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Tips for 30m+ Solo

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Working Class Spearo
Mar 17, 2002
Hey Guys -

I've just started getting comfortable in repetitive diving to the 27 - 30m range (the deepest water I can find around here). Problem is I have no partner or safety diver to watch me when I dive this deep. They are "working Dives", not so much a touch-and-go as I cruise for about 10-15m along the bottom (spearfishing) before my accent. I reach the surface without a great deal of discomfort and always have the feeling that I could go deeper (if i had a shovel). I always do a 5-6min surface rest between dives, weather I feel I need it or not, on anything below 20m.

so my question is, forgetting that deep solo diving is stupid, irresponsible, and dangerous - what would you do to maximize personal protection and minimize the risk?
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Reactions: Alun

They are impressive spearfishing depths, my goal is to hunt the 30m mark like you are doing at the moment.

I guess for me hyperventilation would be the most dangerous concern with solo diving, not sure if you hyperventilate but with spearfishing its far more dangerous then deep diving waiting for that fish to come closer at those depths is a killer. Use a float and float line that way if you have over done it drop your weightbelt and gun grab hold of the floatline and pull yourself to the surface free immersion style.


ps I will send you a pm soon
Thaks Ivan/. I never hyperVentilate, or do much of a breath-up for that matter. I take long slow breaths (simmilar to prayanna) and then a very long inhale, have with 3 quick packs and I'm down. I always use a floatline in <20m, but am currently building another so I can use it deeper. For the 20m+ range I have a Reelgun with 50m line capacity.

I don't use a weight belt for anything deeper then 20m. I dive with only a lycra skin here.
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Mate you dont use a weightbelt :hmm I dont know how you can do that to 30m. Even when wearing no wettie in summer I throw on 6lbs I hate descending slowly. With a 3.5mm suit i have 13lbs.

When spearfishing alone I dont dive to my depth limits although sometimes I wait through too many contractions on the bottom and have a rather uncomfortable ascent. Take care

i know you said you didn't want to hear this stuff.... but here it comes anyway :)....

ok, everyone knows we shouldn't freedive without a buddy, but lots of people still do it, including myself. doing short shallow solo freedives is one thing... but venturing to new depths beyond 30m without any cover, *and* spearfishing at the same time... where you're focussing more on catching fish than yourself... that's a whole different ball game.

you must realise that what you're doing is extremely dangerous, and if you keep on going ever deeper without any cover, then it will end in disaster. please don't take this the wrong way, but you appear to be in the highest risk group for freediving accidents - young male, aged 16-25... just as 20 year old men are more likely to have car accidents than 40 year old women.

it takes an enormous amount of self-discipline to stop yourself from diving ever deeper when you're on your own, especially when the dives feel 'easy'. i face that temptation every time i dive alone, but every time i resist, because i know it would be crazy to start diving deeper and deeper. it's very easy to fall into a false sense of security and basically just kid yourself that what you're doing is safe.

if you want to dive deep, then my advice is to go and find some buddies. spread the word in your local area - local swimming pools and scuba clubs are a good place to start - you're sure to find other people who want to freedive/spearfish.

i'm sorry if you didn't want to hear that, but i felt i had to say it...

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The greatest physiological cause for an unexpected blackout come from these factors:
1. Being too warm
2. Being underhydrated
3. Over breathing

Notice that I didn't say 'dehydrated'. Anything less than superhydration will increase your chance of B/O. This means that long hours of diving on consecutive days dramatically increases your risk of B/O due to the fact that it is almost impossible to fully superhydrate in between diving days (not to mention you will have to eat a huge amount of salt in the evenings).

I would do the ATRC test before getting in the water (crouch down, exhale fully, stand up rapidly while inhaling to the max, then pax to the max quickly, and see if you get lightheaded -- you can easily B/O from this, so do it where there are no obstacles to crash into, i.e. sandy beach or grass, or have someone ready to catch you).

If you get light headed from the ATRC test, then it would be even more risky to continue your deep solo diving on that particular day.

Also, if you feel warm, flush your suit. Your body must be chilly to maintain consciousness optimally.

Alun's comments apply again...

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
I would estimate that 99% of the freediving I have done was solo, despite all the obvious reasons not to do it. But I believe that you (Amphibious) are in the same boat I and many others are....there's nobody to train with! The few times I've had supervision were usually at a competition. For more than just reasons of safety, I would much prefer to dive with others, but usually that is not an option, and if I (and you) want to dive, then I'll dive just the same.
The only thing I could suggest that MIGHT improve your chances of surviving a BO is that ; 1, you wear a suit that has some buoyancy, 2, you wear weight to be positively buoyant above 8 to 10 metres, 3, you release your weightbelt as you begin your descent and hold it in your hands and 4, you spit your snorkel out at some point during the first part of the dive.
That should get you to the surface if you pass out, but of course there are no guarantees of revival there, just a better chance of it.
With my limited experience with UW hunting, I found that it is very much more of an external practice, opposed to rec or depth-goal diving. Your awareness is more focused on the stalk and capture, rather than what's happening in your body. Even having the internal awareness is not always enough, and combining the goal-setting with hunting ups the anty! So be as careful as you can amigo :)
See you this Summer.
Erik Y.
You also might try limiting your dive time to where you are the most comfortable. Maybe two minutes max or even 1:30 depending on your level.
Thanks Guys - Good points, all of you.

I do whole-heartedly agree that deep solo spearing is pretty dumb, but as Erik elaborated, I have no training partner(s). I have delt with the local dive clubs now for over 8yrs and 90% or more are aged, Overweight, and/or heavy smokers. It's not uncommon practice here for the Divemaster on the pick-up skiff to distribute smokes and matches after a dive. I have two simple rules when finding a spearing buddy, no Scuba and no smoking. makes finding a buddy hardwork. those that are interested suddly discover that this is "hard work" and "why would anyone freedive if you could just use scuba?"

The arabian Gulf is very warm and wearing a wetsuit of any thickness would be begging for a heat stroke. I routinely hunt waters above 90F. Eric, the hydration factior is one I stress for all my divers. with summer air temps will over 105F and often 115+, we drink an exceptional amout of water while on trip. I carry water with me on drift hunts, tied to my bouy. The heat factor (water temp) is just something you have to learn to ive with if you want to freedive here. The first thermocline at Jana Island last week was at 55ft. it was on a 3degree change but felt like I just steped into a freezer. only 83F.

Spitting out the snorkle is something I do on every dive. makes your dives silent as there are no bubbles escaping from your snorkle as you decend (loud).

I'll try this ATRC thing tonight. I hate packing though, always makes me cough!

Thanks Guys, willer
Just remember, that when you dive alone
and you are feeling good, your body might not be having a good day.

Then you average depth becomes serious,
without you knowing it...

If you dont feel tip-top, dont dive alone.
Rather skip a day of diving, than a life of diving..

( freediving that is :) )
Yea there is a big difference between the reality of diving alone and the opportunity to have partners, much less safety divers. Amphibious, I am approaching 30 meters too, and I hate the fear of SWB on the assent, even if I have a partner. We are hunting and who to say he isn’t going to get distracted by something right when I SWB.

I still think an inflatable lifevest, that deployed at need, could be invaluable. I have one ordered. My current plan is to use a bungee and a hook to keep the bungee from pulling the lever and breaking the CO2. The idea would be on the ascent, to unhook the hook and hold it. If I SWB, hopefully I would let go of the hook and the bungee would pull the lever.

I’m not sure about the letting go part, because I have read where some people pass out while doing statics and holding onto the edge of the pool. They had to pry their hands off the pool edge.

Unhooking the weight belt on the ascent is good idea too, but it doesn’t work for me, because I usually use no weight. Also the larger inflatable live vests are designed to hold an unconscious persons face above the water, something a lost weight belt probably won’t.

If I can get it to work, I will post pictures and descriptions. I think my ideas on it are getting clearer and simpler. In the mean time, I am going to superhydrate like Eric said too. I have to wash the saltwater out of suit anyway so what’s if there is a little expelled hydration in their too!
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