Thursday, November 17, 2011

Diving 101

Tom here, and I wanted to give a little background and tell a bit about my passion and hobby. Watches and SCUBA diving. Corvus is my company and I reserved for myself the Bradley Dive Watch serial number 32. I have mounted it recently on a Corvus Shell Cordovan watch strap, black with white stitching. Previously, I have used one of the first batch of “soft” Real Bond watchstraps.

My love of dive watches grew out of my serious SCUBA diving addiction. I am certified in open water, Nitrox and wreck penetration. I have over two hundred logged dives and many more I just forgot to write up. I use an Aeris xr2 dive computer/regulator with a US divers back up.

I have spent a gob of money traveling to many of the best dive sites on earth. I am not wealthy, just obsessed. I view money spent on dive equipment is the most important thing you can do. To blow 6 grand on a cool dive vacation and use Ebay purchased equipment is just stupid/dangerous. I have seen many sad cases where cheap equipment caused the diver to miss dives due to regulators blowing out, fin back strap breaking (at the point of getting in the water) and hypothermia from cheap or inadequate wet suits. The same goes for your ultimate backup – your dive watch.

About the dumbest thing I saw was this summer was when my dive trip "assigned" partner did not have a computer or much idea how the tables worked. She just went to 100 feet plus with a 100 cubic foot tank. She was really pushing the limits and did not understand what she was doing. I brought her up in a non-emergency ascent and she had no idea how close she had come to mandatory decompression, or the bends. She had been certified a long long time ago and had kind of BS'ed her way on the trip. Other than her lack of basic diving skills, she was very nice and appreciated my buddy coordination. More about this fantastic dive trip in a future blog post.

I guess I should tell some of my dumb ass moments. Several times I took my boat to Pentwater, Michigan, to dive its excellent wrecks. The best preserved is the Anna C. Minch, sunk during the Armistice day Storm of 1940. We found it by studying the wrecks location and all data we could assemble. Then we took off with GPS and fish finder humming along to aid us in finding Anna. At the exact location, just south of Pentwater and half a mile off Silver Lake Dunes state park, we found the wreck in about 30 feet of water. Not only did our GPS and fish finder locate her, perfectly, but several white Clorox bottles were tied over it to help divers find her!

Anyway, the surface water temp was in the 60's and bottom temp in the 40's. I was trying out a different wet suit, I was used to the weighting for a farmer john suit and was trying out a one piece style. I had about 45 pounds of lead on my hips and when I went to release the air in my BC I went into an uncontrolled descent. Just as quick as I tapped the exhaust button I went straight down. Fortunately the depth was only 30 feet, but I still suffered a nasty squeeze on my sinus. It hurt but I finished the dive and for the next week blew bloody snot globs. I consulted a non dive doctor and he said if the discharge turned green and smelly to come back to his office. It cleared up but I have been very careful since, to double check my weights for the different wet suits I use.

I guess the point of this blog is to stress the basics of diving, use the buddy system, have good equipment and know where you are going. After all my expensive equipment and experience, failures in training, planning and equipment can happen to everyone at any time.

My Corvus watch has never let me down. In multiple dives over one hundred feet it is the final backup to saving your life. I always set the bezel and know how long I have been under. It may be my third redundant back up, after my two computers, but it is the simplest and toughest! There are lots of great watches on the market, but my Corvus is the one I bet my life on.

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