Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 07-27-2009, 03:11 PM   #1
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Default Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

Last Tuesday,me, Mike Day andPaul Piercefinished our Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decoclass with a deep dive on the Oriskany. Josh finished up his instructor qualifications and is now a TDI (Technical Diving International) Advanced Nitrox/Stage Deco instructor --congratulations Josh. Mike Boitnot also dove with us as ourTechnical DM, but I could never get him to load and unload my tanks for me. Some DM!

On the "O," our dive profile was 150 fsw for about 30 minutes. We had nearly another 30 minutes of deco time which started at 70 fsw. We made stops at 70, 50, 40, 30 and spent about ten minutes at 20 fsw.

We planned our dive using V-Planer Deco Software which is excellent and we verified it with the Navy Dive Tables.I've already added V-Plannerto my desktop and laptop computers. I added some conservatism to my profile since I was older than anyone in the class by 20 years. I made another stop at 10 fsw and stayed there for an additional three to five minutes. We also madean OSP. The first letter stands for "oh."Second letter stands for "plan." I'll let you figure out what the middle letter stands for, but it's an emergency plan.What happens if you lose your deco gas or your back gas?

Our instructor, Dan Crowell, of "Quest for Sunken Warships" fame,is my age and we?ve been diving about the same length of time, so we both picked on the kids in the class mercilessly. ?Quit whining ? this gear isn?t heavy,? kind of stuff. Dan also finished up two Recreational Rebreater certs so we got a lot of good rebreatherinformation as well. It was strange watching them swim around and not seeing any bubbles come out.I'm seriously considering going that route -- eventually. Although they didn't go as deep as we did, the rebreather divers stayed down longer and had no deco since their mix changed automatically as their depth changed andthey were always diving an optimal Nitrox mix for the depth.

It was my first time to dive double tanks and that took some getting used to, but after a day at the springs and Monday diving the Pete Tide and Russian Freighter, Tuesday at the "O"was much easier. I never thought I would like doubles but actually did. We students dove double aluminum 80s, but Josh and Mikey B dove double 108s (real man tanks)and we all ?slung? a 40 cu ft deco bottle under our arms. Dan dove his rebreather the whole time. Tuesday,for our 150 foot dive, our back-mix was 26 percent Nitrox and 70 percent in our deco gas.

We dropped down the line on the Oriskany and left the recreational divers up around the tower. We hit the flight deck at 148 and swam over to the side of the ship where the water drops off to 212 feet. Looking out into the abyss 150 feet deep underwater is one the most exhilaratingthings I?ve ever done, and never ceases to capture me.

The water?s cold down there even in the summer. We swam along the edge of the flight deck suspended in mid water as if floating weightless in space. I was moseying along enjoying the slights and noticed that the other divers had pulled out way in front of me and my buddy, Paul.

Paulwas dutifully staying beside the old man, but was getting worried about how far the group was getting ahead of us and they were motioning for us to catch up. I started trying to kick hard to to catch up, but noticed I was breathing too hard tying to swim against the current. That?s the last thing you want to do at 150 feet deep when you?re 300 feet away from the up line with a limited amount of breathing gas.

I dropped down to a hand railing on the ship just below the flight deck. I grabbed the railing and pulled myself along flying through the water with each pull. The railing had sea urchins and barnaches on it so I had to be careful not to grab one of those and fill my hand with urchin spines.

I passed Paulthen caught up with the group. The railing ended at the stern and I came flying out under the group into open water at the stern of the ship like a jet on a cat shot -- except going the wrong way --which was great fun. Age and experience always beatsyouth and vigoroke. I turned and took a bow while hanging in mid water which got a laugh out ofPaul. We began toproceed onaround the stern.

As we made our way around the stern I saw Josh point to something in the fantail area. Ilooked under the sternand saw the wall move. At first I thought I was hallucinating. Then I saw the wall move again. I ducked under the stern, shook my head and peered into the darkness. That?s when I saw the big eyes and giant tail.

It was the biggest grouper I?ve ever seen underwater in my life --a giant Jewfish -- that seemed to fill the whole fantail area. I couldn?t resist taking a bit of a closer look. The big grouper was not scared at all. I swam to within a few feetof him. He turned and faced me and did not back up an inch. He tilted to the side and looked me over as if wondering if he could swallow me whole. For an instant I thought about trying to pet him and reached out my hand. Then I realized it was the narcosis talking. I did wiggle my fingers a couple of feet in front of his nose as I often do with other fish on our dives and I saw his eyes focus on the tips of my fingers and his mouth open at the same time.

Small fish will try to nibble your fingers when you wiggle them in the sand, and new divers get a kick out of seeing this, but this was no regular fish. Had this fish gotten violent, it could have been very bad for me. The story of Jonah and the whale popped into my head, but I doubt this fishwould have spit me out after three days ? at least not alive. I backed out of the fantail keeping an eye on Mr. Jewfishand left him in peace.

By that time, the other divers had made the turn around the stern and were headed back along the other side. Paul andI made the turn and I asked him how much gas he had. Our planned ?back at the line? pressure was 1200 psi, and I was already down to 1000, and he was at 1200. A sense of urgency came over me, and I pointed across the flight deck.Paul and I made a good team because it took liittle communication for him to understand what I whas thinking and vice versa.We both pointed across the flight deck and proceeded to take a shortcut back to the ship?s superstructure where our line was tied in at the top of the tower.

We swamdiagonally acrossthe flight deck, but swimming back waseasier because we were now going with the current. Paul was down on the deckat about 145 and I pulled up over him at about 125 feet to save a little gas. After a few minutes of swimming, we hit the tower and a relaxed calm came over me. Dan Crowell calls it the ?I?m home and in the driveway,? feeling. You've got plenty of gas and you're back at the up line with nothing to do but burn time in the warm water.

Once you start up, your gas usage hardly drops at all due to the reduced volume being usedand because I was working with1/3 of 160 cu ft of gas versus 1/3 of 80 cu ft (or whatever your single tank size is).Paul and I swam up to the top of the Oriskany?s superstructure and found our up line tied in at 80 feet.

As we started up the line, Josh, our other divers joined us and were surprised to find we had beaten them back to the line -- age and experience again. :letsparty I still had 950 ( almost a third)of back gas and had not touched my deco mix. Paulstill had about 1100 psi.

We ascended up the line slowly and hit our first stop at 70 feet. After a few minutes there we went on up and made our stops along the way. At our 40 foot stop, we switched our computers to 70 percent O2 and started breathingfrom the hang bottle under our arms.It's amazing how fast deco clears off an IQ 700 computer when you're on 70 percent.

At 20feet, we had nine minutes of deco which doesn?t sound like a long time except when you?re doing nothing but hanging on a rope. I passed the time counting barracuda. Dan has dived all over the world and says our cudas arebigger than anywhere he's seen.I was up to about13 cudas when Josh came over and told us to "buddy breath" our deco mix.Paul and I pased his reg back and forth each taking a breath and giving it back.After a few minutes of buddy breathing we passed the10 minutes of deco time, and I slowlymovedup to about 10 fsw and let my computers clear out. I was wearing two, but my old Oceanic Versa Procan only be programmed for one mix and was still showing deco time.This stop was a measure of conservatism for me that I added because of my age, and since I had plenty of gas --had no reason not to, but if I had needed to, could have gotten out of the water. Paul did go ahead and get out, and Ifelt pretty good when both of my computers were completely in the green.


Some of the other excercises we did were deploying lift bags and safety sausages in open water. Drift deco under a lift bag/sausage. Dan and Josh had us deploy Dan'ssafety sasages which resemble a Polaris Missile and comes to the surface like one. They were about 12 feet long and about eight inches in diameter and you don't want to be above one when someone lets it go, plusyou had to be careful deploying them as to not get pulled up the surface. Weisolated tanks by turning off each side and switching to the other reg. We buddy breathed on back gas and deco. We deployed the long hose andled the diver to the up line and we practiced buoyance a lot. Being able to hang at 15 fsw without holdingon to anything and without floating up is absolutely critical. On the Pete Tide, Josh tried to get us to violate our floor of 95 fswbut nobody fell for it, and got us tosurprise others with out of airdrills when they weren't expecting them.

I guess because divers can?t talk underwater, they burst into animated conversation about what they saw and what they did as soon as the reg comes out of their mouths at the end of the dive, and our divers were no different. My ?rail swim? and ?grouper stare down? on the "O" generated lots of discussion as well as a word of warning about ?violating? my plan. I agreed and blamed it on the narcosis :letsdrink which got alaugh out of everyone. Mike Day was amazed at how narced he got as this was his deepest dive and the sensation was new to him.

It?s been great to spend the week getting to know Dan Crowell and diving with my buddies, Paul, Mike Day, Mikey B, and Josh.I feel like this course has opened a whole new chapter indiving and I recommend it highly. Even if you are doing some deep dives already, this course will make you better, andJosh is not only acertified instructor, but is a dam fine one.Who knows, he may cut you a deal.
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

NOW thats a great report......sounds like a succesful trip....im ready to get under H20.....its been a while and i am so ready to make the next dive
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:41 PM   #3
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

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bluffman2 (7/27/2009)NOW thats a great report......sounds like a succesful trip....im ready to get under H20.....its been a while and i am so ready to make the next dive
It was a great class. Really glad I did it. No matter your experience level, it makes you a better diver. Being self reliant underwater is a big part of it.
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Old 07-27-2009, 09:52 PM   #4
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

That's definitely a great story and I always love reading stuff like that. I'm looking forward to doing some technical diving in the near future, I keep putting it off but when I start making more money one day I'll do it. I'm having a tough time believing you had to listen to the younger guys complain about all the weight, as I'm only 26 and I know how you "old people" always complain about doing hard work and how your always sore and aching! oke
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:43 PM   #5
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

I know you where looking foward to this class and it sounds like you had a great time... Try not to get eaten by the big @ss fish next time...

Rodney
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:47 PM   #6
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

Congrats big Ritch!It was a great having you guys on the boat as usual.Dan Crowell has to be one of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:46 AM   #7
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

Congrats Richard, I'm glad you had a great checkout dive and great story you shared...Are you going tri next??? Good luck and I will see you at the shop.....

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Old 07-28-2009, 02:00 AM   #8
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

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roberbr22 (7/27/2009)That's definitely a great story and I always love reading stuff like that. I'm looking forward to doing some technical diving in the near future, I keep putting it off but when I start making more money one day I'll do it. I'm having a tough time believing you had to listen to the younger guys complain about all the weight, as I'm only 26 and I know how you "old people" always complain about doing hard work and how your always sore and aching! oke
Thanks roberbr22. The young guys are wimps these days.I came up when ships were made of wood and men were madeof steel Seriously, Icould barely step off the boat with those double 80s on my back and I can't imagine hauling around 108s or something bigger. That's one great avantage of a rebreater -- you get morebottom time than most doublesand they weigh about what a single aluminum 80 weighs.

Anyway, I waited a long time before doing the class and I regret it. If you love diving, it's worth it and will pay you back in longer/safer dives.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:02 AM   #9
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

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bignasty (7/27/2009)I know you where looking foward to this class and it sounds like you had a great time... Try not to get eaten by the big @ss fish next time...

Rodney
Hey Rodney. It was a great week of class and diving, but I'm tired. If others hadn't seen the big Jewfish, I'm sure they would have blamed it on being narced.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:16 AM   #10
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Default RE: Finished Advanced Nitrox/Stage Decompression Class With Dan Crowell last week

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donedealin (7/27/2009)Congrats big Ritch!It was a great having you guys on the boat as usual.Dan Crowell has to be one of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet.
Thanks Donna. Captain Douglas and the crew of the H2O Below were excellent as usual, but I think we gave him a minor heart attackwhen Josh told us to do a simulated drift deco (we really didn't have any deco)so we shot sausages right next to the boat but then proceeded to drift past the tag line anddrift away from the boat. As we were doing this, it occured to me that I had never heard anyone tellDouglas that we were planning this. So, after a few minutes of drifiting we all came up and foundDougy swimming right in the middle of us with the safety line. I was sure glad to have it too, becausethe only thing worse than carryingdoubles on your back is swimming themon the surface against a current.Fortunately this was a very mild current and we were not very far away and got back without incident. Josh said "oops" when he got back on the boat.
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