Lesson Seven: If You are Stuck: Stop
PADI divers will recall the mantra “Stop, Think, Act.” The same should be said for getting stuck. Don’t continue to fight something that is holding you. In a cave you may be snagged on the line. Pulling will only yank the line away from safe passage and cause eventual breakage. You think it is bad now. It gets worse. Fighting a snag on a rock may be driving you further into a situation that leaves you badly pinned.
Lesson Eight: This lesson is specific to a particular gear modification. I’m not one to tell anyone how to wear their equipment. I believe there are many solutions for many different people in different diving scenarios. I’m not DIR. I’m a total DIC. Do It Clean. Streamlining is important and an open mind is critical. Question everything. Why am I doing it this way? How can it get me into trouble? What can I learn from others?
So, here is my particular beef... Recently, some people have chosen to route the inflator on their side mount wing from the bottom up. They reason that it is more streamlined. If the diver needs to dump gas they can use a shoulder pull dump or the inflator dump that comes up from the bottom. Now, here is the rub. Literally. My buddy was stuck in a restriction with too much gas in the wing, supporting her negative bottles. In her body position the shoulder dump would not release the gas. The inflator dump did not either. That left me behind her, seeing a full wing lodged in the ceiling with no way to assist. There was no outlet at the bottom of the wing. No pull dump. In the slightly butt up position there was no getting gas out of that thing. I was preparing to cut it when I managed to squeeze my hand on top and force the air forward, leaving me with a few cuts on the back of my hand where it had been pressed against the rocky ceiling. Not fun. How did that routing benefit her?
Things above the nipple line are much easier to control and reach and rarely snag. You might not be able to reach things lower down, but your buddy can help.
Again, don’t mistake this for a back and white statement. I just can’t see one dive in my history where that configuration would have helped me and I do see one dive where it might have cost us big.
The final lessons on Monday! - Jill Heinerth