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Old 07-09-2012, 09:25 PM   #1
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Default Free ascent?

How often do yall get lost and have to do a free ascent on natural bottom or wrecks like the bridge rubbles? In 4 dives on the bridge rubbles, we have had to do 2 free ascents, and pretty much did one on the russian freighter last week. And do you have any sytem of marking spots or using landmarks to know your way back?
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:49 PM   #2
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You mean ascending without the use of a line. Free ascent is also known as blow and go, which means you're ascending without using your scuba gear, i.e., out of air.

I hardly ever used an anchor line unless we are on a very deep wreck or the current is really ripping. We normally drop a bouy to guide us to the spot then we have the choice to come up following the bouy line or not. That's why I always want someone on the boat watching the bubbles.

If you're diving on a wreck, the first thing that you need to do is to take a bearing to the wreck, in case the visibility is poor, and also note whe the anchor is in relation to the wreck. If you really need to get back to the anchor line and the visibility is really poor, you might take a reel and clip the end to the anchor then drop the reel when you get to the wreck....make sure you remember where you dropped it. That way, you'll be able to work your way back to the anchor.

If you're diving on a large area (Penhall or live bottom), you're better off exploring the area without having to worry about back tracking. I only recommend this if the seas are faily smooth and you have two persons topside. One to drive the boat and the other guy to keep track of the bubbles. Also, if you're diving in pairs, try to proced in the same direction and stay close to each other. Makes it a lot easier to follow you from topside.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:59 PM   #3
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Many of our reefs are difficult to navigate , or are not much fun if you have to keep worrying about where the anchor is. Our crew usually just solves this issue by live boating. We just throw a bouy, and roll 2 divers. They can explore the area at will and then do a free ascent when ready. Boat picks them up when they surface. This method takes some practice and skill, but is really enjoyable when it goes well.....which is usually...Knock on wood.
Added benefit is that you never have to pull an anchor.
Of course you have to have several skilled divers who can also operate a boat and follow/pick up divers without loosing them or running them over.
A safety sausage is a good thing to have when you surface.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:17 PM   #4
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That sounds like it would be an awesome way to dive if everyone was skilled enough.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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Check this out. Dive Trak Pro. Accurate within a meter and a 750 meter range. Always come back to your starting point. Last time I checked, they had a system, not quite as sophisticated as this one, accurate to within 2 meters and a range of 1000'. Cost several years ago... 1K.

http://www.rjeint.com/pdf/Dive-TrakPro_RevF.pdf
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #6
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I have performed far more free ascents, then ascents up an anchor line. When on my own boat, if I do anchor, I tie my anchor ball to the anchor line so that the bubble wacther can simply uncleat the anchor line and dump what remains of the line overboard if they need to drive to pick me up. This way they do not have to waste time trying to pull up the anchor or cutting the anchor line if they need to pick me up in a hurry. After being picked up, we return to the floating anchor ball an retrieve the anchor. The bubble watcher is so very important. Make sure they are prepared to deal with possible scenarios before you roll off for your dive. Don't set them up for failure.
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Old 07-09-2012, 11:45 PM   #7
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That Dive Trak seems like a pretty cool gizmo, but a little out of my price range (especially since I am only 16). The problem with just throwing a buoy out and going down that is my dad (and me I suppose) are still a little leery about coming back up without any way to know where we would end up in the current, and if any other boats are around that are not paying attention to us in the water. But I guess if the bubble watcher (dad) is really paying attention, it would work great.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Excuses View Post
That Dive Trak seems like a pretty cool gizmo, but a little out of my price range (especially since I am only 16). The problem with just throwing a buoy out and going down that is my dad (and me I suppose) are still a little leery about coming back up without any way to know where we would end up in the current, and if any other boats are around that are not paying attention to us in the water. But I guess if the bubble watcher (dad) is really paying attention, it would work great.
We usually don't have much current here .....if the current is bad we have to choose a reef that IS easy to navagate.....and anchor very close. We still dive in shifts in case something unexpected happens.
It takes some practice (in a safe location) ....but deploying a safety sausage which is attatched to a small reel is a great way to let everyone on the surface where you are. We usually deploy it when we get to 20'. That way the boat can follow you, other boats avoid you, and you don't have to worry about wheather the current will blow you out of sight during your safety stop. I think this technique is covered in some Advanced Openwater diving classes.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:42 AM   #9
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I usually just anchor. I usually have a mixed bag of skills on board. I have had to do very few ascents away from the anchor line. I have mastered the use of a compass underwater. I will usually swim away from the line in one direction paying attention to the direction on my compass. I then swim back in the other direction. Then will star off from the anchor line again if I have time. Always coming back to the line before heading out in another direction.

But my last trip out was the first time in a long time that I dove a large enough wreck to get lost. I am usually diving small spots where it's impossible to get lost.
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Old 07-10-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Orion45;951081]Check this out. Dive Trak Pro. Accurate within a meter and a 750 meter range. Always come back to your starting point. Last time I checked, they had a system, not quite as sophisticated as this one, accurate to within 2 meters and a range of 1000'. Cost several years ago... 1K.

We used to have a dive trak many years ago (was called the "Mark Trak" back then), and it worked as well at finding reefs as it did finding the anchor. The sonar "ping" would echo off of anything around you and the receiver didn't know the difference. Did many dives swimming to what we thought was the anchor only to find an old grouper ghetto or car body 100 yards in the opposite direction.
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