What to do if… Cozumel Trip… Day 2…

I have logged almost 2500 dives in my 16 1/2 yrs of diving.  Lots of great memories and great stories.  Today I added to my dive story, but first, we will talk about our dives today.

Dive 1 was Palencar Bricks. 

Lots of cool swim-throughs on this dive.  Doug Lord saw our first Lion Fish on one of the swim-throughs.  Max depth on this dive was  90ft with a dive time of almost an hour.  Visibility was close to 100 feet, slightly better than Beaver Lake, AR.

Our second dive was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Well not really it just felt like it. We dive along Tunich Wall, max depth of about 65 ft with a bottom time of about 55 minutes. Saw our first sharks today on the second dive.  We flew along on this dive at maybe a blistering 2- 2 1/2 miles an hour. Sounds slow, but when diving that is moving along. 

Tips: Just stay with your group and don’t lag behind. Watch your buoyancy and keep above the coral. Use your fins just to keep you going with the flow. If you get ahead of your group drop down behind a coral head where there is less current and wait for them to catch up with you. (Nicole says this is a good time to pee.) And check for nurse sharks hanging around under coral on the leeward (down current) side. In a matter of what seems a few seconds, your dive buddies can be out of sight. Pay attention to the current and enjoy the ride. That was the first what to do if… what to do in a swift current.

Now what to do if… You blow an o ring underwater. 

Today was the first time I have had what could be called an out of air emergency. Dropping down to 40 feet, this dive started out as normal as any dive I have done. Then, five minutes into the dive I hear a bunch of bubbles behind my head. Reaching back, I feel a big stream of bubbles. Not a good thing when you are diving. Checking my air, I am at 2800, so far so good.

Next to let my dive buddy know about my problem. I let him know I was going to surface, so he could keep an eye on me. As I head up, slowly, yes slowly, Jamie our Dive Master joins me. He wanted to know if I needed to air share with him. I checked my air supply and let him know I was OK, a quick look at my computer shows 2400 psi left in my tank and I am at 35 ft depth. At 30 ft I read 1800 pounds of air. Next at 20 ft down to 1500. Jamie is still there checking on me, 15 ft and done to 1200 lbs.  I still have plenty of air, so I remain calm and keep heading up.  By the time I reach the surface and Jamie turns off my air, I am just under 500 psi. 

Why did the o-ring fail?

I don’t know and won’t try to guess.  What did I do right?

  1. I recognized the sound of free-flowing air behind my head while underwater
  2. I immediately let my dive buddy know what was happening. No need to tell every diver in the group.
  3. Then I began a slow controlled ascent to the surface while continuing to watch my air supply and my ascent rate.
  4. I had the divemaster with me all the way to the surface.
  5. I took my time, Jamie was there with air if I needed it.
  6. When I surfaced, I immediately added air to my BC to get positivity buoyant.

Because I made a slow controlled ascent and did not panic and rush to have surface, I was able to get another tank and rejoin the group and continue my dive.  My time on the surface was less than 3 minutes and my computer counted it all as 1 dive.

I was trained not to overreact and not to panic.   Thank you Extreme Sports Scuba for teaching me to dive, and teaching me what to do.  I did not panic and I was able to continue that dive.   And we get to add a new teaching moment to the classroom portion of our dive classes.

Dive safe, take only pictures and leave only bubbles.

Diver Dan

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