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View Full Version : The reason I, a newbie, am even considering solo diving...



sfbluestar
03-04-2010, 12:01
I feel like staying in shallow water (maybe 6-7' of water) near shore and just goof around there to hone my skills, but my diving group of more advanced divers always want to swim out 70 yards then dive down to 50' of water. To them this is basic training for a newbie, but I the last time I went with them I felt very nervous.

I didn't want to be a burden to others; nor was I certain whether others would be able to rescue me should something happens. When I finished their diving routine I felt dangerously exhausted.

So, is there a plan I can safely dive solo? For example, go only 20 yards out to 8' of water and just hang out there to look at fish.

chilly willy
03-04-2010, 12:19
I would strongly suggest you get much more experience before attempting any solo diving, you can get in just as much trouble close to shore and shallow as you can a little further and deeper. From your statement it sounds like your not anywhere near comfortable enough to be on your own. Also, if your as tired as you say from the dives the group is taking you on, might I suggest doing some physical training? Maybe jogging or swimming for better endurance? I'm sure you could find a buddy that is OK with getting you adapted to a usual dive profile without getting you too tired or anxious. Ask around the LDS, or here, or even the "other" board to try to find someone that is willing to go with you until you are more comfortable in the water.

Noob
03-04-2010, 14:14
If it was me I would talk with one of those guys that you are closest too or like sfbluestar said from a LDS that has the experience and is willing to go at your pace. Someone willing to correct you when needed. Many LDS will have people like this. The guy that owns my local LDS would probably do it in a heartbeat for nothing for me.

Largo
03-04-2010, 21:49
You are from California, so you should be able to find some freediving instructors there.

If you want to be a confident solo diver, then first become a confident free-diver.

navyhmc
03-04-2010, 22:31
If you want to be a confident solo diver, then first become a confident free-diver.

I like that Largo. :smiley20:

Though I might change it to: "If you want to be a safe and confident solo diver, then first be a safe and confident buddy diver." No matter what, I like it!

Grin
03-05-2010, 07:22
I feel like staying in shallow water (maybe 6-7' of water) near shore and just goof around there to hone my skills, but my diving group of more advanced divers always want to swim out 70 yards then dive down to 50' of water. To them this is basic training for a newbie, but I the last time I went with them I felt very nervous.

I didn't want to be a burden to others; nor was I certain whether others would be able to rescue me should something happens. When I finished their diving routine I felt dangerously exhausted.

So, is there a plan I can safely dive solo? For example, go only 20 yards out to 8' of water and just hang out there to look at fish.

It sounds to me like you may be a candidate for solo diving. Some people need someone to save them and freak out on the thought of not having someone around. Often that buddy is nothing but a false security anyway. A good solo diver has your attitude from what think I read. Being safe, and progressing slow and confident, and taking charge of your situation 100% yourself, is what makes you a good solo candidate. Personally I hated the buddy system as I do not like the idea of putting my life into someone elses hands. They teach and press the buddy system becasue that is what most people need. I think solo diving is safer in many ways when done correct. Solo diving removes alot of task loading involving keeping a eye on your buddy, having to follow, or keep up, and/or keep track of their buddy and their gas situation etc.... This makes solo diving so much more enjoyable and task free.
Two important points:
1. you can drown in 6 ft of water just as easily as 50ft so don't let the shallow water give you a false security.
2. A pony bottle correctly picked for your dive style, and custom set up for you, by you, is possible better than any buddy system. But only if you do it right! Many differnet opinions about how a pony is correctly settup, and most are right for each individulas preferences and applications. Do a search on ponies and you will have plenty of reading.

And for many people, they just need to be saved. It's up to you to decide if you can deal with a situation with noone there to save you. For many this is not true at all. But for just as many it is no issue at all. Virtually all people will tell you they never panik. If you panik solo diving there will be noone there to save you. And there is no law to save you from yourself when you make this decision.

thor
03-05-2010, 07:49
It sounds like you just REALLY need a good buddy that will be patient with you. Perhaps get an instructor to help you with your skills. Not wanting to burden people when you are in trouble is a sure way to get into further trouble. I had a buddy once who ran out of air because he did not want to end the dive earlier for the other divers. When he got low on air, he figured he would just stick it out, try to conserve air and last as long as everyone else. He didn't want to be a burden to anyone. If teamwork and helping others was not part of diving, we would not be required to carry an Octo. (Obviously there are many divers who believe it is every man for himself out there also) If your friends want to go diving with you, they should go at your speed, until you are more comfortable in the water.

bigman241
03-05-2010, 13:31
When I asked about the solo thing alot of people told me you can die in 8 feet of water just as easy as 50. If I was afraid of 50 feet out 20 yards I doubt I could solo. Who knows maybe that will change when I do my cert next week.

in_cavediver
03-05-2010, 14:51
OK,

Reality check for everyone here.

The issue with making decisions is information. For most divers, they literally don't know all of the risks that solo presents. Because of that, they under estimate what it really takes to do it safely. In thier mind with the knowledge they have, it seems reasonable - right up until something goes wrong.

Its not rocket science and I won't claim it is. I also will strongly discourage any newer diver from considering it until they build up a lit expeirence underwater. I know full well lots of people did in the past. I also know that we know more now than we did back then (though for some reason we want to meter that knowledge out in little chunks with cards and $$$ for each step). I'll also freely admit lots of underqualified (in my opinion) divers solo each day and live to tell about. To me, its the question of what about those whose dives don't go as planned - are they here to tell about it or just another statistic in the accidents forum.

I say dive a bit, master some basic skills and get really comfortable. Then think about solo. While dive counts don't tell you everything, it should be telling SDI requires the same number of dives to take thier solo course that PADI requires to become an instructor (100 dives, DM requires only 60).

awap
03-05-2010, 14:57
The idea of undertaking solo diving, regardless of how conservative you are planning to dive, Before you are comfortable doing fairly moderate dives with a buddy just seems like a really bad idea. I suggest you would be better off finding a good buddy and getting more experience before you go solo.

sfbluestar
03-06-2010, 19:45
I just read an interesting quasi-solo story on another site, which I won't name unless there is a reason.

This new diver went for his first dive with another newbie and a more experienced diver. They got into 10' of water, the first guy could not equalize his sinus due to a cold, so he "hangs around the rocks in 10' of water" while the other two dives to deeper water. When the two returned then all three got out of water.

In this case, is the staying diver considered diving solo? Did they do the right thing by having one person stay where he was and relax?

in_cavediver
03-06-2010, 20:17
I just read an interesting quasi-solo story on another site, which I won't name unless there is a reason.

This new diver went for his first dive with another newbie and a more experienced diver. They got into 10' of water, the first guy could not equalize his sinus due to a cold, so he "hangs around the rocks in 10' of water" while the other two dives to deeper water. When the two returned then all three got out of water.

In this case, is the staying diver considered diving solo? Did they do the right thing by having one person stay where he was and relax?

The single diver was solo and was doing solo at a higher risk than most other solo divers IMHO. If you have problems equalizing, you can do damage to your ears and you can run the risk of vertigo/disoreintation etc. Problems like this are not something you really want to have alone.

If it was me, I'd have given him a few minutes to see if he could work it out, if so - great. If not, unless there was something at 10' to do the dive at, We'd have escorted him to the surface and out, then done our dive. Their safety trumps our desire to be UW.

BTW - this has nothing to do with expierence. I have done the exact same thing with my wife, a very expierence tec diver, for the reasons listed above. She couldn't equalize so we got her back up safely before doing our dive without her. (she did make it to 15-18' ft though)

Damselfish
03-06-2010, 21:29
The dives you're describing (swim 70 yards to 50' of water) don't sound like anything excessive. You shouldn't do that if you're uncomfortable, but if you're not comfortable doing basic dives for your area in the company of a group of more advanced divers, you're not ready to be thinking about solo diving no matter how shallow. Your answer is not to dive solo someplace shallow, it's to find a buddy who will do dives with you you are comfortable with. That person is around someplace. Or even hire a divemaster for some dives to work with you. Or find some local group say with a dive shop doing dives you are comfortable with, you'll probably be able to meet up with other new divers this way.

It would be good to know why you are exhausted from the dives you did with these folks. It could be normal new diver tiredness, diving is pretty exhausting to many divers when they're new for a variety of reasons. (Just the stress of doing a dive you're uncomfortable with won't help.) Or, are they swimming out and around much more quickly then is needed, fighting surf or currents, whatever - instead of relaxing and looking at things? Or, are you simply out of shape to do the dives in question, in which case you should look at ways to work on that.

navyhmc
03-07-2010, 18:26
OK,

Reality check for everyone here.

The issue with making decisions is information. For most divers, they literally don't know all of the risks that solo presents. Because of that, they under estimate what it really takes to do it safely. In thier mind with the knowledge they have, it seems reasonable - right up until something goes wrong.

Its not rocket science and I won't claim it is. I also will strongly discourage any newer diver from considering it until they build up a lit expeirence underwater. I know full well lots of people did in the past. I also know that we know more now than we did back then (though for some reason we want to meter that knowledge out in little chunks with cards and $$$ for each step). I'll also freely admit lots of underqualified (in my opinion) divers solo each day and live to tell about. To me, its the question of what about those whose dives don't go as planned - are they here to tell about it or just another statistic in the accidents forum.

I say dive a bit, master some basic skills and get really comfortable. Then think about solo. While dive counts don't tell you everything, it should be telling SDI requires the same number of dives to take thier solo course that PADI requires to become an instructor (100 dives, DM requires only 60).


I'm totally with in_cave on this. It's not the solo dive that is easy and incident free, it's when the ca-ca hits the ventilator solo dive that could literally be your death.

RogerAg
03-07-2010, 19:46
When I finished their diving routine I felt dangerously exhausted.


With less then 24 dives you should NOT be solo diving.

But there might be something wrong if your exhausted after a dive. If its just trying to keep up with the others, then you need to tell them to slow then down or find another dive buddy.

But there might be a medical problem that your not aware of.

Something like that happened to my wife when we first started diving.
She had asthma for about 5 years before we started diving and she used inhalers, but she always complained that they did not do much good. On one dive she was so exhausted that I had to help her to shore only after 5 minutes in the water. I told her that, she finds out what is wrong or she does not dive again. By then she had been assigned a new doctor because her old one had been promoted to a higher level of incompetences. Her new doctor said that she did not have asthma but tachycardia (racing hart) and with the proper medication she could go back to diving. My wife now has over 400 dives

CriticalMass
11-27-2010, 20:17
If you have problems equalizing, you can do damage to your ears and you can run the risk of vertigo/disoreintation etc. Problems like this are not something you really want to have alone.

If you have problems equalizing, it's not about solo diving, it's about diving, period. If you have problems like that, you need to get a firm resolution of those problems before any serious consideration can be given to diving at all.

Charon
12-10-2010, 08:13
OK,

Reality check for everyone here.

The issue with making decisions is information. For most divers, they literally don't know all of the risks that solo presents. Because of that, they under estimate what it really takes to do it safely. In thier mind with the knowledge they have, it seems reasonable - right up until something goes wrong.


I would strongly recommend that every diver who solos get and study the SDI Solo Diving Manual. It thoroughly covers most, if not all, the information needed to safely solo. As long as you have and can use the mandatory redundant equipment, aquire the necessary navagational skills, stick to the rules, and stay well within your comfort zone it's safe and a lot more pleasant. Moreover, when you do dive with a buddy you free them from your dependance on them and, properly equipped (equipment & skills), you are much better able to help them in an emergency.

Straegen
12-10-2010, 14:54
Stick with the buddy system. Hit the pool regularly and swim some laps in fins which help build diving muscles. It doesn't take long optimize that muscle group. Also consider a warmer/better wetsuit and/or hood which can be part of the reason you felt exhausted. Water really sucks the heat from the body which is very tiring to most people. A better fitting suit and hood could make a huge difference in how you feel.

Nitrox could be a consideration as it does help some feel better at the end of the dive but it would be the last one on my list.

bigman241
12-10-2010, 15:51
Nope did not change, still not thinking of solo diving, see no reason to, infact I am more on the buddy system then my dad who questions solo diving.
When I asked about the solo thing alot of people told me you can die in 8 feet of water just as easy as 50. If I was afraid of 50 feet out 20 yards I doubt I could solo. Who knows maybe that will change when I do my cert next week.

cmburch
12-10-2010, 16:58
Us NorCal freedivers are essentially solo due to the visibility.

Anyone can run into trouble with our conditions in Northern California even if on the surface. Rocks, reefs, kelp, cliffs, currents, rapidly changing conditions, rouge waves, etc.

I would assume if tired at the end of a dive it is due to not taking it easy and trying to keep up with more efficient divers. Just ask them to slow down. Comfort is very important.