I have been so damn busy recently with maintaining my Dive God status and being utterly perfect, that I have not had an opportunity to pull one of my well publicized f**k ups. Well, let me tell you that has been corrected in a most outstanding manner.
I am going to keep actual names out of this in order to prevent anyone getting their panties in a bunch or me having to come back and redact the hell out of my post in order to prevent bloodshed. I just don’t much care what other say or think about me or my diving and will be brutally honest about it.
Three of us were planning to do some exploration in a deep cave system. It is not a new system to any of us and the dive was well planned out and been in the works for over a year now. One open circuit support diver was going to shuttle several of our staged bailout tanks for my other rebreather buddy. My buddy and I would each drop one stage tank further into the system. This was all meant to happen on day one in order to get the big dive setup for the next day. The plan was for me to lead in a specific direction and stop at a designated location for my buddy to drop his stage tank. We would then continue further so that I could drop the last stage tank.
This plan had to be slightly modified when my buddy was not feeling very good and did not particularly want to do that big of a dive for the first day. He decided that I would continue solo after his stage drop and he would turn around and exit at that point. I was perfectly fine with this and agreed to the new plan.
We geared up and were ready to begin the dive. Everything was going off without a hitch and confidence was high. We took off to the entrance and stopped to verify the oxygen, 50%, and 32% tanks along the way. We signaled each other with the OK sign and I took off in the lead.
I might want to mention that at about 70 of depth I was starting to have a bit of a fuzzy head, if that is understandable. It was not anything that was of any concern to me and I did not give it any further thought. I did seem to be having a very difficult time getting enough gas into my drysuit and wing.
As I was scootering along, I was still having a very difficult time with maintaining my buoyancy. Every time that I let of the trigger to check, I was negative and needed more gas and my suit was constantly reminding me that it was demanding some gas too. I was a full 5 minutes into the dive and 231’ before I had this sorted and was comfortable. I was experiencing the “wah wah’s” as I call them of being deep and narced. I didn’t see this as possible with the amount of helium that was in my mix though.
Up until this point, I was not clear of exactly where I was and nothing looked quite right to me. I figured it was due to the limited visibility or something. Just now came the mind shattering discovery of not seeing a light behind me. I turned and headed back as fast as I could to see what was wrong with my buddy. I had absolutely no recollection of ever seeing his light and really did not want to deal with his wrath of my lack of situational awareness.
I found him back at the last stage bottle and we did the ok signal again just as I realized that I had gone the wrong direction. S**t, I will never hear the end of this one, was my main thought as I once again headed of to lead the dive. This time I went the right direction though and immediately noticed that there was not a light behind me. There was no way in hell that I was about to pull that same stunt again and went back to see what the problem was. I was almost to my buddy when I hear something and turned to see my buddy coming up behind me on his scooter. My brain was so clouded that I could not tell the difference between my buddy on a rebreather and a much bigger guy on open circuit and blowing bubbles.
The usual middle finger and cussing through the DSV followed and I could do nothing but hang my head in shame.
Now, I began the dive for real. When I stopped for my buddy to drop his tank, I was not sure if I was in the right place or not. When we got to the end of the line for me to drop my tank, I was not 100 percent convinced that this was the right place either. Nothing seemed familiar and it certainly didn’t look right to me. We headed back and began or ascent and deco. The fog that covered my brain cells did not seem to lift until I was at about 70’.
Day two started off bad also. My buddy was feeling even worse and opted out of the dive. A discussion was started about me possibly going solo to retrieve the deep stage tanks. I felt up to it and promised that I would abort if things went sideways again like the previous dive did.
Fortunately, I was back to my Dive God standings for this dive. I realized before I ever got to 30’, that my drysuit inflator was very slow to add gas. I remove the flow restrictors and use just a standard LP hose. It seems that this coupled with me trying to overcompensate with the wing was some extra task loading that I was not even aware of on the previous dive. Armed with this new knowledge, I was able to control my gas additions and thus my buoyancy much easier. I was a very happy camper and the dive was just getting started.
This dive went perfectly as planned and the mission was accomplished. Our open circuit bitch met me on deco at 20’ as he went after the other tanks.
The only change that was made to my gear was a shorter drysuit inflation hose. Upon inspection tonight, I found a lot of corrosion in the Schrader valve that was seriously restricting the flow. That has been corrected. My dil tank has be analyzed again and also checked for CO. It seems fine and both of my dil tanks were filled from the same bank bottle.
Although I am a bit concerned as to what the cause of this was, I will not let it interfere with my continued diving or make any changes in my procedures. I just thought I would let you all know that I am still around for your personal amusement and flame throwing.