you apply them will be based on your own decisions ... not those of someone you've presumed to be responsible for telling you what to do. You'll be ready to put down the coloring book and pick up the palette.

    Now, let's examine for a moment the rest of the article you quoted ... to my concern the most relevant part. It states that Agnes failed to mark intersecting lines in the cave. That may well have contributed to her death ... and it is, by far, the most serious breach of guidelines. Making a wrong turn in a cave is almost always a death sentence ... even when you realize you've done it unless you get very lucky. Here's another article that very accurately describes how it happens.

    Lost in a Cave: Becoming the Aware Cave Diver | SDI | TDI | ERDI

    The moral of that story as it applies to this thread is that awareness is the skill that needs to be second nature for the solo diver ... whether diving in an overhead or not. It needs to extend to both what's going on around you and what's going on inside of you. Until you've developed that skill to the point where it keeps your mind sharp even while you're enjoying the scenery or working through a problem, you shouldn't dive solo ... particularly not in an overhead environment.

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
    Chopperjockey and victorzamora like this.
  3. Foxfish

    Foxfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth, Australia
    Simple answer, if it is irrelevant, then why do it? My approach is to avoid entering any overhead environment that would require things like torches or guidelines which is obviously safer than entering the environment even with the required training and equipment.
  4. Jaydubya

    Jaydubya PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: NC
    It's the approach I would recommend most people take. I would never ever recommend someone become a cave diver. But if you find you are unable to resist the Siren's call of an overhead then get appropriate training. I'm getting near Abe Davis now (100 safe cave dives after full cave certification). As a full cave diver I am allowed to dive solo in some cave systems while the rules for some other systems forbid solo diving by anyone- even if you have a solo cave card. So far I have chosen not to dive caves solo even when allowed but I do wreck dive solo sometimes. I intentionally go places in wrecks where having a buddy has both pluses and minuses with regards to safety that need to be considered. I don't intentionally go to such places in the caves - there is so much else to see without adding to the risk - and when I find myself in a situation when the teammate is starting to become a liability I turn the dive, e.g. passage getting low and silty and nearing turn pressure. If others choose to do these cave dives solo after proper consideration of all the trade offs that is fine with me. We should all be big boys and girls at this level.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Foxfish likes this.
  5. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Kentucky
    Where did I say or imply it was irrelevant? No where. I only said "do you not want to put the odds in your favor?". I said nothing about relevancy. Stop putting in & reading things that are not there.
  6. Foxfish

    Foxfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Perth, Australia
    I'm saying in my opinion the course is irrelevant for the areas I dive. :wink:
  7. OtherHalf

    OtherHalf Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Virginia
    And you can further increase your safety by not diving. Training and experience serve to mitigate risk. They mitigate it, not eliminate it. There is always residual risk. If you don't want to dive in overhead environments, don't do it. But you seem intent to convince others not to, when they have done an analysis for themselves and mitigated the risk sufficiently for their own comfort and experience level. If you've decided its not for you, then don't go into overheads. No one is trying to convince you to, in fact most are telling you you're not in the right mental state to do so safely.

    Why do you care what others do under the water? Their diving habits pose no risk to you, so why worry yourself with it if you don't want to do it yourself?
  8. Dr. Lecter

    Dr. Lecter Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC/Honolulu
    That non-overhead diving is safer than overhead diving is true regardless of whether you're solo or not. In an overhead, especially a real overhead like a natural wreck, not having a buddy and having a buddy each have a very distinct set of risks...none of which are objectively worse than the others, which is why you are being hammered with the concept of personal choice by informed adults.

    For example, I believe that the inside of a deep, silty, tight, entanglement-filled wreck is the place a buddy is most inherently dangerous (especially if you prefer to dive a higher END) and that the gas redundancy they provide can be largely made up by carrying a larger, unshared reserve of my own plus maintaining sharp gas preservation skills and situational awareness during the dive. On the other hand, however, I have to accept that I will have to handle any hard to see/reach entanglements myself and without screwing my viz or losing my line, and that if I suffer a seizure or lose consciousness I will certainly die. Between the risks of a buddy, versus, the major benefit of another set of eyes/hands and minor benefit of someone to maybe get your seized/unconscious self out of a wreck and up a line through major deco...I make a choice I think best balances the risks. Others make different choices and choose a buddy, while others like you stay out of overheads entirely and thereby totally change the risk analysis of whether to solo.

    Not sure why this required almost 140 posts, but whatever.
    oldschoolto and Jaydubya like this.
  9. Trace Malinowski

    Trace Malinowski Cave Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Alexandria Bay, NY
    Solo cave diving is also one of my greatest pleasures. It fits my social preference to balance activities alone as well as to share them. There are times I like to hike with friends and other times I like to hike by myself. I feel the same need to dive with friends as I do to dive alone.

    From a safety standpoint unified teams are great because you have help, but you are also subjected to peer pressure or place pressure on yourself not to ruin a dive for the team. Alone, you lack added help, but you can decide how much risk you wish to take at any given moment and more easily be honest with yourself and adjust a dive accordingly.

    I grew up solo diving and then started my tech route with GUE. I learned what a real team was, but I also learned that team diving took away some of the fun. I went on to take NACD and TDI cave diving classes. My TDI instructor also taught the SDI solo class which we conducted in the overhead after I learned to stage dive in caves. That set me up for my first lesson about dropping your stage/buddy bottle at a restriction. "Why did you leave your buddy at the gate?" was asked on a slate after I left "BOB" in Vortex. My instructor stole him, entangled me in the guideline, and after I extracted myself from my spool at the restriction, I needed to do a lost buddy search to find "BOB." Lesson learned. Never leave your buddy bottle - unless you truly believe it to be 100% necessary. That just started the education process. You need to learn to think of equipment in different terms and allocate resources differently in solo overhead.

    After living in the Bahamas and solo diving in remote areas, I learned tricks to make solo cave diving safer by thinking through problems. How do I get up the 50 foot ladder at Owl Hole if I'm bent? Answer: Leave oxygen on the ladder. If I'm bent getting on O2 might help enough to climb. How do I do a proper bubble check? Answer: Cup my mask and create a poor man's mirror or use my signal mirror in my wetnotes. How do I thoroughly check regs while saving every bit of gas I can? Answer: Start dive and cycle regs while entering the overhead to verify are all working and breathe them long enough to be sure. What happens if my lights fail and I need to make over 50 directional changes? Answer: Chem light will provide enough light to more rapidly make correct decisions at T's, jumps, etc.

    After lots of solo cave experience and solo deco experience on nitrox and trimix gases, I created a PDIC Solo program for both OW and tech divers. The program allowed for qualified solo instructors to teach a solo class at the highest level of a student's training. So, a cave CCR student could take a solo cave CCR class from a Cave CCR instructor. Sometimes, the over all lesson is simply: Don't do this. But, until a student faces a situation with little or no way out, he doesn't know how easily the slope will slip and Murphy will show up with multiple problems.

    Divers often don't know what they don't know and should know. When it comes to solo diving first get trained for the environment and then ask yourself if you think seeking added solo training just to have someone throw monkey wrenches at your gears would be worth it?

    I dove sea caves in which we were beyond the daylight zone. For this reason, I think that cavern/intro to cave are minimum training requirements for sea cave diving. To go solo, you may wish to get full cave just to see the wizard. Solo diver certification is one of the best investments with an instructor who is experienced in wreck, cave and tech diving.
    Omisson, nakatomi, Foxfish and 2 others like this.
  10. diver 85

    diver 85 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: SW Louisiana
    Don't believe that diver's solo diving---unless he/she set up a motion activated 'trail' camera.....:)

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