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Spin Off of the Accident & Incident Discussion - Northernone - aka Cameron Donaldson

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by Ana, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver


    A ScubaBoard Staff Message...

    Interesting discussion of solo diving that evolved in the Accident & Incident thread Accident & Incident Discussion - Northernone - aka Cameron Donaldson

    Please post anything related to solo diving, but not the incident here.

    I bought this tank weight in the 80's, only used it a few times but kept it because of the warning label.

    I dive solo, I don't use redundant gear, I own enough gear, but choose to do my dives without redundancy. I believe my risk is going through the inlet traffic with other boaters, more than during the dive. For me I have what I need when I splash.
    Maybe he figured he had what he needed.

    There's one thing I learned from this. It is too late for me but for all the young people out there: "be nice"
    If this would've happened to me, the response would've been quite different in all matters. Maybe someone out there would thrown a good luck, but that's about it.
    Being nice was never a priority for me, I believed in accuracy, honesty and respect. But that formula won't produce the outpouring help this young man is getting.
    The story is on going...after they find him the conclusion will be that the best thing he did was to be a nice enough person to everyone that made them continue searching.

    Attached Files:

  2. Kay Dee

    Kay Dee Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Here, there, and everywhere
    No offense meant Mark, but while the second part of your above post is spot on, the initial part re 'the need for a trained buddy' is misplaced. Solo diving is an accepted practice and those doing so hopefully know the risks (and except them) and carry the required safety "if the smelly stuff hits the fan" equipment. If they aren't carrying the right equipment then maybe they weren't trained correctly (I don't want to comment directly on Cameron's case as I have no idea what he was or was not carrying.)

    I (and many folks I know) regularly dived (deep) solo for years and years and years in remote locations in Asia. For at least half of my diving career I dived solo (on a CCR) and often with a scooter. I may have gone in the water with other people at times, but even if I did then 90% of the time, immediately upon entering the water, went my own way (as did others).

    In my opinion being dependent on, or relying too much on the so-called buddy system, especially if 'tech diving' can put you on the highway to hell. But that's just my opinion, as is yours re "needing a buddy".
  3. markmud

    markmud Self Reliant Diver--On All Dives. ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    Hi Kay Dee,

    You and I disagree. Totally.

    I am a dedicated solo diver. I am a recreational diver. I have taken a tec 40 cert class.

    No, solo diving in those conditions to beyond recreational limits, while planning on incurring some deco, is beyond recreational solo diver accepted practice.

    Doing something risky, over and over again, does not make a person immune to the dangers of that endeavor. Luck is luck. Tec Diving protocols are reasonable and have evolved because of the loss of many lives.

    We as a community have learned these lessons before. And now, we are learning these lessons again.

    @Wookie: Should this dive have been performed with a surface support vessel above with a trained crew aboard?

    Respect the ocean, or it will hurt you,
  4. Kay Dee

    Kay Dee Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Here, there, and everywhere
    Well, again with all due respect, if that is your level of experience, then maybe with more experience you will change your ways / way of thinking.

    And while it may be "beyond recreational solo diver accepted practice" it certainly isn't for so-called technical or deeper diving. It is a totally accepted practice in some circles by many people.

    So yes, we will have to agree to disagree, totally.
  5. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    ^ THIS!

    While I do admit that when we enter the realm of technical diving we begin to enter a grey area of what forms of help "MIGHT" be possible, there is at least some possibility. Doing technical diving intentionally solo is eliminating that possibility completely.

    MargaritaMike, abnfrog and markmud like this.
  6. Kay Dee

    Kay Dee Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Here, there, and everywhere
    As it's been many many years since I taught a tech course, is - as Mark seems to imply - there now a depth limit after which it is frowned upon to dive solo by the agencies teaching tech diving courses? (This is a genuine question on my part, not jus a throw-away line.)
    MargaritaMike and markmud like this.
  7. boulderjohn

    boulderjohn Technical Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boulder, CO
    As Kay Dee says, there is a huge difference in attitude regarding these dives between the recreational world and the technical world. It can perhaps best be described by something I experienced a few years ago. I was on a recreational dive with a boat I knew well with a crew that knew me well. I was a single diver, and the DM on board made sure I was set up with a buddy for that dive. Fine. The next day I was on the same boat with the same crew, but this time we were doing a technical dive. That same DM had no problem letting me do the dive solo.

    For most recreational divers, what Cameron did was beyond the pale, something at the cutting edge of diving. For a diver of his training and experience, it was a routine dive, nothing to get excited about. Technical divers regularly do dives like that all around the world.
    eleniel, Bob DBF, shoredivr and 13 others like this.
  8. Kay Dee

    Kay Dee Barracuda

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Here, there, and everywhere
    Sadly enough, without meaning to be morbid, thats what we / I thought of folks like Sheck Exley, Rob Palmer, Steve Berman, etc, etc; and several of my closer friends, unfortuately. Bad things happen to good people / divers, again, unfortunately.
  9. Joneill

    Joneill Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: New Jersey, USA
    To me, it's not about anything being beyond the pale. Regardless of one's training and experience (Tec or Rec), diving solo with no surface support in areas known for strong currents and up/down currents is quite risky! Heck, even buddy diving in those conditions is risky. A more experienced Tec diver might be better prepared to survive what they might encounter - but only to a limit. However, each of us makes our own decisions on what risks we are willing to take when we dive, so not passing judgement on anyone here.
    Steve_C and markmud like this.
  10. tomfcrist

    tomfcrist NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Virginia, USA
    As far as solo tech diving goes, it’s not unheard of...and honestly is the norm in most places I’ve been. “Same ocean Buddy” system at best for the most part. There are more team oriented circles, and in my experience they are the exception...

    Solo tech diving next to a 1000 ft trench? Not my idea of a good choice, but who am I to judge?

    The reality of risk management is that there will always be residual risk...even in the most benign environment.

    I keep reading that Cam was supremely confident in his ability to overcome any issue conceivable underwater. I think we all know that mindset can be a critical error. Overconfidence can lead us down some nasty rabbit holes.

    Even though he was young and fit, I can think of a dozen medical issues that could almost instantly incapacitate a diver without warning...and they happen to people who least expect it...

    As tech divers we all know that the level of inherent risk is high. A lot of us have seen bad stuff happen to divers...and often to very competent ones. There are no free passes...nobody is exempt.

    The point is, we will never know what happened to Cam unless we find him. If he made it to the surface, he may still be out there. If he didn’t and was negative enough...we will probably never know...because nobody is finding a diver in 1000’ of open water.

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