Monday, January 18, 2010

Trimming out my Hammerhead

I spent a couple of hours in the pool today tweaking my Hammerhead CCR setup so that I was happier with my trim for cave diving.  I have just recently started using the Golemgear sidemount bungee in conjunction with the GG buttplate.  I have been using the buttplate for years, but have always used Dive Rite bungees.  The GG bungees are a little different and cause the tanks to ride a little farther down my body.  

I really like where the tanks ride now, but it causes my trim to be a little butt heavy, so thus the time I spent in the pool today.  I think I have about got it where I need it now, but I won't know for sure until I try it with a wetsuit and then a drysuit.  

I like the GG bungees because the tanks don't clutter up my chest like the ones I was previously using.  I have to reach a little farther for the bailout regs, gauges and valve knobs, but it is way more comfortable!  I really do like it.  I'm sure once I get the trim dialed in, I will be completely happy!  (that is until I find another new option! )  Seems like there is always something to tweak when it comes to diving CCR, but I think that is half of the fun - messing around with this stuff!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fun Times at the Crater Yesterday

Josh, Michael and I went up to the Crater yesterday to do some practicing on our CCR Trimix team procedures.  We spent a couple of hours doing drills and working through various scenarios.  Even though all of this stuff should be 2nd nature, it is always useful to practice it within the confines of the actual team that will be diving together.

Obviously, all of us know the procedures as well as the fundamentals and reasoning behind the procedures, but it is helpful to work on making the execution as smooth as possible within the actual team.  Doing deep Trimix dives require excellent coordination between team members, and attention to detail.  We have been practicing not only emergency procedures for when something goes wrong, but also simple things like communication skills, situational awareness, team planning and specific goal oriented tasks.

Of course as a father and  sons team, we are obviously close and used to diving together frequently, but honing these types of drills, skills and procedures helps us all to be better divers and more specifically function much better as a team!  When you are doing big dives, everyone has to be on the same exact page or unfortunate things can happen!

On the lighter side, after we got finished with our drills and practicing, we buzzed around on a Salvo scooter which was a lot of fun.  Josh decided to give it a go while free diving and buzzed a PADI OW class that was going on much to the delight of the students and aggravation of their instructor!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Deep Air

This is a reprint of a post I made on Deco Stop recently.  The past few days there have been a couple of different arguments going on on the dive forums concerning how deep people should be diving before they squirt a little Helium in their mix.  

I love these "Deep Air" discussions because they usually end up being quite entertaining!

My own experience with deep air requires me to look at each and every diving scenario and make a "hopefully educated" decision as to what is appropriate for the environment and mission in which I will find myself.

Obviously, warm, clear, calm, open water environments are much more forgiving than cold, limited viz, overhead environments. I would suggest that each diver needs to use his own judgement based on experience to gage what is appropriate for himself or the team. Until said diver has sufficient experience to make educated decisions about what is appropriate, dogmatic lines drawn in the sand (END limits) are necessary to keep young divers alive until they learn how to make appropriate decisions.

I really, really, really hate hard fast rules with this stuff, because I consider most of them to be impractical, but I do understand why some instructors approach this in such a dogmatic way with students. It helps keep them alive! What I don't understand is why any student would just accept a rule as the "gospel truth" without having a very good understanding of why it is the rule and then having verified it based upon personal experience. I'm not suggesting that we go out and do something stupid just to verify, but there are lot's of different philosophies out there and sometimes DIR or whatever doesn't necessarily trump DIL (Done it Longer!)

Learn why rules are being suggested and then through personal study and experience, gradually figure out what is appropriate for you and your team in various scenarios. Anything less, is just blindly following something that may or may not be appropriate.

Just my $.02