Post by mag3
And to that end, I will now ask the same question I asked Popeye about "Solo Diving"
when I first became a rec.scuban to those here who consider themselves "tech divers:"
When did you (and what made you) realize you were "ready" for it?
Like with the solo class, only after I had already done it on my own.
In Truk Lagoon, a very benign place for deep diving as the viz isn't
too terrible, there's always a mooring line, no currents or rough
surface conditions, and the Odyssey offered the safety feature of a
10' hang bar with tank/reg.
We were diving big tanks and were diving them relatively deep. During
the trip I made 14 dives deeper than 100', with four of those around
120', two past 130', and one deep bounce to 167'. Other than the
bounce, I spent significant time at depth, and eventually started to
incur some deco obligations even on the ultra-liberal Cochran and
diving nitrox. Mostly the computer wanted me to stop for up to 5
minutes at 10', which is nothing more than a long safety stop. Only
once did I incur a 20' "ceiling", but my slow ascent made that go away
before hitting it. These were around dives #120-140, after I had been
certified two years, and was winding up my DM training.
But this was play, and something I could do on my own. I had no
desire to take formal tech training at that point. Why? Back home, I
didn't have the opportunity to do four dives a day and incur deco
obligations on shallow dives, nor did I have the desire to go too
deep. It's a big difference going deep in the dark and cold. On warm
water trips, I found plenty to see in the shallows. I worked on
getting my instructor ticket.
I never even touched a camera underwater until someone loaned me one
on a dive off Moorea, dive #222. I got my own camera soon after, and
that kept me busy for another 40 dives, at which point I got back into
cold water diving in a big way with a dependable buddy. Having a
change of financial fortune around that time, I finally succumbed to
the tech bug, getting Draeger rebreather certified off Catalina Island
with dive #268, and doing my first dives on doubles at #276 in
preparation for finally taking the ANDI Technical Safe Air Diver
class. I sat through the class, bought gear, but ended up too busy
with work to do the drills and the dives.
Work took precedence over local diving for the next few years, as I
explored more warm-water locales at the expense of losing weekend
availability for cold water diving, took up videography and more
photography, and soon the idea of finishing my technical cert in the
local waters lost its appeal. Drysuits and hydration don't combine
well. So now I've signed myself up for a TDI Advanced Nitrox/Deco
Procedures course in Grand Cayman in June, where by that time I'll
have a total of 508 dives over 8 years, including 4 dives on doubles,
6 rebreather dives, 20 solo dives, and probably 80 of my dives below
100' (15 of those below 130').
I hope I'm finally ready for tech training, but I'm still nervous and
I'm going to approach this far more seriously than I've ever taken
open water diving because it is far more serious. At this point, I
don't need the class to do dives to the 150' range with short deco
obligations since I've already done that. I do need the class, and
the skills I'll hopefully learn in it, to progress on to the Extended
Range and Trimix classes that will follow in time.