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Solo skills to practice?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by gr8jab, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    8,983
    2,833
    113
    Those yellow trash bags are genius. I'm going to find myself a box
     
    vovanx likes this.
  2. gr8jab

    gr8jab Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Oregon, USA
    626
    370
    63
    I'm going to make one of those trash bag kits too!

    But, from the OP... Here's what happened:

    While at Cocoview, I hooked up with an instructor for a 'refresher' dive. Here's what we did:

    1. Gear location practice - while underwater at 60 feet, I practiced the hand motions (three times: once eyes open, once eyes closed, and once without mask):
      1. Dive knife usage
      2. Cutting tool usage
      3. Pony tank valve opening
      4. Pony regulator retrieval and breathing.
    2. Swam for 3 minutes, maintaining depth, without mask.
    3. Replaced and cleared mask
    4. Practiced switching to pony tank for real.
    5. Practiced manual inflation of BCD while breathing from pony
    6. Practiced deployment of DSMB
    7. Practiced ascent on DSMB line, with safety stop.
    8. Practiced manual inflation of BCD at surface
      1. Using air from atmosphere
      2. Using air from my regulator
    Observations/learnings

    1. My dive knife is under the slung pony bottle. I can get to it easily with my left hand, but it is a long reach for my right arm. Maybe move it.
    2. My ears are great for sensing depth deviations. I stayed within 2 feet of my starting depth while swimming without my mask.
    3. Since I use 'Frog Spit' as a defog, and it seems to work differently than other defog, I had an annoying mask fogging problem after the Frog Spit washed out.
    4. I usually use my octo to inflate my DSMB. I should practice using my primary 2nd stage, as it is a little harder.
    5. Manual BCD inflation from the atmosphere at the surface is annoying. I had to kick up, inhale, & inflate BCD in a coordinated rhythm. Would be easier if I dumped my weights (as in real emergency).
    6. I hate carrying a snorkel, but being on the surface in some chop and an empty tank would suck without one.
    Next time maybe I'll add:

    BCD off/on underwater, with some pretend gear adjustment
    Lost fin swimming
    Breathe pony to zero
     
    markmud, Fastmarc and couv like this.
  3. 73diver

    73diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    103
    52
    28
    I agree. I was really OOA only once (crazy busy day and I had redundant air) and fortunately there was plenty of warning. Initially the reg seemed a bit harder to breathe but I could still take full breaths. With my steel tank there was also an interesting sound or tone during inhalation of the last couple of breaths. I’m glad I experienced it. I don’t feel the need to practice it. I dive sidemount. For my regular solo practice, I deploy the DSMB and ascend using it as the reference hands free. I also do valve drills. I usually dive in 40F water. I’ve done the maskless swims for Solo, Adv. Nitrox/Deco, Trimix, etc. in 40F water. Being without a mask in 40F water is painful and I consider it too risky to practice solo. I always carry a spare mask but I don’t practice mask drills unless I have a fully briefed attentive buddy nearby.
     
    markmud likes this.
  4. lermontov

    lermontov Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: christchurch
    764
    327
    63
    what about getting your buddy to entangle you slightly and then try and get yourself untangled without losing buoyancy - use old line so you can cut it at will. try it in a silty area too
    also find a spot where you can get a reel messed up and then sort it out without getting more entangled or cutting the line- work out a system where you have to unwind it with creating a birds nest - i think line work is a very underrated skilled and dealing with a tangle when solo is crucial
     
  5. Basking Ridge Diver

    Basking Ridge Diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Jersey
    1,898
    922
    113
    I am curious do you only vacation dive? You and I have similar cold water environments and I find that I can do almost any drill in bare hands. Put on cold water gloves and those tasks become much more difficult due to lack of dexterity.
    So where I am headed is if you do dive in other than tropical water put on a pair of 7mm gloves or dry gloves and everything will become more difficult. Including stowing a regulator hose, replacing your mask, almost everything you can think of...
    But then again - you may want to try it anyway and see how well you do and that is what practice is all about.
     

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