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Freediving in Darkness

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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looking for deeper water
Jan 26, 2002

My mates and I are just starting to dive in a river which is a good river to freedive as it is quite a deep river over 60m. However where we dive is not this deep. The visibilty changes all the time when its good its around 5m vis on the surface and 2m vis on the bottom. We went diving yesterday which was quite dirty with around 2m vis on the surface and at 14m it was very dark, I had to put my watch in front of my mask to read it.

So I ask when you go lots deeper in these situations do you bring a torch down with you. At the moment I take a handspear down and extend it out in front, the idea of this is that the handspear hits the bottom before my head does so it provides a warning about where the bottom is. What do you do when its pitch black ? We dont use a line as its too much hassle to drag in the raging currents we get here. So its just doing dives to explore. If you deep guys use a torch what brand do you reccomend, and how good do they work in complete darkness :hmm

Mini Q torches work well strapped on to a mask - once you get used the weird light effect. One is enough but you can go mad and put two on

Personally I like diving in the dark and would rather just put my hand out in front of my face and hope for the best...

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I use a mini Q40 too ( www.uwkinetics.com ). Very ice little torch you can attach to your mask with the included strap. Princeton tec ( www.princetontec.com ) has some nice lamps too like the tec 40 or rage, however with princeton you will have to find a way to attach the torch yourself.
You can switch the lights so that they are off when you are on the surface and go on when you are below the surface which makes the batteries last very long.

The lamps have a narrow beam of light which causes them to work well for a small torch. You can read your watch, see/ find a line, find your diving budy long before he sees you, and if despite the darkes the water visibility is reasonable you can even see the bottom from some distance.

ivan, how do you manage safety? I dive in dark waters myself but do not do exploring in raging currents. There is a nice new location in a dark lake I want to expore but the downside is that there can be some current so I am looking for safety ideas. Are there special procedures or materials you use?

Thanks guys I will check the websites soon.

Sam I dont mind the dark either it just sucks if you cant see the watch and tell how deep you are. I guess if you were line diving in a lake or something with very deep water and no currents you could sink as far as you want and not worry about hitting the bottom. But with the bottom depths relatively unknown you have to have something like a spear to either touch the bottom first or a torch to see the bottom before you hit it.

Roland we try to dive at the turn of the tides so the currents are not too bad but when it picks up its time to go otherwise you could get swept out to sea the current roars out and makes little rapids behind the pylons :naughty We dont do anything different for safety other than to keep checking the shore in case we getting swept. I think some sort of mud anchor with a long rope attached could be good as you could hang on and breathe up without drifting then dive comfortably.


Just checked those websites, on the princeton website that Tec 40 looks pretty sick. Roland have you used this torch and if so how far downwards would you be able to see. Ie lets say the water was very dark at 27m would this light be able to see the bottom at 30m.

I will do some more dives at this location and see if the vis gets much worse. The first couple of times we went there the water was considerably clearer around 5-6m vis on the surface and a bit over 2m on bottom which is more than adequate to see the bottom before you hit and stuff :D

UK Light Cannon, baby.:t

In pitch darkness if there's no light on the surface the only way I can tell when I'm approaching the bottom or the surface is by counting kick cycles. Also a compass is essential because you can lose orientation quickly and may head the opposite way than you intended!
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Hi Andy,
I used a princeton tec40 torch all the time for scubadiving. It's really bright for the size. Nice and small so works well for freediving. They used to be real cheap too, although you never buy them from a dive store. They had them at outdoors/camping type stores. I think they should still be in the $40-$50 range.

Be careful diving in dark water with current, be hard to spot someone when you don't know where they will come up.

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Seeing the bottom from 3 meters distance is possible but depends on the water visibility (algi, mud, debris etc.). Also the colour and texture of the bottom play a role in how far away you can see it. Especially in lakes despite being pitch dark at the bottom the actual visibility near the bottom can be better than on the suface. If however in your river the visibility near the bottom is the same as on the surface and you have a day on wich sunlight can only get you a 2 meter visibility at the surface then a torch can never match that at depth.

I have only been able to use the Tec 40 when the bottom was far out of reach. The tec 40 is however brighter than the Q40. With the Q40 in lakes you can sometimes distinguish the bottom from 3 meters away (sometimes even further away).

Just try it out. It is a good torch, even on land.
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Thanks again guys, next time im in launceston im gonna check some camping stores like wal said and see what they got :cool:

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