Boat going out again

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During the winter weather had been pretty terrible most weekends, so it’s no wonder we hadn’t done a boat dive in ages. Getting enough people together on a sunny and clear winter day is hard enough, on a windy and cold day it’s pretty much impossible. But weather was finally playing nice so we took the boat out for a spin.

I was looking forward to doing some deeper dives again after a break of several months but unfortunately things didn’t work out so nicely for me. First of all, I was somewhat underweighted. On most shore dives I finished the dives with plenty of air left, so this was less of an issue. But after coming up for a safety stop after our first dive at Lonsdale Wall I really struggled to maintain the stop with under 100 bar in the tank. This alone probably wouldn’t have been a problem, but I also wanted to practice buoyancy control with my BCD in addition to the drysuit.

On a single tank I normally just rely on the drysuit for buoyancy but as the advanced nitrox and decompression course was just a week away I wanted to get bit of practice with the wing as well. Unfortunately the wing can be bit of a pain to empty with a single tank which I found out the hard way. I had some tense moments overshooting the five meter stopping and trying to get back down. After dumping rest of the air I was finally able to complete the stop (still struggling a bit), luckily enough the dive had been pretty shallow (less than 20 meters) so I wasn’t too concerned.

After the first dive I thought the issue had simply been with the wing, so I jumped in for our second dive at Pope’s Eye without adding any weight. This proved to be a big mistake! I was using a half full tank from the first dive and with the strong current at Pope’s Eye I really struggled to maintain a good buoyancy. After struggling for quite a while I finally gave up and made a reasonably controlled ascent and got back on the boat. It was time to add some extra weight for the next dive!

After all the bouncing up and down and not equalizing properly I was suffering from a pretty bad headache at this point. At this point I was ready to call it for a day, but then Mel bailed out from the last dive due to reverse block. So I decided to come along to make sure we had a full boat. So we headed to Portsea Hole for the third dive of the day. With some added weight buoyancy was pretty ok this time around, I was also getting a better hang of dumping the air from BCD.

Unfortunately the combination of my bad headache and the fact that I was really focusing on my buoyancy meant I wasn’t paying enough attention to my buddies. Visibility at Portsea Hole was fairly poor but normally this still wouldn’t have been an issue as we had plenty of experienced divers with us. But this was also the day Dean was doing his first drysuit dives and he was having his share of issues with the suit. I wasn’t paying close enough attention and we ended up with the second close call of the day. Luckily nothing serious happened, but the incident still led to some unfortunate repercussions. 🙁

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