My diving experiences – page 23 gas zombies


The sidemount (tanks on my sides) experiment is over. Didn’t go well. Gearing up was just too complicated and took too long, compared with just slipping int my harness. It was just a mess off a boat. I’ve sold the sidemount gear online. I’m now diving back mounted doubles or what the Brits call a twinset. Two tanks on my back. Originally I thought I wouldn’t be able to do this due to my knees electricity laws physics/sciatica, but I’m finding ways to manage it. I’m really building strength. I’ve found I can do squats with a 5lb dumbbell in each hand that don’t hurt. If I do it without dumbbells, my knees travel past my toes, which really hurts. That doesn’t happen with the weights. My knees are feeling much better and I’m walking easier.

For the twinset, I’ve just doubled up the tanks I already have. I’ve not spent too much. A lovely online friend from a large scuba forum, upon reading that I was thinking about doubling up my tanks, sent me an isolator manifold (to connect the two tanks together) and a wing (the blue air bladder in the pics). The manifold is about $100 new. The threading didn’t fit my valves, so its up for sale. The wing is about 10-12 years old. I needed about $50 in parts to bring it back to life, but it’s as good as new. The current model of this wing runs $330! Friend is an older diver (60s) and has k gas station lots of equipment sitting around that is no longer used.

I did my first pool session with them a couple of weeks ago. Resounding success! So much easier to get geared up than with the side mounted tanks. Regular dive buddy said I was always so stressed with doing sidemount and I was so unstressed getting geared up in the pool. I’m using the same backplate and harness, just moved to the twinset. So very familiar there. I had to hang some weights off my harness’ butt D ring to balance things out, but I’ve got very light fins. These are short tanks and they tend to make people go head down. I got some heavier fins used very cheap on a FB sale group, so I’ll try those in the pool next month grade 9 electricity unit. But with the small tweak of 4lbs hanging off my butt D ring, my trim (horizontal aspect in the water) was very good. People on the scuba forum were surprised I got the tanks to trim out so well, as people often have a hard time with these tanks. They work for me since I’m short. They’re 4 shorter gas density of air than the next size up! Trim has been something that I’ve had challenges with, so the wonderful compliments I got on my trim with the doubles was wonderful to hear.

In August, I’m going to be driving 13 hours each way to Temagami, Ontario to do my first technical diving class (Intro to Tech). I’ve really hit it off with an instructor on the big diving forum. He offered to do the class for free. It would run about $250 if I did it locally, and while I like the two local tech instructors well enough (one did my sidemount class), but I had a 5 hour phone conversation one night with the instructor in Ontario. He’s got 2 busted knees himself, is wreck obsessed like I am, and sort of specializes in divers with mobility issues. The friend who sent me the manifold and wing lives in DE. He’s done an ice class with the electricity meme Ontario instructor before and he’s actually coming up to Temagami to do the Intro to Tech class with me. It’s a long drive, but I’ve got online friends in the Toronto area (from an author fan group on FB) that I’ll get to meet, as well.

If the intro to tech class goes well in August, I will do Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures class locally in Sept/Oct. It’s done in two weekends – one at the local quarry, and another a couple of weeks later at a deep quarry in WI (Wazee Lake). The dives for AN/DP class go to 150ft. This will allow me to do the deeper wrecks or to spend more time on shallower wrecks without having to worry about coming up before no decompression time ends. You have a number of deco stops at certain depths to get nitrogen out of your system to prevent the bends. You generally use either 50% O2 or 100% O2 for a deco gas.

I’m working on the homework for the Advanced Nitrox k electric jobs class. There are a lot of manual calculations for things like how long you can stay down with your breathing rate on a certain size tank and planned depth, best gas mix electricity in water for a dive, etc. But now there are phone apps and computer programs that most use, in additional to much more advanced dive computers than there used to be. I have a phone app /desktop program called MultiDeco. It’s almost like a video game to divers – running the numbers in various ways for certain dives is a lot of fun and quite educational. Screen shot from the app for a local wreck off Milwaukee that sits at 130ft (Milwaukee car ferry). Anyway, you have to show you know how to do the manual calculations for class. Math takes me a lot of time, so I’m sitting down with it months in advance to make it much easier on me later!