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Why extra air when solo?

Discussion in 'Solo Divers' started by pauldw, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. markmud

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

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
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    Thanks for responding!

    You also bring up a good point. And now I will stray OT (again). Let's talk about stigma's in the diving world.

    Solo diving was verboten by the leaders of recreational diving until TDI created a certification for it. Nitrox was considered voodoo gas by training agencies until a few brave souls in a certification agency pushed for a cert. Even though there are now certs for these things, they are still stigmatized, to some degree, to this day. There was a thread recently about the value of nitrox here on scubaboard (I am paraphrasing the theme of the thread). The consensus was that Nitrox is really beneficial for repetitive diving and that it may make you feel better after a day's worth of diving. Wookie's chamber visits dropped to zero when he offered only nitrox to his guests.

    Dive pros said it was against their rules.

    How many times have you been called an air hog, either politely or point blank, because you have a pony? That 19 cf is "death-in-can". That 13 cf is "death-in-can." That 6 cf is "death-in-can". How many times have you heard that? I have heard it all.

    How many times have you heard that a pony can't travel on a jetliner? Mine have been on many jetliners. But, but, you will have to take the valve off and then the VIS is no good...so what? If you uncork it, FOD may get in the tank? So, clean it out before you cork-it again.

    The scuba world is full of people who have some training and consider their knowledge of rules to be superior to the skill and training of others (dive pros usually).

    My Tech 40 instructor said that slinging a 6 cf is really no different than slinging a 30 cf or 40 cf in the water--in terms of buoyancy and feel. As usual, he was right on. While in the water, you really don't notice it. On land while carrying it down to the waters edge you feel it. In the eyes of people that you dive with, yes you feel it because some will jeer or snicker.

    Short answer, stigmatized. And some don't feel the need. Well maintained gear does not fail catastrophically very often, or hardly ever. On a benign dive in relatively shallow water, you won't need it to save your life, more than likely.

    Don't ask for your opinion to be validated on scubaboard. Do what is right for you. Figure out what you are doing and then dive what makes you feel comfortable.

    Well put Bob. For the money, some dive pros will overlook a rule or two and accept your OW and 25 logged dives in the quarry. But a solo cert, no way!

    cheers,
    markm
     
  2. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
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    And the bigger issue, in my mind, is not taking the time to also train a diver to understand why this rule makes sense and under what conditions one might use their judgement to nudge their limits safely. Once a diver has been trained by catchphrase, then they see others ignoring the rules, they know the rule is BS, just like their easy OW class, and at that point have no context to make a good decision.

    There are still instructors that take longer to teach and develop good divers, but It will not be a quick cheap class through Grupon.

    You have to realize that there have been solo SCUBA divers since the beginning of SCUBA, without classes (until 2001), and have gotten along quite nicely. The respect should be there for divers that have been safely diving since before an agency started making money off the training. As for a wide avenue of discussion, we are in the solo thread, once hidden as an opt in forum due to the prejudice of agencies and divers.
    DAN first lumped separated buddy divers with solo divers for accidents, implying both were unsafe. They backed off that when their data was used to show solo diving was safer than buddy diving.


    Bob
     
  3. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
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    For me, being obviously solo equipped is responsible of me when I enter the water alone around students and new divers. Or talk about diving solo. This avoids making their instructors' jobs harder or encouraging yahoo behavior from new divers. I've been a DM candidate, we're supposed to be role models. Which is a good standard for all experienced divers, as new divers watch us.

    About my risk, I dive mostly above 50' and often above 20', but under kelp and half the time on remote shores. Yes, there are decent odds I could Mike Nelson my way to the surface. I'm fit, coordinated, experienced, and fairly panic resilient. Not sure why I need to stack the deck to need to do that. I'd much rather think 'Hmm, well, that's odd', switch regs, sort things out, and amble back up.

    I love my sidemount 40 or 50s, though they're still more work on land. My manifolded 40s are the weight of an AL80 assuming a bit of lead, as simple on land as a single tank except an extra first stage, and I think nicer than a single underwater. Diving solo from my own boat, and worried about sidemount, they would be the deal, or double 50s. They are more drag than sidemount. Though some suggest less drag than a comparable single, but I haven't tested that enough. Sidemount is too much fun.

    If I'm solo and couldn't have my side or back mount doubles, I'd sling a pony of varied size for anything but 20' over sand. Same reasons as above. If I'm in a group and some ignorant diver or dive op thinks I'm a terrible diver or air hog because of redundancy, that ends a minute after we hit the water or when they ask about pressures and I've barely used any, unless they're really thick headed.

    Yeah, for 20' over sand, I've no limiting N2 loading and no entanglement risk so I'm safe with no redundancy, but it sends an inconsistent message to new divers. Who very much may need a buddy in that same spot, or miss the 20' over sand part. Fighting for my god given right to dive how I want, free of a pony, or free of comparable doubles that may actually be more streamlined, at 20' over sand seems odd.
     
    markmud and jeffsky29 like this.
  4. jeffsky29

    jeffsky29 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Delray Beach, Florida
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    I never wait for others to do something, if I am 99.9% sure I am making a wise decision. But, I am always open to learning. I know this can be considered a dangerous sport/hobby. But if I can improve my chance of surviving a **** hits the fan moment, and still enjoy the sport, then why not? When I go back country powder skiing, I wear an avalanche beacon. I know the chance of being found are is still slim, but it is better than the skier with no beacon!

    To be clear, I am not telling everyone to dive with xtra air when solo. It is your choice, which is what many like about solo diving - self reliance, using best judgement, etc...

    What am I overlooking?
     
    markmud likes this.
  5. Divectionist

    Divectionist Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Gold Coast, Australia
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    When has what 'everyone does' ever been a reliable measure to base your own decisions on?
     
    Bob DBF, Ana, markmud and 2 others like this.
  6. Ana

    Ana Solo Diver

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    Ok you don't have to respect me, actually I'm out of line asking you or anyone else what to do.

    I started diving before getting certified, when I got certified I learned that agencies don't look kindly to solo. But I also learned a few things in Catholic school that I discarded right away, so maybe I'm just a selective learner. Not going to justify my ways.. the subject came on and I described my typical diving, not to get a blessing from the board but to present alternate ways.
    Statements like "everyone does this or that" make me think of cattle, but that's just me.

    Decades after I started diving the "solo" training began. I don't have that certification, I've read the content of the training and about their requirements. It is peachy as far as I'm concerned.

    I would never criticize anyone for following those guidelines... But I'm not going to adopt them now.
    I dive on reefs 45 minutes to an hour from my backyard, out of my boat the way I like to dive, so really there's little to no chance for anyone to withhold respect for me face to face. I'm ok with posters on scubaboard not respecting me. It has happened once or 10 times before.
     
  7. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
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    Scubaboard is a great resource for diving information, but it does not represent the real world. Most divers have never heard of Scubaboard.
    I was looking through my logbooks and realized that I have had several dozen dive buddies over the past few decades. Only two of them carry a pony bottle. One has only been diving a few years and the other uses his pony to extend dives. My current dive friends, about a dozen, all dive solo. None have ponies or depth limits. The only diver I know who has ever run out of air, and has done it multiple times is the one who extends his dives with a pony. I'll stick to maintaining my gear and watching my spg.
     
    BlueTrin, Ana and Bob DBF like this.
  8. markmud

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

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

    I agree with your opinion for yourself. You are a very accomplished diver who knows what you are doing. Please, I am not being critical, I just want more information.

    In MaxBottomtime's world, do you mostly dive off your own boat with your dive friends?

    Do you only use a single tank when you or your dive friends dive to say, 150 fsw or 200 fsw? Or, do use a single tank when you extend a dive beyond NDL, either relatively shallow or deep (by recreational standards)?

    Or, are you diving manifolded twinsets?

    Do you dive sidemount?

    I am trying to get a feel for the type of diving you do.

    Your data is clearly anecdotal evidence, so I am interested in "diving" into your numbers so we can make some better conclusions. And, for the record, most all of the information given on this thread is anecdotal, we all do it--I am not being critical of you or anyone else.

    thanks,
    markm
     
  9. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
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    When I made dives beyond recreational depths it was with manifolded doubles and 40 cu ft deco bottles. It wasn't specifically for the safety factor as much as the amount of gas needed to complete the dive. I follow a rule of not diving deeper than the cubic feet of gas I carry plus ten percent. I won't go below 110 feet with a single 100 cu ft tank. These days I dive mostly with a single 130 or a 119 with nearly all dives being shallower than eighty feet.

    If I extend my ndl with a single tank on a shallow dive, it is only by a minute or two. I dive nitrox for the extend ndls and don't make more than two dives a day from my own boat. When I go on a dive vacation I make three dives a day with a few hours of surface interval between.
     
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  10. markmud

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

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: South Lebanon, Ohio
    1,253
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    Thanks Max,

    That clarifies things greatly.

    Are you still diving Point Vicente and Palos Verdes off your boat?

    A lot of your dive buddies are regulars on your boat, right?

    Your logic for deciding what equipment to dive with is good--food for thought. I like the single 100 cf tank having a depth limit of 110'. In SoCal, I do the same thing, except I had not thought of it that way.

    cheers,
    markm
     

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