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Thinking to go Solo - some questions

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by stepfen, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
  2. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    Since I'm doing the dive, my experience would be the overiding factor in deciding on how I dive.

    Standards and best practices let people that can barely swim learn to dive, certify them to deep dive (130') in 12 dives, and allows instructors to ignore standards when training. It all sounds good on paper though.

    The surface is the only truly redundant and unlimited air supply, any redundant gas one carries does not save one, it only gives time to think. If that thought was used before and during the dive, from my experience, issues will be avoided.

    As far as best practices:

    Which gives an example of how to make diving perfectly safe. It's common knowledge that three is two, two is one, and one is none, so carry four or more. Personally I would have divers trained more thoroughly, rather than trained by catchphrase.

    Who will carry a pony, if it is needed for the dive.
  3. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    What are the catchphrases you are referring to?
  4. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
  5. stepfen

    stepfen Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Greece
    Hello again,
    First, sorry for igniting again such hot discussions (pony/no pony, sling/back mount, doubles/singles etc). It was not my intention, and please do me a favor and keep it calm. I am open to any suggestions and I do consider all of them - after all nothing is perfect and EVERYTHING has at least some disadvantages. Now some clarifications:
    - I've been to 100ft(30m) maybe 5 times in total. My absolute max depth is 32m(106ft?) and I don't see any reason going there or any further at least for now. My first solo dives were around 30-50ft(10-15m) without alternative air source. Worst case, I think I can manage CESA from these depths (I can freedive to 30ft(10m) without weights). Of course a CESA is the very last think anyone of us would want to do, hence I want to have one more alternative - mostly to be able to handle gear failures (I'm quite good at estimating and monitoring my gas). I also want to be able to safely dive solo around 80ft(25m) at some point (not necessarily immediately) but not much more than that (max 100ft/30m maybe - anyway to find these depths here without a boat one needs to swim a lot).
    - Thanks to everybody suggesting side mount or doubles etc, but for me right now these are out of question. The reason is that I just "finished" buying and getting used to the gear I use (actually I've paid/ordered my steel tank few days ago but haven't received it yet!). It took me 3 years/150 dives to settle and obtain these and I want to enjoy my current rig before I move to something drastically different. Changing my diving style, just after I finally managed to settle on it is a big NO for me! I am not saying that SM or doubles are not good, on the contrary - but it is not the right time for me to consider them.

    So for now a 19cf(3lt) or maybe a bit bigger pony (slung or backmount, al or steel - haven't decided yet) sounds the best solution to me.
    Thanks for all the info once more!
  6. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    Funny thing. On this last trip to Bonaire my $300 Hollis 500SE crapped the bed and started leaking. LDS says much bucks for a rebuild and it will still be less than totally reliable. Going back to my Cressi XS2 - sub $100 and has been dead on reliable at any depth and any temperature.
    markmud likes this.
  7. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    Hi @stepfen

    Interesting, wide ranging thread, as often happens on SB

    So, you want to get solo trained/certified. That's a good idea, for your safety, and if it is required to solo dive. As solo diving appears not to be allowed in your current two diving locations, the former seems more important for now. You never know though, perhaps you will expand where you dive and the certification will allow you to do so.

    The training criteria from the various agencies, SDI, PADI, SSI, IANTD appears to be quite similar and I would imagine all are adequate. It is often debated whether they are equally recognized, I do not have the answer to that question. SDI's certification name, Solo Diver, has always seemed a little more direct than Self Reliant Diver, Independent Diving, or Self Sufficient Diver. I have the SDI cert and it has always been accepted by operators allowing solo diving with certification.

    Choice of redundant gas is a personal one. Again, several acceptable alternatives. I chose a 19 cubic foot aluminum pony, more than adequate gas for any recreational dive for me. I sling it, it is always on, I have a SPG on it with a short hose. The regulator, valve, and SPG are right in front of me. It is about 2 pounds negative when full and a little under a pound negative when empty. I generally do not adjust my weighting, and don't notice it. If I carry an odd amount of weight, the extra goes on the right.

    Solo generally does not include deco, and it would require recalculating your gas requirement, easy enough to do.
    Lostdiver71, Alekath, T Mogle and 4 others like this.
  8. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Tacoma, WA & Channel Islands, CA- USA
    +1 for what @scubadada just said - ^^ Glad he beat me to it.
    markmud and scubadada like this.
  9. markmud

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

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

    I think you have made rational choices that suite your style and type of diving!

    Good luck and dive safe,
  10. Darcimus

    Darcimus ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
    I find my 40 cf pony (slung on the right side because I dive an i3 BC) works for me. For now. I've practiced ascents in pool, and will practice ascents from about 35 feet this summer. My overall goal is wreck diving in BC and in the Great Lakes, at about 100 ffw, so I'd prefer more air over say a 20 or 30 cf pony. My SAC/RMV dictate a bigger pony, which doesn't bother me because it doesn't affect my trim (the AL40) that much and I'd rather have more than less.

    Can't wait for SM training though. Be nice to have two AL80's instead of one AL80 and one AL 40. Wife has to approve that expense though......and we're looking at a new house (with a triple car garage =D ).....so it might not happen this year. :(
    markmud likes this.

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