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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Hi all

Had my first drysuit experiences on Saturday (courtesy of Ian {exnavyboy} and John {j.w.}) and thought I would share the experiences.

John and Ian were nice enough to pick me up from Cambridge and deposit me in Guildenburgh in front of a bacon sandwich and a coffee. Having finally woken up a bit, Ian and myself donned kit and carried out a weight check. My first time being in water in a drysuit taught me two things, 7 degree water is still pretty cold against the face and it is a funny feeling being shrink wrapped.

I had a little difficulty getting the right weighting. 11 kg felt about right but couldn't descend with 50bar, so I opted for 12kg for the dives. The idea being that once I relaxed about the drysuit/water temp etc I might be able to drop a kg or two.

So having got fills we all got ready and headed in for our first dive. We had a pleasant bimble around the lake, only pausing for me to have a bit of a play with the suit (fin pivots, a bit of a hover, orientating myself in the water etc). After about 20 mins, John and myself got seperated from Ian, as the vis was quite low (ca 2m) we didn't find him and surfaced. I noticed on the way up that at around safety stop depth I was having difficulty dumping air fast enough to stay down. After a short wait on the surface we found Ian and headed back. Turns out Ian had been having some trouble dumping air from his new wing and his suit had developed a mystery leak.


The second dive started with Ian having a play with his new wing on one of the platforms (tank wrapping appeared to be the most likely culprit). The dive seemed to go quite well, but with the vis dropping to <1M at times it was getting difficult staying together on the lines running through the lake. Unfortunately at one point I got a little bit disorientated in the poor vis and started to ascend before I realised it. By the time I did realise it I had a bit of difficulty dumping air quick enough and ended up at the surface (Doh! note to self, figure out how to dump from neck/wrist with hood/gloves). Once on the surface I chilled out for a few minutes waiting on the others to surface.

A passing instructor checked if I was ok and then off he went. After a few minutes I could hear some garbled loud speaker announcement, through the hood/wind etc it took a minute to realise that it was the shore checking if I was ok, I signalled back that all was ok. They then asked where my buddy was, I did my best to signal that I had two and they were still together. less than a minute later the rescue boat was out and patrolling the lake (notably they didn't approach me and ask about my buddies again), shortly afterwards the guys surfaced a little confused by the boat.

What had happened below was.....due to the vis all we could make out were shadows. When I popped up off the line it was difficult for the other guys to tell one shadow from another, and as I was in the middle of the line it was only when they reached the end point and regrouped that they realised I was gone. They then searched back along the line for me, reached the start point and started to ascend (extra carefully now due to the boat over head).

I guess the boat was sent out because you would normally expect a buddy to surface within a couple of minutes of the first diver, but due to a combination of vis and diving in a three it took longer.

Besides that little bit of drama it was a really enjoyable day, had fun with the drysuit (although I still have a lot to learn).

Thanks again to Ian and John for a great day, especially for the banter (don't worry Ian I won't mention any of the Donald duck or Tango comments .....Doh!)

Cheers

Conor
 

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thanks for letting us know how you got on - i did wonder!  sounds like you had a good laugh.

apart from face/hands were you warm?
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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apart from face and hands, I was dry, but never really warm as such. Particularly when using the wing for buoyancy. I think the thinsulate I was wearing was quickly compressed away to nothing, especially around the torso, so I'd start to get a little bit chilled. I kept getting tempted to put a bit more air into the suit as this did make it feel warmer but I think this just lead to the Unidentified Floating Object.
 

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<font color='#000080'>Hi Conor,

Glad you had an enjoyable day, we certainly did. Any time you fancy a dive, give us a shout.

The Tango photo is priceless. It's only in seeing the photo you can appreciate how bright it is! I will email you a few photos from Saturday either tonight or tomorrow.

Nice dive report that, might just print it and stick it in my log!

All the best mate,

Ian

P.S. Forget to mention John done a mean impression of a nodding dog on the way home!
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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Connor,
'told you so' in a smart arse sort of way. I found my Flex also dumps slow if overweighted, which considering you were probably anxious, well a bit anyway, caused the 'problem'. Odd thing is that because you popped you probably think you need more weight, when you really need less. Sounds like you had a pretty good time on balance and it will get better, honest. I read somewhere that it takes about 20 dives in a bag to go from totally useless to pi** poor, after that you get better  
 Now of course you have winter kit there is absolutely no excuse for not diving al year round.

Rgds
Matt
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Ian - Likewiase, give us a shout if you fancy a dive.

Matt - thanks for the words of wisdom, totally agree. I wouldn't believe for a second someone doing their first drysuit dives in coldwater wouldn't be at least a bit anxious and so its difficult to guage the weighting. I'm sure within my next couple of dives I'll be able to get my weight a bit more accurate, thus there will be less air in the suit and so less air to dump.

The thing I noticed is that in a true emergency I wouldn't be able to get through the hood's skirt and the neo collar to get at the neck seal to dump air, likewise, getting past the cuff of the gloves to the wrist seal wouldn't be easy. Its something I really need to think around in case it becomes nescessary
 

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Just not enough dive time.
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Conor
that was something I went through too, "what if", to be honest by the time you have a few more dives in the suit and got your weight right (or nearer right anyway) the slow dump wont be so much of an issue. You might find you want to change to a 'better' valve, but I dont think there is too much difference between an Oceanic and A N Other.

Bare in mind also at the depthes you were playing in the effect would be very much greater than 'normal'. I know you feel that your stops look like they could be compromised so just make sure you are virtually negative before you ascend up the shot line till you are more experienced at controlling the suit. Its like riding a bike, when you cant you dont think you ever will, then you do and wonder what all the fuss was about.

 


Have fun
Matt
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (camdiver @ April 05 2004,11:56)]apart from face and hands, I was dry, but never really warm as such. Particularly when using the wing for buoyancy. I think the thinsulate I was wearing was quickly compressed away to nothing, especially around the torso, so I'd start to get a little bit chilled. I kept getting tempted to put a bit more air into the suit as this did make it feel warmer but I think this just lead to the Unidentified Floating Object.
This is why people tend to use their suit only for buoyancy. Personally I find it much, much easier to dive this way as the suit squeeze and coldness on descent prompt you to keep roughly the same amount of air in your suit throughout the dive and its this which keeps your buoyancy the same. I learnt to dive in warm water so I couldn't believe how easy buoyancy comes to drysuit diver!  


As for bobbing to the surface, don't worry about it; this is exactly why people have drysuit training dives  
 Everyone has done it at least once (or is just a show off!  
) but you will soon get the hang of adding air when needed and fiddling with your auto dump until you get it tuned perfectly (or set to compensate for bad weighting!)  
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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First dive I used the suit for bouyancy, second dive the wing. I think it'll take me a while to get a clear idea of which way is for me, but think either will be a lot easier if I get my weighting sorted.

Cheers

Conor
 

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<font color='#FF0000'>connor you must have been diving a different guildenburgh to me cos the vis I had was about yes well I wasn't the only one to call the dive. 1/2 mtr at best. and it was feckin cold. the first time this year that i've felt cold. Yes I have dived most week ends through the winter.
as for suit boyancy keep playing here till you get it right. Of shore is not the place to find out youve got it wrong.
I've had some problems myself just lately but now I think it's ok. remember with a bag that it's being able to dive it comfortably that is without anxiety that counts. if you take a look at some of the rambles that have been aired before on this site you will see that there are many different methods employed by our members and what is right for one is not necessarily right for another. I have found this through experimentation and watching how others cope in various situations. See you again soon. Louigi
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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Hi Louigi,

it was good to see you on Saturday (out of the water cos I couldn't have seen you under
). I'm planning to keep practising over the next few weeks, there'll be plenty of time for the sea once I've got it sorted.

Cheers

Conor
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>i dive twins and can still fly the suit
if you tug your suit around the neck it will dump but you will get very cold
imho a cuff dump works best
 

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"Right, done the pool stuff, what's next.........?
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<font color='#000080'>Hi Conor hope we didn't put you off too much on Saturday. To be honest I thought things went not too badly, give or take the odd separation and the unfamiliar sound of a boat engine in a lake. All in all an enjoyable day. Good bacon butties and a good laugh. Look forward to doing it again.
Hi Louigi, the vis take its toll on you as well? Not the best weve ever came across but it was pretty busy I suppose, hopefully see you all soon.
John.
 

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Ginger, Irish, sometimes stroppy
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See!! You are never going to be mistaken for someone else looking like that!
 
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