solo diving

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spudgunman
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solo diving

Post by spudgunman » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:56 pm

while I had the other hot topic of intro to scuba .. thought I would ask all my dumb questions at once (yes no dumb question) but here it goes

now that my perma buddy is on hiatus for a while I was pondering solo diving issues, I have a coworker who solo dives and has his OW he keeps it all above 60ft (mostly above 40) and normally has his wife on the shore. the reasoning we discussed is that at that depth normally your buddy is the same distance as a swimming assent in time away and neither of us ever experiencing any issues with N2 the debate was its ok just to swim up in the rare event of an emergency

so while I have on my nube hat I was wondering some input on "hot topic" #2 for the night

also For the record I searched each of these topics and just found a lot of lightly related.
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Re: solo diving

Post by Sounder » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:00 pm

After over 800 dives, I finally did my first solo dive in July 2010. It's not for me. I always go to buddy for assistance, and my buddy is never more than about 10' away, if that. We communicate with lights so if I'm in trouble, my buddy will know it long before I get to them and will be swimming for me at the same time. Also, solo-diving usually involves redundant systems so you can solve your OWN issue underwater... CESA (heading for the surface) is always the very, very last resort.

If you need buddies, email me. I'll go dive with ya.
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Re: solo diving

Post by H20doctor » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:09 pm

id say solo , is a way of diving for some, and a way Not for others.. I love to solo , but its something you work up to and get comfortable with as you progress as a diver.. from day 1 of my cert I couldnt wait to solo and be alone , and explore , on my own time, look at something for as long as i wanted to and not have to worry about another diver..
solo has risks , and you need to dive within your skills, and make sure you have Back ups, and a well thought plan before you solo.. solo is not for everybody, but i do find Photogs , and video peeps , are the solo kind.. do a search here on the forum and you will find some good reads, and debates... Happy diving
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spudgunman
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Re: solo diving

Post by spudgunman » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:11 pm

yea I like diving with lights (just got one) for that exact reason.. and agree the CESA is last, just wanted the input on this topic from the group as well...

and yes we should dive some time :)

@H2o yes found lots of debates but no "is it ..." posts so thought I would post my specific question 1) for me 2) for others
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and Bob, I know your reading the posts here and I dont think I didnt listen to you ( I really do :luv: ) , just like to ask lots of people experience, I am like the child that you never wanted :eek: I feel bad asking others when my sensai said no
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Re: solo diving

Post by Grateful Diver » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:14 am

I'll solo dive with you anytime, Kelly ... :supz:

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Re: solo diving

Post by Nwbrewer » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:45 am

spudgunman wrote:
the reasoning we discussed is that at that depth normally your buddy is the same distance as a swimming assent in time away and neither of us ever experiencing any issues with N2 the debate was its ok just to swim up in the rare event of an emergency


This bothers me. Why is your buddy that far away? If my buddy is far enough that I can't hit him in 2 kicks, something has gone wrong.

Kelly, while your perma-buddy is sidelined, rather than go solo why not use the opportunity to get out and dive with some of the wonderful peeps here? You shouldn't have too much trouble finding buddies, it's not like anybody here actually dives right? :taco:
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Re: solo diving

Post by spatman » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:09 am

spudgunman wrote:the debate was its ok just to swim up in the rare event of an emergency


that's assuming that you have the ability to ascend. lost fin, wing deflation, entanglement, etc. emergencies at depth aren't strictly loss of breathing gas. you should be aware of and prepared for many scenarios.

if the only reason you are considering solo diving is due to a buddy not being available, i would recommend following jake's advice and finding more buddies to dive with. i learned quite a bit by diving with a variety of divers with different styles.


Nwbrewer wrote:
spudgunman wrote:
the reasoning we discussed is that at that depth normally your buddy is the same distance as a swimming assent in time away

This bothers me. Why is your buddy that far away? If my buddy is far enough that I can't hit him in 2 kicks, something has gone wrong.


also the fact that if your buddy is as far away as getting to the surface, you probably can't see him/her in the viz we typically dive in.
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Re: solo diving

Post by CaptnJack » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:42 am

spatman wrote:also the fact that if your buddy is as far away as getting to the surface, you probably can't see him/her in the viz we typically dive in.


Sounds like effectively solo already, otherwise known as "same ocean"

H20doctor wrote:id say solo , is a way of diving for some, and a way Not for others.. I love to solo , but its something you work up to and get comfortable with as you progress as a diver.. from day 1 of my cert I couldnt wait to solo and be alone , and explore , on my own time, look at something for as long as i wanted to and not have to worry about another diver..


Maybe you enjoy it, but going solo is not the pinnacle of diving, something that somehow marks someone as competent or "arrived"

I agree with spatty, brewer and sounder. Now's a good time to find more (qualified & attentive) buddies. This board is better at that than facilitating solo diving.
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Re: solo diving

Post by spudgunman » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:17 am

thanks for the input guys.. I should say I have no issues finding buddies it was more just a .. should I consider it if I have 2 hours free at work and its spur of the moment dive. Also I have a strange attraction to the total silence and peace that solo diving has to offer.

Also to correct my buddy near debate.. I never leave viable distance from a buddy (on purpose) to better define the debate it was that if a issue arose (considering OOA) that by the time I wasted the energy to get to buddy 7-10 the energy would be better put to use for a CEAS at the depth of <60 (understand I dont abandon a buddy)

*disclaimer I fully agree and understand that the buddy system is there for a damn good reason - as a new diver ... I just wondered as it seems like all emergency's I have read about or encountered at <60 were totally manageable with no other diver assistance (should have put that into the first post just to be clear)
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Re: solo diving

Post by Nwbrewer » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:41 am

spudgunman wrote:thanks for the input guys.. I should say I have no issues finding buddies it was more just a .. should I consider it if I have 2 hours free at work and its spur of the moment dive. Also I have a strange attraction to the total silence and peace that solo diving has to offer.

Also to correct my buddy near debate.. I never leave viable distance from a buddy (on purpose) to better define the debate it was that if a issue arose (considering OOA) that by the time I wasted the energy to get to buddy 7-10 the energy would be better put to use for a CEAS at the depth of <60 (understand I dont abandon a buddy)

*disclaimer I fully agree and understand that the buddy system is there for a damn good reason - as a new diver ... I just wondered as it seems like all emergency's I have read about or encountered at <60 were totally manageable with no other diver assistance (should have put that into the first post just to be clear)



Kelly,

In the other thread on twins, you mentioned you have aspirations towards technical/wreck diving. Now is as good of a time as any to get used to the notion that "underwater problems should be solved underwater". Treat a CESA as your last viable option, not a good contingency plan.
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Re: solo diving

Post by Grateful Diver » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:45 am

spudgunman wrote:thanks for the input guys.. I should say I have no issues finding buddies it was more just a .. should I consider it if I have 2 hours free at work and its spur of the moment dive.

Also to correct my buddy near debate.. I never leave about 7-10 ft from a buddy (depending on vis) to better define the debate it was that if a issue arose (considering OOA) that by the time I wasted the energy to get to buddy 7-10 the energy would be better put to use for a CEAS at the depth of <60

*disclaimer I fully agree and understand that the buddy system is there for a damn good reason - as a new diver ... I just wondered as it seems like all emergency's I have read about or encountered at <60 were totally manageable with no other diver assistance (should have put that into the first post just to be clear)

I can think of some incidents that required buddy assistance ... I've experienced some. We can talk about them next time we hook up.

It's OK to ask questions ... but I encourage you to consider the answers you've received so far (my flippant one notwithstanding) ... you are far, far from where you should be to consider solo diving. It's not so much a question of physical skills as it is the mental approach to making good decisions. There is a great deal to learn that no one can tell you ... or more accurately, what we tell you won't really have meaning to you until you get the experience to put some context around it. This is why the solo course offered by SDI has a prerequisite of 100 dives minimum before they'll let you take it.

There can be, and have been, diving incidents that lead to tragic results in less than 60 feet of water. You remind me in a lot of ways of a fellow who used to be active here ... he died on a shallow dive, even with help from a buddy. LCF and Sounder can give you more details ... they were there. Another fellow approached solo diving exactly as you've described ... he had about your level of experience ... and had his fiance watching from shore as he did his solo dives. Nobody knows exactly what occurred that led to his death ... but there's a cross marking his memory at about the spot where they found his body in Cove 2 ... in 45 feet of water.

Don't be that person ... you've got a kid on the way. There's a lot more important things in your life than getting in that spur of the moment dive. If you feel the need to dive, post here ... there's almost always going to be someone to hook up with. And a lot of us will be more than happy to help you learn ass-kickin' buddy skills that will serve you well in whatever type of diving you later choose to do. Take advantage of it ... you're at that point where a good mentor will serve you far better than a redundant air supply.

There may come a time when solo is right for you. Now isn't even close to that time. Get some dives. Solo diving is as much about making decisions that will keep you out of trouble as it is knowing what to do if you should find yourself in a bad situation. That kind of judgment only comes with experience.

There's plenty of good divers right here on this board who will be happy to help you gain that experience ... you can always count me among them ...

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Re: solo diving

Post by spudgunman » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:51 am

thanks bob (and guys)

I will also be clear that I just wondered, not acting same as the other thread of discovery diving.. just was bored and was wondering about it.. very clear and helpful knowledge that I am absorbing I just have no issues asking questions

unlike the fine group of people here who are great teachers.. I got OW in PNDN resort, so they dont go into all the details and explanations etc, they just say here ya go if you have problems give the OOA hand sign have fun!
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Re: solo diving

Post by CaptnJack » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:57 am

Nwbrewer wrote:In the other thread on twins, you mentioned you have aspirations towards technical/wreck diving. Now is as good of a time as any to get used to the notion that "underwater problems should be solved underwater". Treat a CESA as your last viable option, not a good contingency plan.


spudgunman wrote:unlike the fine group of people here who are great teachers.. I got OW in PNDN resort, so they dont go into all the details and explanations etc, they just say here ya go if you have problems give the OOA hand sign have fun!


I'd look into Essentials with Bdub & Edge. http://www.unifiedteamdiving.com/page/e ... eational-1 It would serve you well now and into the future. (no I don't get a cut of their costs lol)
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Re: solo diving

Post by Dusty2 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:21 am

.
Last edited by Dusty2 on Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: solo diving

Post by Dusty2 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:23 am

Ok Here I go against the grain again!

First let me say I agree 100% with Bob's last post.

I have several hundred solo dives and basically that's my primary method of diving. Having said that I must quantify my mind set. First of all It's only for divers with a great deal of experience who are comfortable with the concept and their capabilities and who are properly equipped. NOT simply because you just don't have a buddy handy.

Contrary to popular belief solo is not for risk takers. If you feel any sort of discomfort doing it you shouldn't be doing it. On the other hand over confidence is very bad too.

I can't over stress the proper equipment. You must have complete redundancy. Meaning you MUST have a backup air supply that is completely independent of your main supply, ie a pony or stage bottle of adequate size. Adequate size to me means at least a 10 min. air supply or more at depth with a regulator that is as good as your primary. Never go somewhere that you are unfamiliar with or that requires a long surface swim and NEVER allow yourself to get into deco or take any sort of risks.

Like any other diving, practice is important. Practice changing over to your alternate equipment regularly so that you will know where it is and what to expect if you should need it.


.

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Re: solo diving

Post by SeattleYates » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:58 am

I completely agree with Bob's words of wisdom, but also think there's some good advice in Dusty2's comments (after you've got a LOT of dives - counted in hundreds, not tens or twenties - under your belt).

However, I want to add one other perspective to this question that nobody has mentioned. IMO, there's a big difference diving solo in warm water and cold water, and most discussions/articles on it don't mention the importance of that distinction. In the former, if you're fairly experienced and have a completely redundant air supply, and adhere to Dusty2's admonitions, solo diving is (IMO) considerably less risky than doing it in cold water. As a case in point, I'll refer to myself. I've got over 800 dives, but less than 100 of those are in cold water. I frequently find myself in warm water stopping to spend 5 minutes on a photo subject, and my buddies (usually more than one on a given dive, since I tend to like to just tag along with other buddy couples who act as spotters for photography) know I'm OK with them drifting around the bend and I'll finish the dive on my own. Ultimately, I am comfortable that I - and my pony and my knife (in case of entanglement) - will be OK if I have an "issue."

OTOH, I'm not AT ALL comfortable diving solo around here, and frankly may NEVER be (or at least won't until I have another 100-200 dives). Why? Well, I have twice as many buoyancy devices to worry about (BCD and dry suit), three times as much lead on my body, far less vis (meaning I'm less likely, for example, to see fishing line that might get me seriously entangled), and my body is already under far more stress simply because of the water temps. I NEED a buddy to be there to help me for things that are likely never to even occur in warm water. I'm a big believer that prudence is the better part of valor, and prudent diving around here is to have a buddy until you're far more experienced than I am...
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Re: solo diving

Post by Dusty2 » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:13 am

Though I never thought of this as a warm versus cold water thing I have to agree with your perception. As I said in my post and I think it applies to all things diving, "if you are uncomfortable you shouldn't be doing it"

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Re: solo diving

Post by Norris » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:42 am

<sarcasm>

Ponys, danger, and cold and warm water....psshhhh

You dont need a stinkin' pony

Here is what you do. take about 30 extra pounds and add to your weight belt. When you descend you now can have a lot more air in your wing/BC so then should anything go wrong you can just breath through your inflator hose.
</sarcasm>

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Re: solo diving

Post by spudgunman » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:54 am

haha

thanks for the continued feedback guys :)
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Re: solo diving

Post by whatevah » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:41 pm

Lots of good advice here. Don't know that much about you or your diving experience, but I agree with what most are saying to you above: I think you're at a stage where you'll benefit most by diving with others - don't miss an opportunity to learn if you can help it.

On the other hand, I think solo diving is great for those who are comfortable with it. People have some very strange ideas about risk - I ride my motorcycle "solo" all the time. I go hiking in some pretty remote areas - "solo". I shower "solo" more often than I'd like. Anything could happen - risks are everywhere. I think if you were to make statistical comparisons between solo diving and some of the other activities we all participate in on a daily basis you might be surprised. I try to be informed about the risks, evaluate the odds on an ongoing basis, hedge my bets wherever possible, and I make my own personal choices about where the risk/benefit balance lies. You'll make your own choices too, and then you'll live or die by them - personal responsibility is great that way ;)

I'd estimate that 80% of my dives are solo, or with a "same ocean" buddy that I bump into from time to time. I like the privacy - it gives me a special experience that is my own, and I don't have to shape my dive to fit someone else - I don't have any interruptions, and frankly, I take better photos when I'm solo. This is not to say that I don't really enjoy diving with some of the fun folks I know - that can be awesome too, and some of the shared underwater discoveries have become a significant part of great friendships. Some of my dives I simply would not do without a buddy - but in those cases that buddy is someone I know and trust, and I never kid myself that they're around and able to save me if I screw up. Other dives are solo simply because that's the best way to minimize the risk - but I generally have a line tender and a safety diver for those. There's really no hard and fast rule about solo diving, and having a buddy doesn't really provide many guarantees either IMHO.

Something to consider if you're weighing up trying a solo dive... are you comfortable in the water wearing a wetsuit, mask, snorkel and fins? Comfortable enough to snorkel around and dive down to 15 to 20 feet? If the answer is yes, then adding basic SCUBA on a day with fine conditions and playing around in the shallows right by shore with a strong swimmer (or even a "safety diver") on the beach monitoring you is probably not a big stretch when it comes to increased risk. A simple first step from which you might learn that solo is not worthwhile or fun for you. Maybe you'll be okay with it and find out a few more details about risk that you need to address before you're comfortable doing it again. Maybe you'll set some personal limits on solo diving activities.
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Re: solo diving

Post by H20doctor » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:47 pm

H20doctor wrote:id say solo , is a way of diving for some, and a way Not for others.. I love to solo , but its something you work up to and get comfortable with as you progress as a diver.. from day 1 of my cert I couldnt wait to solo and be alone , and explore , on my own time, look at something for as long as i wanted to and not have to worry about another diver..


Maybe you enjoy it, but going solo is not the pinnacle of diving, something that somehow marks someone as competent or "arrived"

I like your thong ... :supz: , Id say the Pinnacle of diving , is the Pinnacle in Hood canal :offtopic:
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Re: solo diving

Post by Grateful Diver » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:10 pm

H20doctor wrote:I like your thong ... :supz: , Id say the Pinnacle of diving , is the Pinnacle in Hood canal :offtopic:

Oh, I dunno ... there's some pretty pinnacly pinnacles up in Barkley Sound.

Cobb Seamount might just be the pinnacle of diving ... if you can get there ...

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Re: solo diving

Post by dwashbur » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:14 pm

I've never even considered solo diving myself, not because of the risk factors or any of that, but because part of the enjoyment for me is sharing what I find with a buddy or buddies. The camaraderie is a big part of the fun, at least in my world. Others have a different approach/view, and that's cool, too. Just one more aspect to consider as you ponder the question.
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Re: solo diving

Post by ArcticDiver » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:36 pm

Although it sounds flippant, it really isn't when i repeat what has been said many times over the years: If you have to ask if you should solo dive you shouldn't.

Solo diving is not a goal to be attained. It is not something to be done as a convenience. Solo diving is something that comes naturally to certain people. Generally they have certain personalities, mental attitudes and preparation. For those people solo diving is appropriate. If you are not one of them it probably is not appropriate.

Based solely on your original post it seems to me you ought to take the comments seriously and find new friends to dive with. Actually, I envy your living in an area where there is such an active dive community with whom you can share your hobby
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Re: solo diving

Post by umtirigane » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:01 am

In the PNW I don't think I would EVER dive solo.
I used to do the equivalent of solo diving in Florida for work, but was never completely comfortable with it. There would be 4-5 of us in the water doing coral transects but we were all working solo, and not always within sight of one another.
I would always be running scenarios through my mind, and how I would handle them, what would I do... HAD any of the stuff actually happened, I have no idea how I would REALLY handle it.
Diving is fun. Lots of fun, but never forget that no matter how comfortable you think you are in the water, it still is a very dangerous sport.
Personally, I would forgo the spontaneity of solo diving in favor of diving with a buddy, even if meant I got to go a bit less. But that is me.

:)

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