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RickPeck
10-08-2007, 20:41
I recently went on a dive in St Thomas on a wreck called Miss Opportunity. The wreck lies bottom up with the max depth at about 85'. The divemaster (who is an instructor as well) explained that we would be entering at the stern and penetrating the full length of the wreck, which looked to be about 250'. He also said that it was fairly open with bailout holes cut into the side of the holds.

I told him I had 24 dives and had just finished my PADI AOW class. My bouancy control is fairly good but I have not done any diving in an overhead enviroment and was a little nervous about this situation. 85' and a newbie diver on a wreck with single 80's and no bailout system did not seem like a good idea.

We descended and entered the wreck at the stern where it was broken open. The first hold was fairly wide open with the bailout holes cut in the side/top that also provided some light. The dive leader led us to a corridor, turned around and held his fingers close together indicating a short passageway. Turned out to be about 60' with no line, no dive light, and clearance of about 7' x 5' turned on its side in a diamond shape. I did a one finger touch in the middle and got a small coral puncture in my finger, not a big deal, just irritating.

We entered the second hold and it was a little more congested, not much, but there were some pipes and dangling items around. He headed for another corridor and I decided to use the bailout hole. The divemaster canidate that was trailing the group followed me out. Not a panic on my part, just very uncomfortable. I finished the dive outside the wreck looking at fish. The group found us about 15 minutes later and we ascended together.

I wasn't exactly angry, just unhappy that an Instructor that had not ever dove with me would lead a newbie into a situation like that. No one had a spare system or anything beyond recreational gear. Standard length hoses, no lines, and no offer of dive lights to the people that didn't know we were doing a wreck dive. One of my AOW dives was a wreck evaluation and this was everything that we were told not to do. The dive boat also included some locals who were taking items off the wreck, they had brought tools to unbolt things. Another PADI no/no that seemed to not bother the dive operator in the least. The boat captain was laughing about the locals saying "they never come up empty handed."

The more I think about this the more it bothers me. Am I over reacting to this?

Your opinions, and even flames for me being stupid, are expected.

Rick

Texas_Aggie06
10-08-2007, 20:54
did any of the divemasters have doubles at least?

ScaredSilly
10-08-2007, 21:01
not over reacting, just kicking yourself cause you just did a trust me dive against your better judgement. You finally said enough and exited. good for you. with experience you will learn to ask more questions and decide before hand what you want to do before you hop in the water.

RickPeck
10-08-2007, 21:07
Nope, all divers had single 80's and standard recreational length hoses. No 7' hoses. That is what kind of gave me the clue this was a bad situation. I imagined having an air problem in that corridor and wondered what would happen. It would have immediately silted up if someone had struggled and lost bouancy control and flailed around. Thats why I refused to enter the second corridor.

Rick

datamunk
10-08-2007, 21:10
that was agood move on your part to cancel the penetration. you are ultimately the person who says yes or no to a dive, just gotta make sure u have the power to do so. congrats

comet24
10-08-2007, 21:13
I be a little pissed. Penetrating with a group of divers like that with who knows what experience with single 80's. Not a good position to be in. I be worried about a divers in front of me silting it up and then having divers in front and behind me.

Now I have no problem penetrating wrecks but with the right equipment and plan. Both seem to have been lacking here.

Texas_Aggie06
10-08-2007, 21:13
the reason i asked about the doubles is because i went to Mexico and dove the cenotes. it is considered cavern diving when you are with in a certain distance of a surface. only 4 divers per divemaster, and the divemaster carries doubles in the event something goes wrong even though we are using al80's. i think you did the right thing by pulling out. you felt uncomfortable with the situation and got out of there. i don't they were being safe enough either.

with regards to the people taking things off of the wreck, that's a totally different story. everything i have read usually leads to two different camps. one side says that all wrecks eventually deteriorate so it is find to keep a piece of it before it is gone. the other side says that yes they deteriorate but we shouldn't hasten the process by taking things and ruining it for future divers. where you fall on this spectrum is your call.

Kokomo
10-08-2007, 21:17
You didn't over-react...maybe under-reacted. Should have ditched the dive as soon as you saw what was expected of you.

Texas_Aggie06
10-08-2007, 21:20
i guess this is why they try to teach us to never be afraid to call the dive. this is a dangerous sport no doubt about it.

WV Diver
10-08-2007, 21:32
Being a new diver all the blame doesn't fall on your shoulders and you were right to abort the penetration.

The red flags were there and in time you will see them better. It was a bad situation for you and everyone involved from Instructor to student. With experience and knowledge you will know better next time. You and only you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well being. Knowing when to call a dive, even if it is before you hit the water, is all a part of that.

Glad you and your group are ok. Others coming behind you may not be so lucky. This charter sounds like they are way too lacking for safety and common sense. Their luck will run out. I would call PADI and give them a heads up on their practices before they get someone killed and I would encourage you to do the same.

pnevai
10-08-2007, 22:19
Being a new diver all the blame doesn't fall on your shoulders and you were right to abort the penetration.

The red flags were there and in time you will see them better. It was a bad situation for you and everyone involved from Instructor to student. With experience and knowledge you will know better next time. You and only you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well being. Knowing when to call a dive, even if it is before you hit the water, is all a part of that.

Glad you and your group are ok. Others coming behind you may not be so lucky. This charter sounds like they are way too lacking for safety and common sense. Their luck will run out. I would call PADI and give them a heads up on their practices before they get someone killed and I would encourage you to do the same.

If this was a PADI or NAUI affiliate then I would certainly file a complaint against the operation. This was completely irresponsible behaivior by the operator.

Capt Hook
10-08-2007, 22:36
Have to agree that you probably "under reacted", when you were told what the dive was going to be you should have said not for you.

mitsuguy
10-09-2007, 11:28
I agree you were right in calling the dive as you did not feel comfortable...

without proper gear that is definitely a dangerous situation...

I am a newer diver as well, fairly confident of my skills, and can definitely tell you there is a difference between a swim through wreck and what you were in... I know the technical rule is nothing overhead of you, but in Jamaica, there was a large sunken boat, stable, etc. and the divemasters gave us some info about how to swim through the wheelhouse... I did this and felt entirely comfortable, even though I was newer, we were only in 40' of water and the whole swim through was only about 10' long with plenty of room on all sides...

differs a little from your 250' dark wreck dive... definitely should have had the correct gear... the biggest no no I see here was really the fact that you were led this way by the divemasters... some people don't know well enough to say no...

Charlotte Smith
10-09-2007, 11:41
Good thing the bail-out holes were there for you or it would have made it worse for you. Glad the DM came out with you but it sure put the last diver in the group in a situation since no one was now bringing up the rear to make sure there were no problems for the rest of the group because if the corridors were that narrow the instructor probably couldn't get back to anyone in trouble......I wouldn't be real proud of this guy and probably would lose all respect for him in the future....
Did you ever hear that little voice???? Glad you are ok!

tbuckalew
10-09-2007, 12:25
You did not overreact. Safety is safety and safety recommendations and rules exist (as do specialty training certs) for safety. When those rules are flaunted, even when "done all the time" you are simply putting yourself at risk.

You made the proper decision here. You should never dive when you are uncomfortable with the situation. In your case, you evaluated the situation, felt it was not safe and took action.

beenerachi
10-09-2007, 13:06
Like the other dozen posts, safety is safety...is it really worth the $50 (or whatever people pay for the dive) to risk your life?

I'm far from a seasoned diver, but it doesn't take much to notice crappy dive guides. I've found that 'divemaster' may not equate leadership or responsibility. This is a sad thing because it diminishes the value of that status.

I was in Pattaya (Thailand) last year for a few dives and I found that my operator ran one of those 'zero to heroes' where they took non-diving 'kids' and certified them to divemaster in the same summer leading as dive guides. They horsed around underwater and yanked regulators from each other. I was pretty upset at them.

Always ask about the obvious like experience level etc, there's never a silly question.

Rascal1933
10-09-2007, 18:04
Smart move... Glad everything turned out all right for you.
That voice/Intuition in your head will never let you down.
Sounds like what was called a "Recreational" dive,could have went wrong very quick!

Remember to Always dive within in your training and comfort level!

Never feel bad about calling off (or) opting out on a dive.

Respect and know your limitations.

ScaredSilly
10-09-2007, 19:13
Like the other dozen posts, safety is safety...is it really worth the $50 (or whatever people pay for the dive) to risk your life?

You can spend far less than $50 to risk your life. In fact you can spend nothing and get a good scare.

The real point though is have you done everything possible to minimize the risk so that the activity is as safe as possible. If not is the residual risk worth the perceived benefits.

Flatliner
10-09-2007, 19:25
I realize that I am joining the choir late, but I agree totally that 1.) You made the right decision to call the dive, and 2.) the divemaster was WAY out of line.

fire diver
10-09-2007, 19:48
Just echoing what everyone else has said. You listened to that voice that said "you shouldn't be doing this", and did a dive you were comfortable with. Next time you will be better prepared and never penetrate at the begining.

Whether the dive calls for going too deep for you, entering an overhead environment, or any other "trust me" dive you aren't trained for, you've got the tools to do the right thing.

FD

papawhisky
10-09-2007, 21:40
I think you were absolutely right to express your concerns, try the dive, and alter the dive when you felt uneasy. I think you did every thing just fine and you should be proud of that.
Not sure if the dive you were on required a dive master, but I have noticed that more and more dive operations require divers to dive with DMs. Sometimes this is a legal requirement as islands or dive areas try to protect their fragile marine eco systems from careless or callous divers. But a side effect I've noticed is a generation of divers that only feel comfortable when the dive is led by a DM. I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I could help but express this. You are a qualified diver and are therefore qualified to plan and make the dives that fit your experience, qualifications, and desires. Nuff said?

BobArnold8265
10-11-2007, 13:31
You definately didn't over react. Anytime you feel uncomfortable on a dive you should end it. Diving is about having fun, not risking your life or being uncomfortable.

BobbyWombat
10-15-2007, 13:10
Any follow up on this? Did you call PADI or NAUI and voice a complaint?

shadragon
10-16-2007, 08:51
I told him I had 24 dives and had just finished my PADI AOW class. My bouancy control is fairly good but I have not done any diving in an overhead enviroment and was a little nervous about this situation. 85' and a newbie diver on a wreck with single 80's and no bailout system did not seem like a good idea.
Rick, please don't read this as a personal bash, but the decision and responsibility to go into that situation was yours and yours alone.

YOU decide what is acceptable. YOU take the responsibility for your actions. If someone points at a dark hole, whether a buddy, DM or the Arch-Angel Gabriel then YOU make the determination whether to go in or not based on your training and or comfort level. It is your life and your safety at stake. If you are nervous then you are under no obligation to follow through. Either call the dive or stay outside the superstructure while the rest go through.

There is a difference between a swim through and a penetration. I cannot judge the actions of the DM as I was not there. If you had gone to the DM with your objections they should have modified the dive plan to suit your needs and comfort zone. You are going to run into many situations where the warm fuzzy feeling is not there. In those cases, identify the problem, see if there is a solution and if not call the dive and spend the day on the beach.

This is the same speech someone gave me a long time ago (less the profanity) and they were 100% right.

Safe diving... :smiley20:

greyzen
10-16-2007, 09:24
YOU decide what is acceptable. YOU take the responsibility for your actions. If someone points at a dark hole, whether a buddy, DM or the Arch-Angel Gabriel then YOU make the determination whether to go in or not based on your training and or comfort level.


I would suggest however, if it was indeed the Arch-Angel that you might either no long need to worry about that sorta thing, or you are narc'd and shouldn't do it.

Other than that, he's right :D


:smilie39:

BuzzGA
10-16-2007, 22:39
Gotta join the chorus...good call on your part. From personal experience I know how hard it can be to "swim" away from a dive but if it doesn't feel right there is no need to take the risk. That little voice inside your head is usually right.

DZorn00
10-17-2007, 10:22
being a newbie myself I think I would have probably just ended my dive before it got started if the divemaster did not show any consideration for my concerns and then with out any one having the proper equipment or at least a spare tank. Good call.

dallasdivergirl
10-17-2007, 10:37
I won't even go in the plane at CSSP. I know that sounds super paranoid but I have not be trained for an enclosed environment.

Kingpatzer
10-17-2007, 11:09
Good call bailing on the dive.

My personal rule for no pen dives is that depth may not exceed tank capacity in cu ft. I'd have called the dive simply on the basis of being at 85' with tanks that hold 77 cu ft. of air.

I'd be curious as to what the gas plan for that dive looked like, or if the divemasters even had one.

Doing just general approximation calculations, I find it hard to believe the dive could have been done safetly.

http://www.scriptkiddie.org/diving/rockbottom.html

shadragon
10-17-2007, 11:35
I won't even go in the plane at CSSP. I know that sounds super paranoid but I have not be trained for an enclosed environment.
Nothing wrong with being safe. :)

I have done swim throughs and limited cavern diving. In both cases there were pros supervising and places to either get out quick or quick access to open air above. If you are in a position where neither of those is possible then it would be a penetration and you need specific training and equipment. That is so you can deal with silt-outs, line loss, disorientation, etc. It all comes down to your comfort level too.

I am actually taking my wreck course this weekend and suspect it will be fun. Really looking forward to it. :smiley20:

mcc2318
11-20-2007, 02:18
You did the right thing, alot of newbie divers might go along with it but you were right by standing up for your self and saying no

Big Mike
11-20-2007, 11:47
Being a claustrophobic myself, I do not penetrate wrecks or swim thrus. I have been on dives where the DM will suggest a swim thru, but I know my limitations and politely refuse and just swim around or over the site. I agree with the statement that the ultimate responsibility for your safety is your own. You shouldn't do something you are not comfortable with.
Personally, I think the DM was irresponsible for this action, but "it takes all kinds" if you know what I mean. I think you did the right thing. Diving in itself is dangerous. Our training, quality of equipment, and personal common sense help us make decisions that reduce the danger in a world that is actually foreign to our bodies......
I'm off my soapbox now!

MSilvia
11-20-2007, 12:52
Good for you for taking the responsability for your dive and exiting when you did.


everything i have read usually leads to two different camps. one side says that all wrecks eventually deteriorate so it is find to keep a piece of it before it is gone. the other side says that yes they deteriorate but we shouldn't hasten the process by taking things and ruining it for future divers. where you fall on this spectrum is your call.
Just to elaborate on that a bit further, another common position is that there are some wrecks it is appropriate to salvage, and others it is definately not. A deep wreck in the great lakes, for example, may sit well-preserved for hundreds of years, and it would be a disservice to other divers and the archaeological record to take artifacts, especially if the wreck is of historical significance. At the same time, a tugboat wreck or scuttled trawler sitting in 60' of storm-tossed seawater is likely to break up and deteriorate rapidly. It might be a good place to find that brass porthole you wanted for the living room.

CaribbeanDiver
11-20-2007, 15:22
not only do I go along with the crowd in saying you definitely DID NOT overreact, I commend you for knowing what gear should be available for overhead environment dives.
safety first, my friend. it took courage to get away from the crowd and good sense on your part to consider the right thing over the popular thing. hopefully this lesson will not only strengthen your resolve to be safe but will also encourage others to stand up against lunacy and poor decisions on DMs and dive leaders who take people on such excursions.

spellow
12-04-2007, 11:09
I told him I had 24 dives and had just finished my PADI AOW class. My bouancy control is fairly good but I have not done any diving in an overhead enviroment and was a little nervous about this situation. 85' and a newbie diver on a wreck with single 80's and no bailout system did not seem like a good idea.
Rick, please don't read this as a personal bash, but the decision and responsibility to go into that situation was yours and yours alone.

YOU decide what is acceptable. YOU take the responsibility for your actions. If someone points at a dark hole, whether a buddy, DM or the Arch-Angel Gabriel then YOU make the determination whether to go in or not based on your training and or comfort level. It is your life and your safety at stake. If you are nervous then you are under no obligation to follow through. Either call the dive or stay outside the superstructure while the rest go through.

There is a difference between a swim through and a penetration. I cannot judge the actions of the DM as I was not there. If you had gone to the DM with your objections they should have modified the dive plan to suit your needs and comfort zone. You are going to run into many situations where the warm fuzzy feeling is not there. In those cases, identify the problem, see if there is a solution and if not call the dive and spend the day on the beach.

This is the same speech someone gave me a long time ago (less the profanity) and they were 100% right.

Safe diving... :smiley20:


I have gotten this exact speech b4 and given it several times myself. :smiley20:

hychang
12-04-2007, 13:18
Rick, I appreciate the fact that you shared this experience with us. I also appreciate everyone's input regarding how to handle this situation. I'm new and have as of yet done an ocean dive so for me this is a great lesson to learn. Main thing I come away with from this is to speak up and voice any concern/apprehension/etc...I have to the operator. Again, thanks to all of you for an important lesson learned.:smiley20:

Matt P
12-04-2007, 21:29
I would have done the same thing - good job not letting stress become panic

Grin
12-05-2007, 09:38
Very smart! You gotto wonder how many followed him right into the wreck with the same or less experience than you. I would chauk one up to yourself as being a very smart diver. Most people are followers no matter what they say. Only your actual decisions, after the fact, show otherwise.

RickPeck
12-12-2007, 12:29
Thanks all for your input. Even those with the lectures (Shadragon). I appreciate that I alone am in control of my actions and that I should have gone with my first instinct. There was never a time where I was near panic, just apprehensive about the risk/reward ratio. I have come to the conclusion that while I am not claustrophobic, I just don't like confined spaces underwater. Looking around the outside of a wreck has more interest to me.

I found a description of the wreck\dive site. It is described as a swim through. I think that is a little mis-leading, but thats just me.

The url below is to a description. This WAS NOT the dive operator.

Caribbean BVI All-Inclusive Liveaboard Scuba Diving Vacation (http://www.vicharteryachts.com/US_Virgin_Islands/St_Thomas_Miss_Opportunity_dive_site.html)

Best wishes all and Happy Holidays.

adv_diver1
12-12-2007, 12:47
A little late, but yes, never follow someone into a situation you don't feel comfortable with... no matter what their skill level is.