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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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Up at 5.00am and off the Weymouth for the Illinois


Arrive 08:30 kit on boat and straight to bed on the ever so lovely Tango with the equally lovely Phil at the helm.

Kit up and final dive check. I have been buddied with John and we are first in which means we have to tie in the shot. We are kitted up and ready to rock and role when Johns inflator hose explodes at the coupling and he has to can the dive till its fixed. I am instantly re buddied with Brad a CCR diver and we are now in second and therefore have to drag down the deco station and clip it to the 12m loop.

It goes OK and we descend to 62m on the deck. Here we clip Strobe lights to the shot line to make it easier to find the shot on our return. Each diver does this so the last diver up should pick up the last strobe. This for warns him that it is his job to unclip the decompression station from the shot. There are also clips on the station connecting loop. 8 clips mean 8 divers on the station so it can be unclipped.

Job done and we bounce the bottom to check the max depth. I record 65.3 and curse my 70m 65m plan. Thank god for the VR3.

Viz was rubbish with about 10m on a dive reputed for 25m. Concerns over relocation of the shot at the end of the dive restricted our travel away from the entry point and it turns out my CCR buddy is not into long bottom times. He turned the dive after 15mins and we were back on the shot at 20. I looked him straight in the eye thought it for about 2 milli seconds and waved him goodbye.

So my first 62m solo dive began

I loved it. I was relaxed and free of commitment to my dive buddy and so I went exploring the lower decks dropping down through the big hole in the stern section and fining up the corridor. The life on the wreck was spectacular and although the viz was poor the rout back to the shot was easy as the wreck was so intact and the current went directly across the wreck so you always knew which way you were pointing. After 35 mins I turned back to the shot and at 42mins I left the bottom to ascend to my first stop depth of 45m.    

I was second in and almost last up the shot. One strobe told of divers below. It turned out to be John my supposed dive buddy kit repaired and back in the water. He was also solo, but then he usually dives this way.

Gas switching and ascent went no problem and I had about 80mins of deco to do following the VR3. The deco on the tables was about 104mins but I ignored that as the dive depths were not what they were planned to be. All went well until we hit the deco station. The sea had picked up and the station was bouncing up and down like a bouncy thing and it was not comfortable to hang on.  We were on 80% so we dropped to 7m and huddled around the lazy shot and watched the station bounce around above us. 62mins to go  


Surprisingly the time went quickly and I was looking at my computer with 10mins to go when it all hit the fan.

The station was suddenly being towed away. We didn’t know why. I let go and free hung at 6 but the others hung on and some dropped down to 12m. The station was moving really slowly so I guessed the skipper was trying to tow us out of the way of an oncoming ship. So I decided to grab the lazy shot and follow the others. The boat then accelerated and the station was towed to within 2m of the surface. I was on the lazy shot and despite dumping my wing I was dragged to the surface.  Once there I thought sod it lets see whats going on so I stuck my head out an saw that the station was tangled in our own boat and there was no on coming ship to worry about.

Down I go back to 6m ASAP and give the all clear to the other divers. I have just bounced the surface so I am waiting for some DCI symptoms but thankfully none appeared. I Cleared deco 9mins later but decided that another 10mins was called for, just in case.

On the surface it turns out that the first diver to ascend had not swam away from the deco station and the skipper had been forced to go close to the station to pick him up. This resulted in one of the station buoys getting tangled in the catch line and the station being dragged away by the boat in the current.

Whoops :0

All divers were on board and no one was bent so not too bad. So we headed for Alderney and a hearty meal.

Next day. We set out for an unknown wreck. Viz on the Illinois was not good enough to justify a second dive on the same wreck. The dive was in 65m so the gas was right for the dive and our pre planned dives could be carried out no problem. Ha ha J

Kitting up went as per usual and it as decided that I would again dive with the CCR man. Pete and Lesley jump in first and tie in the shot and CCR and I jump in second. I am waiting at the shot but CCR man has a problem. (I later found out his bail out tank fell off in the jump???) Once again I am faced with canning the dive and I think for about two seconds and think sod that, and descend to 65m.

At the bottom of the shot I find Pete and Lesley sorting out strobes and guidelines so I follow them for the rest of the dive at a discreet distance. The dive was great, the ship was obviously in ballast when sunk, as the holds were empty but the life and the general condition of the wreck were superb, so who cares about trophies.  I do 40 mins on the bottom again and head back to the shot. I can only see one strobe on the shot so that means I must be last back but just as I am about to ascend I see bubbles from a diver.  Bugger. I go off to see if he is in trouble but when I get there I find he is engrossed with setting up a lift bag. I signal him with my torch and check he is OK. He does the necessary Yes response and I recognise John again, the very experienced deep solo diver. I again attract his attention and try and explain that he has forgotten to put a strobe on the shot. I levee my strobe in place so he can find his way back and I head up having over stayed my bottom time by four mins.

My emergency tables are pulled out with my plus 5min plan and I decide to ascend on the VR3 for the second dive in a row. The VR3 didn’t miss a beet and re computed my deco and got me safely up to the 6m stop for my 70 min hang L

The tide is ripping through but the station has not been unclipped. As I see John reaching his 9m stop I realise he has not understood my signal about the strobe so he has not un-clipped the station on his 12m stop. Bugger L

When John finally reaches his 6m stop I can see he is looking nervously below for bubbles and then I attract his attention and explain in sign language that the strobe he left behind was my one. We used the emergency disconnect clip to unhook the station from the lazy shot and at last the station swept free from the current and we could all relax.

I would like to tell you that 70mins of deco went in a flash but it didn’t. I was getting very restless after 45mins and took to swimming large circles around the deco station to relieve boredom. I considered trying the game on the VR3 but I chickened out in case I screwed up the gas list or something equally as serious. I peed three times and over loaded my nappy and ended up with a piss soaked under suit. Lovely. I used pull top drinks bottle to re hydrate during deco which worked OK ish but I swallowed a bit of salt water with every mouthful of apple juse so I felt a little sick. I was so glad when the computer finally cleared and it took every ounce of will power I had to do a 5 min ascent to the surface. 6m in 5mins is very, very tedious.

So back on the boat and we all admire Johns porthole which made it safely aboard and again 8 divers settle down to a hearty meal, bend free and happy. Cant be bad.

Day three was a wind down dive. 45m on the Solsett
.

Now I distinctly remember about a year ago when the thought of 45m sent shivers down my spine, but today it felt like a trip to Stony. But wow what a trip J

I did the Solsett as a solo dive. An intentional solo dive this time. As it was CCR man had yet another kit failure on the surface so he wouldn’t have got on the dive with me any way. I dropped onto the stern section and followed along the seabed looking in wonder at this stunning wreck. Vis was about 15m and the slack was perfectly timed so it was a very relaxed dive. There are loads of easy penetration sites on the wreck and loads of exquisite nooks and crannies to explore. Fish life was prolific and the anenomies and coral on the wreck were as good as any UK dive I have ever done. All in all it was the dive of the trip for me. I loved it. I again did a 40min bottom time and racked up about 45mins deco.

The VR3 was worth it weight in gold. I could have planned the dive for 20 at 45 and 20 at 40 but instead I just did bail outs for 40 at 45 and dived the VR3 enjoying the freedom it gave me at any depth I chose throughout the dive. I was using an air top fill of  20 – 09he which was just enough to take the edge of the narcosis and let me have an enjoyable dive.

Back on the boat with a large crab in tow and a BIG grin. It was decided that a drift dive was called for to collect some scallops for my self and the other homeward bound diver. So we set out to a spot just off of Portland Bill. I had 60bar left in my twin set so I decided to clamp a 3ltr pony to the side just in case. This turned out to be a very good idea.

How deep is it I asked:

15m I was told

No problem.

So after a two-hour surface interval I am back in the water and a 30min bottom time is agreed. I have the SMB in tow my right hand and I am monitoring the bottom time on the Vytec in gauge mode (Stuck there for 48 hours once set) to monitor my depth and run time.

I hit the bottom and am surprised to find that it is 25m deep. Perhaps it shelves up I think and set about scallop catching. 20 scallops later I am on 28 mins and about 20bar of air and I am still at 25m. Time to switch to the pony me thinks.

So I switch to the pony of air which is blown to 200bar and soon after start my ascent. At this point I check my VR3 for the first time. I hadn’t used it before as my VR3 is in the right hand that was busy holding the goody bag and the SMB reel so was not easy to see.

The VR3 said 18mins of deco first stop 12m :0

I am a bit surprised to say the least, and I instantly realise that diving Helium on shallow dives is a bad move. I am already ascending to 12m whilst calculating my SAC at 25m for the last 3mins and my available gas to the surface.

Thankfully the 12m stop clears before I get there and I can go straight to 9m for 4mins before final ascent to 6m for 12mins.

I reckon I have done about 20mins on the pony in all so I have the main reg with my precious 20bar of back gas to hand but as it turns out I get up and back on the boat no problem after 18mins of deco and a 3min ascent from 6. I later check the tin and find 50bar left.

Back on the boat there is some serious piss taking about the bloke doing the deco dive for scallops but once again we are all up safe and happy so cant be bad.

Back home to Weymouth we go and I have to wave good-bye to the gang as they have Thursday and Friday to look forward too. I have already pushed my luck with the divorce courts doing the Solsett and I am praying that 20 scallops and a crab will go some way to me getting my nuptial rights back some time this year.

All in all a top three days. A great bunch of divers on the boat kept things ticking along and I have only praise for Phil and the lovely boat Tango. I complained that the microwave wasn’t working for my a-pray dive pasty, and he went straight out that evening and bought a new one. I kid you not.

I learnt a thing or two about dive planning and my own tolerance to long hang times and I found a new depth range for my dive limits. My previous 50 –60max is now comfortably 60 –70 for proper dives (ie not a bounce).

I also reminded my self that s#it happens on dives and that just because you have done a few deep ones a 25m scallop dive can still kill you if your not prepared and paying attention.

So, 60m solo dives, almost running out of gas, not monitoring my main computer, breaking surface in deco. Plenty to flame me for, but I couldn’t be assed to lie so that’s the way it happened.

Many thanks to Pete for the invite:


ATB

Mark Chase

PS the scallops were fantastic.
 

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Hey Mark,

Top report - open, honest, self-critical and non-posturing! The kind of report and dive description of what's down there that makes me remember why I took up diving in the first place, thanks mate.

Now, Deco Procedures Course for Tierney.......?
 

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Sounds like you had a good time Mark, why should you get flamed? Its your dive and your life, think it checks out you dont have a PFO though  
.
Its not a dive I would do, I dont have the experience or ability to hand aroung for 45+mins, and it doesnt come across that you are suggesting that we all do that sort of profile so I for one see no reason for a hammering.

Good write up, I'm sure it will interest/tempt the more advanced divers we have on YD.

Matt
 

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Mark

Good, honest writeup. It shows how little mistakes could lead to bigger issues - the 'forgotten' strobe.

I like the idea of the Salsette as a 'wind down' dive. For many of us, this is the kind of dive we 'work up' to.

Adrian
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>Hello Mark,

I liked your review, but have some questions to ask you. If your comp fails (hope it never does
) do you had back up tabels to cover such seroius bottom times? Tomorrow I shall do a good dive a well and encouraged by this report I will send you one too


Keep these comming Mark.....also as I have same problem.....how it ended up with nuptial rights
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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Solsett first
Unknown blip second
Illinoys third

BUT

The Illinoys is all about viz. Its like the Moldavia the wreck is famous for red sea type viz and the shere spectiacl of an intact wreck where you can see half the wreck from 40m on the shot is what that dive is all about but I was just unlucky to hit a bad day.

Pete is a SERIOUS brass diver yet he was willing to spend two dives diving a wreck with no brass on it. That is vilification enough for me to beleive that this must be a stunning wreck in the right conditions.

The Solsett is fantastic and I know 45m sounds deep (it cirtanly did to me last year) but in realality you can get a good bottom time with as little as 30mins of stops on the way home so its a very do-able dive for someone into accelorated deco. It has a fair bit of silt on it so I would still recommend the Moldavia over the Solsett for any one doing this depth for the first time.

PS Howard we are booking 5 winter dives on the Moldavia. They will all be Saterdays on Defiant out of little hampton on the Morning tide so let me know if your interested. December 30th was my best Mol dive of the year by the by.

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Pierre Farrugia @ Aug. 22 2003,19:42)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]If your comp fails (hope it never does
) do you had back up tabels to cover such seroius bottom times?
Oooooooh yes

I have a multiple arm slate with dive, dive plus 5mins, dive minus 5, bail out on 20mins and total cluster f*uck 50min profile in which I run out of back gas and deco gas and have to send for the drop tank  
 On top of that I carry pre set IANTD tables for air diving with 75% deco gas out down to 60m.

I am also constantly comparing the figures churned out by the VR3 with my tables. So If the VR3 said do a 3min safety stop at 6m after 40mins at 65m I would notice (I hope) the error.

Earley days for the VR3 and me but i can say that I added at least 10mins to all the VR3 deco profiles with the computer set to minimum safety. I personaly prefer to know the minimum recommended out of the water time and then to add my own safety margen rather than have to bend the computer in a semi emergancy. ie feeling sick and needing to get out ASAP.

So that said the VR3 and plus 10 on this sort of dive worked OK for me and I felt good after the dives.


[b said:
Quote[/b] ]....also as I have same problem.....how it ended up with nuptial rights
Got a kiss and a bit of a hug so I am still hopefull


ATB

Mark Chase
 

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Great report Mark, so detailed I almost thought I was there enough to put it in my logbook  


By the way, if Bob Cooper is out there and has done this wreck, any chance of a report so we can hear of other ways of doing these dives?
I've no angle here, but I've very recently done the intro trimix and I am genuinely interested in how others plan and execute these dives.


All the best, Malcolm.
 

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Hi

Again, glad you had a good time and are OK (well, apart from the soiled nappy eeeewwww!!). Theres no point in adding insult to injury so I won't. A decent dive buddy would have negated most of the problems. Seems a bit weird to me not knowing your buddy before such a dive and then being buddied with a rebreather diver. When you had posted about the trip earlier I though it was more of a team effort.

Interesting the problems the CCR guy had. One to note for the would be inspiration divers. Was it one or two dives out of four he managed? Did he explain about his decision to call the dive short and why he didn't tell you what his dive plan was?

Kindest Regards

Andy

PS They're still bounce dives you know, as are ALL ocean dives
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (wetlettuce @ Aug. 22 2003,22:05)]
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Theres no point in adding insult to injury so I won't. A decent dive buddy would have negated most of the problems.
You are totaly corect and I missed Andrew very much

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Seems a bit weird to me not knowing your buddy before such a dive and then being buddied with a rebreather diver.
I knew John well and he is a very compitent diver. He is also a diver who preferes solo diving so when a diver droped out leaving odd numbers he was sent in solo and the buddy teem was revised. This was the pre arranged plan. I was buddied with CCR man because I knew a little about the mechanics of diving the unit.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]When you had posted about the trip earlier I though it was more of a team effort.
Yes me too. To be fair there was teem work in the deployment of the deco station and the detachment of the station but personaly I thaught the system was flawed but I was way too low down on the diver rankings to be able to alter such a well used system so it stayed as is. The divers all helped each other with the last groups kitting up the first in etc and there was a lot of group spirit on the boat especialy with gas fills and humping 32 cylinders on and off the boat and up to the dive shop.

The trouble with plans is that the smallest thing can screw them up. Johns kit failure on day one, another diver spliting a kneck seel on day two both ment reverting to back up plans. John and I had planned matching gas and 40min bottom times. Pete and Lesley were the only other divers on 40min bottom times and that ment al contingancy planns would have mis matched profiles ranging from 20 - 40mins.

[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Did he explain about his decision to call the dive short and why he didn't tell you what his dive plan was?
We agreed a dive plan of 30mins on the surface and I would have stuck with that but we also agreed that if I was having a good dive and felt good I would take him back to the shot and then go my own way, which is what hapened. I would have gone up on 30 but 20 was way too short for me and didnt even fit with my deco tables as my 20min plan was bassed on emergancy profiles so I would have had to rely totaly on the VR3 or just pad out the bail out tables.



[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Interesting the problems the CCR guy had. One to note for the would be inspiration divers. Was it one or two dives out of four he managed?
Dive one no problems

Dive two 3ltr bail out tank fell off its mounting clamp on the side of the CCR unit on water entry. Dive canned as he was also feeling stressed and sea sick and this was the last straw. He had already indicated that if he didnt feel good he would can the dive on the 6m bubble stop.

Dive three: Unspecified problems with the CCR unit which he sorted on the boat  and eventualy got in and did a 20min profile.

He didnt want to do the drift so didnt do dive 4


As Mark pointed out it says it all in the title. The trip went well but did not go acording to plan. There was not enough depth of experiance in the teem to cover the deviation from plan A. It could have been a total disaster for me if I was not willing to solo dive but as it turned out it was fine. This was the first deep trimix trip for this group of divers. Pete pointed out that his regular group never have these sort of problems but thats because they have been diving as a teem for years. (and CCR's are banned from the group but I dont know if thats a big thing). I firmly beleive that our little group is now battle hardened and that our next trip will be better organised and smoother running.

Lets hope so

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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[b said:
Quote[/b] (malcolm smith @ Aug. 22 2003,21:51)]I've very recently done the intro trimix and I am genuinely interested in how others plan and execute these dives.


All the best, Malcolm.
Hi Malcolm

If you want specific information on some aspects of the dive, like station set up and gas profiles then contact me off line as the info might be a bit tedious for someone not actualy planning this sort of thing.

Beleive it or not many hours of preporation went into this little effort.


ATB

Mark Chase
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Mark,

A facinating report and it's refreshing to read a diver being self-critical in retrospect.

I think you should applaud yourself on being able to rescue a situation to make 4 good dives. Well done.

Obviously there will be those who carp and complain but as they weren't there then they would do so from a distinct disadvantage.(Not you WL - a considered and supportive post from you I thought.)

I hope on future dives the team will get better luck and everything will go swimmingly, however, as we all know mistakes make great learning points.(as long as they are not fatal!)

Honestly, I think a brief round up of the tables that you used and your stops would be of general interest.

PS I hope the suit smells better now!!
 

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I will add some stuff from the CCR perspective.  Although it seems that the CCR diver binned a few dives, that is generally unusual.  I took my unit on a two week trip earlier in the year, same set up, deco station etc, not team diving as we all dive solo and we all dive on CCR.  

My unit performed PERFECTLY on every dive and I use a VR3 plugged into the unit for real time deco.  

We don't generally use strobes on the shot, sometimes someone sticks one on then takes it away.   We reel out from the shot that way everyone can find their own way back.  We unclip our clips and the last person there knows without doubt that he is the last then he unclips the station.

Team diving requires logistic planning before the dive and everyone to be diving on the same deco software etc. It's all a bit anal.  we all solo dive, it's every man for himself and everyone carries their own bailout and tables, everyone jumps in solo, everyone does different bottom times and different deco,  we see each other on the wreck and then on the line and then everyone is together on the station at 6m.  You can't buddy dive at 75m, you are on your own as far as I'm concerned.  there was an open circuit diver a while back I'm told who almost ran out of gas at 75m after getting tangled and he dragged himself and his buddy to the surface, he got paralysed and the buddy went back down alone to deco and was ok.  I would never dive with an open circuit diver in a buddy pair at those depths - they simply cannot carry enough gas to save their own life if the shit hits the fan.  If someone hasn't got the gear and capability to solo dive at depth then they shouldnt do the dive while relying on a buddy.
 

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OK for those that are interested this is what we did. I am NOT saying its the way to go it is what we chose but not the gosple


First things first:

Safety kit

2 X Marinox 100% o2 kits with constant flow valves
2 X 10ltr drop tanks with 80 and 100% in pre riged with    
     regulator, floatation buoy and 6m rope.

Every diver had a Yellow lost gas blob and the protacol was drilled before the dives began

Every Diver had a strobe to mark the bottom of the shot and a clip to mark the 12m loop on the deco stage. This was again drilled before the dive

Task loading was kept to a minimum by tasking the dive teems so first in tied in the shot second teem cliped in the station. Third teem checked station deployment and sorted any problem. Fourth team theoreticly was last out of the water and cut the waster and uncliped the station on ascent.

We had minimum of two Analox 02 testers on board and we had two Helium analisers.

The deco station was a 2.5m bar with two bouys and was set to 6.5m with a 6m lazy shot going down to a waster loop. Should the piston release fail the waster loop could be cut to release the station. Should the last diver forget to unclip the station a second piston clip held the lazey shot to the bar and acted as last resort seporation.

The above was supplied and organised by Pete and Big Dave

Divers decided on their own profiles as we were to ascend the shot and would all eventualy meet on the 6m stop. Any diver not returning to the shot and bagging off was on his own as the boat was instructed to stay with the deco station no matter what. EPERB's were the preferd choice for those venturing away from the shot without reeling off.

The longest bottom time divers went in first to minimise waiting on the station before it was cut free.

My dive plan for the Illinoys:

I used GUE's Decoplanner to plan the dive set on ZHL16B running a 20-85 gradient factor safety off.

Plan was 10 @70m 30 at 65m gas 18/40 trimix 32%
            travel, 80% deco

STOPS: (shown as duration and depth)

1 - 42 Gas switch to 32% at end of stop
1 - 36
1 - 33
1 - 30
2 - 27
3 - 24
3 - 21
5 - 18
6 - 15
9 - 12 Gas switch on ascent to 80% at 10m
11 - 9
47 - 6m

5min ascent to the surface total run 138mins

Tables were cut for plus 5min and minus 5min run times and a 20min bail out plan was cut using 60-90 gradiant factors for a quick exit with 33mins deco.

A Vytec was used as depth and bottom timer and a VR3 was used as the primery computer. The VR3 was set to allow a switch to 100% on the drop tank and a switch to a redundent air supply at 65m

10ltr travel gas was used as a safety precaution and I had over 150bar left after both dives. Deco was on 7ltr stage blown to 200 bar but this was considered adiquate as we had the two available drop tanks of deco mix. both dives used about 130bar of deco gas.

Bottom time was dependent on back gas with imediate ascent to first stop depth on 50bar. As it was I got out of the water with 90bar plus on both dives including ascent to the first gas switch.

SAC was planned at 15 for botom gas and 10 for deco. Actual SAC for both dives was 13 and 12.7 on the botom and about 9 on deco.

Kit for the dives was two 12ltr twin sets pre filled to 260bar
two 10ltr travel stages pre filled
two 7ltr Deco mix pre filled
one 3ltr pony of air

Gas cost £120

The Solsett was done on an air top which was o2 and helium analised  to 20 -9he and dived on a fresh plan cut on a laptop using Decoplanner. 32% Travel was carried as bail out as I was on a solo dive and deco was again on 80%. 40mins on the botom average depth 43m gave a total run time on the VR3 of 92mins including my usual padding on the shallow stops and slow ascent from 6m.  


Thats about it

ATB

Mark Chase
 

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<font color='#000F22'>Thanks Mark - interesting stuff. Very appreciated mate.

Good luck.
 

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Mark,

Obviously heard it before but still made me grin and shiver in equal measure.

Malcolm Smith, When you do this sort of diving there is no right or wrong way just a safe way. You plan the dive, work out what can go wrong, plan for that and then expect the one thing you didn't think of to happen.

I have dived more than enough with Mark tp know that all dives are thought through, and in our case usually discussd to bleeding death cos we are both stageringly boring.

WL. All sea dives are bounce dives, balls................. Who ever said that is a flaming idiot, how can anyone describe a dive with a profile of over two hours as a bounce dive. Err that is except saturation divers. I suggest you read less and dive more.

Andrew


[b said:
Quote[/b] ]You are totaly corect and I missed Andrew very much
ps Mark,  I love you too!!!
 

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WL

Errr sorry mate, done it again, I have a habit of doing this when I am a bit drunk and in a bad mood for some reason. This time I was tired and more than a little cut, plus a row with the missus meant an unnessary post.

Sorry to be rude.

Andrew
 
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