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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Playing in the Pool

We had a good time in the pool last night. Since it's now been 6 months since we've dove and we've also had our equipment serviced in that span of time, Todd and I found it necessary to prepare for our next dive trip (Turks & Caicos!!!) by going to the pool to play and check everything out. It was a good time and everything checked out fine.

The activity that we decided to play with is a bailout. Basically, you take all of your equipment and throw it over your arms. Everything is broken down except your regulator is attached to your tank and you are breathing off of it. However, you're not wearing any of your equipment (no mask, no fins), and you have to sink to the bottom, put it together and put it on. Todd did this as part of his training (he was certified by a more hard core agency than I was), but I had never done it. I figured, what the heck, it was worth a try as long as I wasn't playing with it in open water.

So, I looped everything over my arms and jumped in. I admit, it's a panicky feeling being underwater with no mask on when that's what you're used to. I had to calm down and remember I was ok because there was air for me to breathe. I got my mask on (although I was still holding everything, which made it a PITA to clear my hair out of the mask.

The problem with the whole experiment was that when you do this in training, you have a weight belt. You put the weight belt on, and then you sink to the bottom and you can do everything fine. Well, I have a weight-integrated BC, which means that I have nothing to weigh me down. I would calm down and hug my BC and I would sink. However, I needed to let go of the BC to hook it up to the tank and then I would float back up again. I'm very buoyant, as I carry personal flotation devices on my chest at all times (this is NOT a lie, I can do fin pivots and all kinds of buoyancy skills, but I roll backward to the chest-up position each time I attempt to do the Indian style position that Todd's always doing).

So, the buoyancy was an issue. The next problem was that my tank strap on my BC is set very tight. I have a habit of setting my tank too loose and then it comes off during a dive, so I set it very tight so that this won't happen. This makes it hard to slip it over a tank, but that's not an issue above water. Well, it's an issue under water. I couldn't get the strap over my tank, and then I would float to the surface. I could have loosened the strap, but it was set perfectly for my usual diving and it just didn't seem worth it.

So there. I didn't quite do it. I finally surfaced and we retrieved my gear and I put it on above water. It was still a fun experiment, but I'm going to have to figure out what the best practice is for doing it with a weight-integrated BC. Maybe I will post on scubaboard. Or... I can see if I can get a hold of a rental BC and weight belt to try it with. As silly as it sounds, I hate to mess up how my equipment is set up for just this little experiment. Maybe I can try it with just a weight belt with no weight in my BC and see how that works. We shall see at my next time in the pool (unless I get brave and decide to try it on the sand in Turks & Caicos, but then I've got current and surge to deal with). Nevertheless, I will do it eventually... you never know when a dive boat will be overrun with pirates and I'll need to grab my gear and a tank and jump in the water with it. Those pirates won't get ME!!!


foxdeath said...

The rules of doing a bail-out (according to me):

1. The first time is never going to be pretty so just accept that. It is an awkward thing to do underwater.

2. The exercise is meant to make you feel uncomfortable in the water so that you realize the golden rule... if you have air, you are okay.

3. You will probably need to improvise to get the task accomplished, this will make you feel good when you finally get it down and you will feel more confident later.

4. This is an exercise that you never want to do in the real world. I would only suggest it in a controlled environment like a pool.

5. You should question the idiot that ever taught you that there is such a procedure and wonder what his malfuction is.


foxdeath said...

This guy did it, but already had the BCD attached to the tank... which is a little bit of a cheat.

Kim said...

"The first time is never going to be pretty so just accept that. It is an awkward thing to do underwater."

I disagree. It IS pretty... if your definition of pretty is Diver upside down, attached to tank by regulator hose in mouth, finless feet kicking at the surface, bc dangling from arm, fins sitting uselessly nearby.

You should have had your camera at the pool.... lol!

Although, I don't think I did a bad job for my first try, with equipment that wasn't quite right. I was also using half the weight in my BC that I was using in Little Cayman (freshwater + fat loss), and everyone in the pool was watching me so I was nervous. Or, I felt like everyone in the pool was watching me.

Kim said...

"This guy did it, but already had the BCD attached to the tank... which is a little bit of a cheat."

Not only that, but he had a weight belt on already. I could have done that easy. The ONLY hard part of that is putting on your mask.

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