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Why Don't you Have a Pony yet?...or ever

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by Cacia, May 2, 2006.

  1. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kihei, Maui
    Getting a rental tank in a North American or Caribbean resort location.

    The best I can tell, that is really the only downside to DIN.

    I don't see getting a fill of a DIN tank you own as likely to be a problem. It would be easy enough for you to verify with your preferred fill station before converting your tanks to DIN. Just remember that if you need an extra tank for some reason (such as forgetting to fill yours, or it is filled with too hot of a mix for the upcoming dive, etc.), don't have a yoke to DIN adaptor in your save-a-dive kit, and nobody has an extra DIN valve tank handy, that you'll have to borrow a regulator to go with the borrowed tank.

    Of course, if you are with a bunch of DIR buddies that all have DIN tanks, then everything works out nicely.
  2. Wayward Son

    Wayward Son Solo Diver

    I could also see a yoke reg increasing the risk of entanglement on a wreck penetration dive.
  3. deepwaterferret

    deepwaterferret Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Austin, Texas
    I dive with a pony, even with a buddy, because I dive in a low vis environment where it would be easy to lose your buddy in an emergency situation. When the **** hits the fan, I expect I may suddenly find myself solo.

    Problems with the pony: (1) it is a security blanket, gives false sense of security, and is not worth a damn if you forget to turn it on; (2) it throws off trim; (3) it can clutter up your BC and get in your way, especially if you carry it in front like tech divers do and don't have the routing and configurations all worked out to perfection.

    I usually strap it on to my main tank. That keeps the bottle out of way and all I have to worry about is where to attach its regulator.

    I learned the hard way to route the regulator and hose on the left, so it does not get confused with my primary and octo. Because all my regulators looked used to look the same, one time I started my dive breathing off the pony on accident. When I got to 120 feet five minutes or so into the dive, I was out of air. It scared the **** out of me. Fortunately, I did not panic and just grabbed my other air source, which was my main tank.

    More recently, a diver in my group ran out of air and came to me for assistance. I had a second pony rigged off to the side. It had no regulator and was just going to be used to put some air into a grotto that we intended to visit. I had never carried it that way before and it got in the way of my octo hose and made for a real challenging buddy breath with the octo all tangled. This was rather frightening at 60 feet and a good distance from shore. I could not see the tangle to fix it. Fortunately, the diver in need of air stayed cool and fixed it himself. We made it back to shore safe and sound, due in part to all the extra air I did have in my main pony. I still had plenty of air even with a buddy sharing my air for five to ten minutes.

    My conclusions: Pony bottles are dangerous until you get all the kinks worked out, then they are a big safety plus.
  4. super opus

    super opus Solo Diver

    yes they are very safe just jump in to a pool a few times or start diving doubles i dive doubles all the time i love the hell out of them i relay use single tanks now
  5. fire_diver

    fire_diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NW Oklahoma, USA
    1- If you forget to turn it on, then YOU failed to perform a proper predive check. ALWAYS REMEMBER THE 7 "P"s. It's not a security blanket, it's a security NET. It's there to "catch you" incase things get FUBAR.

    2- Not if you adjust your dive weights properly.

    3- "clutter" is in the eye of the beholder. I actually thought I might be getting a tad 'cluttered' until I saw a pict of a guy in full re-breather regaila while wearing a drysuit. pony configuration? thats why you play with 'em in the pool or shallows to get the kinks worked out before a TRUE dive. I certainly hope you're not making major changes in your gear and diving it without trial runs first. Thats a great way to become a statistic.


    wow, I just hit post 333. My fav number! Seems like last week that I hit post 100. My, how the post count doth fly!
  6. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    What fire diver said. My pony is not a security blanket. If I am of the mindset that I can push my limits on my primary gas or I can stay just a little longer or don't need to look at my guages as often then I have no business carrying one. I probably have no business soloing either.
    Now there are two schools of thought on turning it on. I've dove with those who turn theirs on and leave it on(usually back mount) and fasten the second somewhere on their body. It's ok for them as long as they don't bump the second hard and start a freeflow. Also if you back mount I suggest upside down to make it easier to reach the knob. I prefer to sling mine after back mounting for awhile for several reasons. First gearing up for me is easier. second I do not fasten the hoses to my body. They are held along the tank with a bungee stage style. I say they because I will on occaision use the pony to inflate a lift bag and if this is what I'm planning them I attach a spare lp inflator hose with a blowgun. The second stage is right next to the valve and always easy to reach and control. Having said this I therefore charge my reg and then shut the valve off. Being right in front of me it poses no problem to turn it on.
    By shifting a little weight or adjusting my bc the addition of a pony along with reel on opposite side, light cannister on opposite side but tank mounted, and adjusting my body position my trim does not seem to be affected at all. In fact because of the way our training platforms are set up where we dive I take every opportunity to play with my trim and how I react to changes in it. I do this by getting horizontal just off the platform and start removing and replacing equipment that is clipped on. ie; pony, reel(s), lift bag(s), lights, etc and see just how it affects my trim and what I need to do to correct it. I then start replacing these items and will once in awhile go thru the drill again but with my eyes closed. If you can't do it by feel then you need to rethink your configuration and when you come up with one that works never deviate from it in principle. I may change some of the things I carry depending on the dive but items of tha same or similar use are always in the same place.
    If you feel that you are too cluttered you probably are or need to adjust your configuration. I say you because what may look cluttered to someone else may be your ideal setup. Or may be what you require to do the dive. jump reels, backup lights, spare mask, or a couple bags may seem like too much to someone who is just going to swim over the wreck. But if you are going to penetrate then they are essential. And remember what you carry is determined by you and your level of training.
    And finally, when I dive solo or with a buddy I never dive with the idea that some one is going to save my butt or be there for every little problem. That is the problem today. Too many people think of a buddy as a security blanket. I am responsible for my own safety, the buddy is responsible for his. I will assist if needed or asked. But I don't push my limits because I have a buddy. And if you are carrying something that gets in the way of your safety because of configuration or unfamiliarity with it you have no business carrying it that way or at all. Solo diving is a mindset more so than a gear issue. That mindset involves attittude, training, experience, good judgement, and plain old common sense.
  7. jim T.

    jim T. Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Washington State/San Juan Islands
    I've asked this elsewhere,but what techniques/covers are used on a slung pony/bail out bottle to avoid accidental purging once the hose is charged? It seems like it would be relatively easy to bump the purge occasionally? Want to avoid water getting up and into the lst stage.
    Thank You
  8. Doc Intrepid

    Doc Intrepid Instructor, Scuba


    Periodically turn valve on, then back off.

    No worries.

  9. jim T.

    jim T. Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Washington State/San Juan Islands
    Hi Doc,
    Thanks for your rapid response. Could you please clarify a bit for me? Should I turn the valve on and off periodically before or only after an accidental purge? Does water get into the lst stage immediately upon having an accidental purge?
    Thanks! I'll be starting my lst pony practice drill dives this week.
  10. dherbman

    dherbman Instructor, Scuba

    Doc lives for updates to this thread.:wink:

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