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Old 07/07/2005, 02:17 PM
Tech Diver Tech Diver is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
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Yes, the St. Lawrence River is a great place and Jodery is great wreck (I will be diving her later this month). Its bow is at 150 ft as you said, and its stern goes down to a little over 240 ft. Currents are quite swift and shipping traffic is dangerous, particularly if you are blown off the wreck and have to do a hanging deco mid-channel. You may be interested in a previous thread on the St. Lawrence:

If you plan on purchasing a backplate/harness/wings, I would take definitely go with Halcyon over OMS. You might also want to take a look at DiveRite. I would caution you against any harnesses with quick-release shoulder buckles as they are potentially more dangerous. A clean simple continuous harness is preferred. As you are probably aware, in technical diving, less is more. For tanks, in cold water (steel) check out Pressed Steel, for warm water (Aluminum) you have a variety of choices. I could go into lots detail on the topic of technical gear but this is probably not the right thread for that. Do feel free to start a new thread or email me if you wish.
Old 07/07/2005, 03:57 PM
condor13090 condor13090 is offline
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I live in Syracuse...I would love to go diving in the river with you guys anytime this summer...George
Old 07/12/2005, 03:21 PM
mightymouse mightymouse is offline
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i just want to thank all of you for sharing these stories because i will be getting certified soon after i get my license in december. ive really learned alot from this thread thanx alot guys
proud WAMAS member

nano-cube dx
65 gallon african cichlid tank
2.5 gal betta tank

Old 07/13/2005, 11:11 AM
rottielover rottielover is offline
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Location: Saint Louis, MO. USA
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I just want to 2nd what mightymouse said, I've learned a lot.

I have a question that could become it's own thread....

"Spare Air" product ( What are some "expert" opinions on this product? At face value it seems like a good idea...

Also what's your opinion on thier saftey kit (these items are in the kit):

This kit includes:
10’ Safety Sausage
Industrial Grade Light Stick
Deluxe Whistle
9’ Buddy Lanyard
Stainless Steel Signaling Mirror
Mesh Kit Bag – fits in BCD pocket

I think my life and my wife's life is well worth the $$$, but is the product worth it? Does it do what it says it can do?
It's not the size of the dog in the fight... It's the size of the fight in the dog.
Old 07/13/2005, 02:40 PM
Tech Diver Tech Diver is offline
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OK, here's my opinion. I really really dislike this product for several reasons. First off, let's look at their "large" version with a 3 cu-ft capacity. If you are down at 100 ft (where the pressure is 4 ATA) those 3 cu-ft shrink down to a mere 0.75 cu-ft because of Boyle's Law (P1 V1 = P2 V2). They claim they can supply 57 SURFACE breaths, which translates to a mere 14 breaths at 100 ft again due to Boyle's Law. Unless a diver has had harassment drill training where your tank valve is shutoff when you least expect it, that diver will be totally panic stricken and will be hyperventilating and sucking breaths like a Hoover. If that diver knows that they have very little time before the SpareAir runs out, they will bolt for the surface and probably get a very serious DCS hit. A better approach is to get a 13 cu-ft pony bottle and ascend normally to the surface with a safety stop. Still better is to do team diving with a good dive buddy and plan your gas usage using the rule-of-thirds (or other comparable methods), where 1/3 of your gas supply is for heading out, 1/3 is for getting back, and 1/3 is reserve to bring your buddy back with you.

As for the other gear, the safety sausage is a good idea if it is durable and has reflective markings that can also be seen by radar. A length of 10 ft sounds a bit excessive as you would probably have a hard time keeping it vertical (4 or 5 ft should be adequate). These are typically butt mounted by tying two bungee loops at the bottom of you backplate or BCD.

Light sticks are not too effective as they are too dim to be seen at a distance. Also, once you break them, they keep glowing and can not be conserved for selected use. A flashlight would be a better choice. The new ones that make use of LEDs have a very long burn time.

Whistles are good to have and are rather inexpensive. However, don't expect to be heard unless someone is fairly close and not using a motor.

A jon line (buddy lanyard) is convenient in high current environments if you want to tether yourself to the ascent line. This is a good idea and does not take up much space.

I am neutral about the mirror. In full daylight I suspect that a bright orange marker would have a better chance to be seen. At night it obviously doesn't work.

I really don't like mesh bags. They get snagged on just about everything. I have pockets on both my dry-suit and wet suit (you can get glue-ons), which inside have a big bungee loop. Since every single "portable" item I have has a bolt-snap on it. I can reach in my pockets and pull everything out without loosing a single item. I merely unclip what I need, and re-clip what I don't need. Everything is neat, organized, and out of the way until you need it.
Old 07/13/2005, 03:28 PM
rottielover rottielover is offline
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I agree that planning and using "rule of 1/3's" is def. the best idea, and diving using the buddy system probly should be a "must" for rec. divers.

I also think a product like this must NOT be relied upon ("it's OK that I'm at 100psi @ 120ft, cause I have this"[duh]), but I can imagine senerio's where having even 10 more breaths of air could save your butt, or someone else's. For technical diving, I would think a pony bottle would probly be a "must", but for rec. divers this looks to be the "mini pony".

Though I have to say I don't like the idea of "handing off" the bottle to an OOA diver that's probly in a panic, I can see it if that calms them down, then you get them on your octo to bring them up...(maybe), but like I said, hypotheticals are just that. I was thinking that a product like this would keep you from doing that "60ft emergancy ascent" they teach (or is it 30 ft) ...

I guess I can see both the pro's and con's of this product, it seems to me they are selling it a bit out of whack ("save yourself, bla bla") ... but like I said I can imagine senerio's where it could save the day.

At any rate, I'm not going to be buying one anytime soon, if ever, but it's nice to get opinion's on different products out there.

Are any of the safty sausages "self inflate" models? Or do they all have to be manually inflated?
It's not the size of the dog in the fight... It's the size of the fight in the dog.
Old 07/13/2005, 04:12 PM
Tech Diver Tech Diver is offline
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Originally posted by rottielover
Are any of the safty sausages "self inflate" models? Or do they all have to be manually inflated?
Yes there are models with compressed gas cartridges, but if you are deep and it goes off accidentally YOU ARE SCREWED. Most can be attached to your inflator hose if you don't want to manually inflate.
Old 07/14/2005, 07:42 PM
David P David P is offline
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I had one of the cheapy flourescent orange garbage bag sausages, I just replaced it with a Dive Rite reusable marker. I just had to try it out and it only took one big breath to fill it. It also has an interesting mouth piece Im not sure if I like, it has a "jamb nut" that prevents you from pushing on the mouth piece wich is necessary to inflate it. Im thinking this is to keep the inside of the tube dry, but I would worry in a stressfull emrgency you may have a problem unscrewing it, pushing in this, blowing on that...
I don't have to be nice, Im being honest
Old 09/05/2005, 02:56 AM
Oldude Oldude is offline
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My wife and I go diving on all our tropical holidays and reading this thread has reminded me of the importance of reviewing the basics before each dive. I have had my reg kicked out of my mouth at 75' but found my reg in good time. It is wise to go over a plan before each dive.
This thread is a great reminder and wake up call.
Old 02/03/2006, 04:36 PM
ReefWreak ReefWreak is offline
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I'm a beginning SCUBA student in my college's Academic Dive Program, and I can definatly say that reading this thread has mentally prepared me with an idea of what could happen and how it is best dealt with. I believe that reading this, along with my training that I'm recieving will definatly prepare me for real time diving. That and that I'm not diving in NY. Normally I hate living in south Florida, but I think for this occasion, I prefer SoFL to NY.

Thanks all for your advice!
Old 02/03/2006, 09:16 PM
Paul B Paul B is offline
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That and that I'm not diving in NY. Normally I hate living in south Florida, but I think for this occasion, I prefer SoFL to NY.
You mean you don't like diving in NY. The last time I dove here the visability was almost a foot, thats almost twice as good as it was the time before. Be a man. Anyone can dive when you can actually see something.
Old 02/04/2006, 12:26 PM
David P David P is offline
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Warm clear waters of FL, wrecks or Jersey.... I'd lean towards Jersey. Add in the caves of Florida (and the training of course) eww tough call
I don't have to be nice, Im being honest
Old 02/06/2006, 11:22 AM
sammiefish sammiefish is offline
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ice in ny

dove a lake up here in central ny... yeah... ice!!!
OK, OK,.. its a little dark but the vis is always great in february under the ice!
Old 03/03/2006, 04:15 PM
Corruptor Corruptor is offline
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Originally posted by David P
Add in the caves of Florida

My wife and I do safety / emergency drills almost every time we exit. Lights out, air shares, valve shut off drills, lost line, lost diver... It's a big list.

We've had a few issues under water, mostly equipment problems. A couple of regulators with leaking high pressure seats, a blown pressure gauge o-ring, a couple of flooded flashlights, one broken fin strap, and one canister light that continually shut itself off. Really nothing to get worked up over, but enough to turn the dives.

Oh yeah, add about 20 fouled reels to that list
Old 03/03/2006, 04:48 PM
melev melev is offline
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Marc Levenson - member of DFWMAS
Old 05/19/2006, 11:38 AM
rickyscuba rickyscuba is offline
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Originally posted by luminary
In my recent trip down to Dominica, there were two situations that happened that could have ended badly.

The first was purely an accident. It could have been avoided, but not by my control. I was swimming along peacefully stopping here and there to take some photos when all of a sudden, BAM!, I got kicked in the side of my head, knocked my regulator out of my mouth and my mask off of my head. Not a good thing in 90' of water! Thankfully I'm very comfortable with and without my gear and I was able to recover.

The other incident had the capacity to be much more serious. The dive profile was to make a big circle out from the boat and around the reef starting at about 70' down.. I had my camera gear and my wife was diving with her video gear. About 25 minutes into the dive, in about 35' of water, I noticed her having a lot of trouble staying down. I swam over to her and held on to a rock and her to let her calm down and deflate her BCD. At this point, we're not sure what happened, but I think she was starting to panic and pressed her inflator instead of the deflator because her BCD inflated fully. Not good. After that, things began to spiral downhill. She paniced even more started jerking around. Some of the wires from her lights got tangled and pulled out the inflator hose to her BCD.

At this point she was about ready to bolt to the surface (my arms hurt for several days from holding her down). I made her drop her video gear, plugged her hose back in and calmed her down a bit. We still couldn't get her BCD deflated, mainly because she was still freaked out and I couldn't hold her, hold the rock and deflate her gear all at the same time. After some consideration and a review of my guages and the situation at hand I decided that we needed to ascend, even though it would be fast and would be an emergency ascent (at this point we were in less than 30' of water).

There are a couple of lessons that I learned from this (and hopefully she did too, we did "debrief" afterwards with the divemaster).

1. She needs to be a bit more comfortable with her gear. She completely forgot about the lower back deflator which would have corrected the situation before it got out of hand.

2. Her video gear is not more important than her safety. She was too focused on it once things started getting bad. Were this to happen again, I'd either clip her gear off onto my harness, or just leave it on the bottom and retrieve it after safely surfacing her.

3. It didn't occur to me until we were at the surface to use my knife to puncture her BCD. In retrospect, I think what I did was still the best option, but were this to happen in deeper water or in a more dangerous profile, I would not hesitate.

4. We had been diving 32% EAN on all of our dives. However, we had basically been diving air profiles since we were the only Nitrox divers on the trip and we basically stuck with the group. I can't tell for sure, but I'm pretty convinced that the additional safety factors involved in the higher mix was influential in not having any injuries.

5. It would have been better to leave her inflator hose disconnected after it was pulled out. There was already some problem with the BCD being too inflated. At the time, we did not know if it was user error or a problem with the equipment. If it was the equipment, reconnecting it was the wrong thing to do. However, I would not have been able to explain this to her while she was panicing underwater, so even if it was technically the better thing to do, reconnecting it was important in stabilizing the situation.

I can't stress how important the after dive discussions, both with ourselves and several other divemasters and instructors was.

I think that during that immersion mandatory steps for the safe diving were avoided. Unfortunately many divers commit the same error during vacations.

First of all it is necessary to familiarize itself with the equipment, or rented or own. Second don’t over task; this prevents the diver to concentrates in more important things like its depth, position, air gauge etc.

Just my 2 cents
Deep Down No one hear you scream!
Old 06/29/2006, 07:24 AM
Mr_Flibble Mr_Flibble is offline
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My 2 cents

I suffer from mild vertigo I can usually keep it under control.
however I was on a night dive on a small wreck, I had dived the site several times before, I was used to the area I knew where I was and all was going well until I lost my budy and the virtigo kicked in and I started to panic I couldn't tell up from down and my boyancy control started to go a bit strange.
Next thing I know my reg had been kicked out of my mouth and my training kicked in I calmed down recovered my mouthpiece located my buddy (who decided to ascend a few meters that's why they disappeared.) and continued with the dive.

Basically training and practice is the best policy.
Since then I don't really seem to get the virtigo anymore (although I'm not telling my friend as he's the one that always has to go up ladders).
Insanity is someone elses point of view
Old 12/12/2006, 08:19 PM
jgshuwei jgshuwei is offline
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Thank you guys for all the advise. I'm a new diver with little experiences. All these incidents will remind me to get well prepared for all my future diving trips.

I've 4 diving trips this year in Redang Island, Malaysia, 3 of them was taking my PADI liciense. I've passed up to Rescue Diver because I wanted to get prepare should anything happen to me or my buddy. I've noticed, the more I've learned, the more careful I am now. So far I've never encounter any bad experience but doesn't mean that I won't have it in the future. I really like diving! As my instructor always says,"The worst day of diving is better then the best day of working!"

Old 08/01/2007, 07:41 PM
joesynodontis joesynodontis is offline
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just did a dive near the california coast....with safety in incidents except for a rogue spear from one of the spear fishermen just missed a diver.....that is an accident waiting to happen.
"The difference between a boss and a leader: a boss says, 'Go!'; a leader says, 'Let's go!'"
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Old 10/08/2007, 07:05 PM
roblack roblack is offline
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I was recently diving for lobsers south of Miami, and my dive buddy (my wife) decided not to come. We left a friend on the boat, and a good friend of mine (but not my usual dive buddy) descended before me. I was a little out-of-breath getting my gear together and jumping in the water, so I waited a minute before descending. When I got down, I did not see him and the visibility was not so great (20-30 feet). I decided to look for lobsters and figured I would run into him soon, as he usually is scooting all over the place and is a bit too comfortable on his own. Well, I never did see him, and after chasing a huge sea turtle and finding a few small lobsters (didn't take em), I decided I should ascend soon. But I couldn't find the boat from underwater after heading back to where I thought it was. It was mini-season, and there were alot of boats on the water, you could hear them zooming about, and I was afraid that I could get hit if I ascended. I remembered that I had just got an inflatable flourescent tube that could easily be seen from far away, and figured that I would inflate it a little so when I came up boaters could see it and would be able to avoid me. I should have waited until I at the surface, because after blowing just a little air in it, the tube started pulling me to the surface way too fast. I tried turning my head down and kicking to counteract the rise, and soon felt my flippers flopping on the surface. My ascension meter on the dive computer was going nuts, and I was frightened that I had really messed up. Fortunately, I was only in about 30-35 feet of water and had not been down too long, and as far as I can tell, I am okay (debatable ). I did have a bad headache afterwards, and learned a few valuable lessons. 1) Don't blow up any device until you are at the surface. 2) Stay with your buddy. 3) Plan your dive well, and remember where your boat is. 4) Know your gear extremely well. Hope my mistakes can help someone avoid worse.
Old 10/09/2007, 07:10 AM
sammiefish sammiefish is offline
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Location: 1000 Islands- Best FW diving in the world!
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warning buoy

on the warning buoy thing...
If you can swing it... you should
get yourself a reel of string....
inflate the sausage at 30+ feet
and allow it to go to the surface
attached to the string... then,
should a boat be coming by,
you are less likely to get wacked
... your marker is already at the
surface well before you ascend
Old 10/09/2007, 02:44 PM
Paul B Paul B is offline
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When I got down, I did not see him and the visibility was not so great (20-30 feet).
Wow. Our visability in the western Long Island Sound rarely is more than 3'. It's usually about 2
Old 10/09/2007, 04:47 PM
JokerGirl JokerGirl is offline
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I got my PADI Advanced Open Water and Rescue Safety Diver Certification through my university a few years back as elective courses. They were both 12 week courses, twice a week for 3 hours each. One night was in a classroom, the other was in a pool. Due to this, my instructors (there were 3) had lots of time to work with people on an individual basis and to teach us a lot of safety stuff. Several of the things was being able to swim two laps without a mask, emergency ascents etc...

Needless to say, on my first dive in the quarry, I panicked about 15ft down. I missed the group dive, and my instructor took me around separately. After that I was fine and completed the rest of my dives fine.

My parents took me and my boyfriend to Hawaii the same year and I did my first ocean dives. I didn't have any trouble with my anxiety, but ended up running into some trouble. I had been sick the entire time I had been there, so was diving on the last possible day I could and still be safe getting on a plane (and not have my sinuses explode on the dive).

There had been a tropical storm coming in, so the water was very choppy, and I got disoriented on my safety stop. An old man was on the dive and was just coming down when I grabbed onto the anchor line. My dive master stopped to help him get down real quick, and in the mess of it all I had shifted my way to the surface without knowing it because the line was bobbing around in the water wildly while I was avoiding the old man. Thinking that my dive master was right behind me, I got on the boat. My dive master had no clue where I was. He did his safety stop, and surfaced to find me eating some cookies. I still feel bad that I had worried him.

After that, they were worried about letting me do my second dive, but I had gotten at least 10 minutes in on my safety stop. I did my second dive with no problems. Due to the tropical storm, the second dive was ended early. By the time my parents picked me up at the dive shop, there were 70mph winds.

I learned a huge lesson that day not to let commotion around me keep me away from what I am supposed to be doing.

I would love to do some more PADI courses and possibly get my dive master, but diving in rock quarries and having to use dry suits just doesn't excite me. The water was so cold during our certification dives that dry suits were a must. Never again...
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What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return."

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Old 11/29/2007, 10:59 PM
michika michika is offline
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I also did a PADI open water course through my university, and I felt like I had a great instructor. We met two nights a week for 3 hours a night for 4 months. What I really liked was that our course was much longer then most people's but it was combined with a CPR class, and we spent a lot of time on the basics. We discussed lots of stuff that wasn't even in the handbook, and I feel I would be far better prepared to dive after my course then a course of the same name my brother took at a local shop.

What I liked though was how practical my instructor was, he taught everything 3 ways, and he made it really fun. For the last 3 weeks of classes we played games where he would set up treasure hunts, randomly shut the lights off, or come up and flash cue cards at you. I really appreciate how much effort he put into making some habits second nature to us, and I'm sure many of his lessons will stick with me long after I have graduated.

Unfortunately the downside was that the course ran September - December, and in December ice tends to form in Canada. I'm hoping to do a refresher course soon, and then complete my open water dives. I'm hoping to make use of my certification this summer as I travel to Jamaica for a wedding.
Old 11/30/2007, 10:48 AM
Tech Diver Tech Diver is offline
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It's good that your instructor made use of flash cards and "harassment" drills. My technical dive instuctors used to shut off my valves, pull my mask off, and tear out my regulator. One of the primary ways to develop a calm way of dealing with emergencies is to get unexpected issues thrown at you in a controlled environment (even if it's just rapidly responding to flash cards).

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