This happened to me 4-29-07. There were alot of mistakes made on my part and hopefuly this will help someone else avoid them This will be long, but I hope worth the read...
A little background first. This was my 25th dive, and my first true deep dive. I certed deep on 2 dives at 65 and 68 feet in Dec 06. the deepest i had been before that was 45`
My dive buddy had been talking for weeks about going deep. He has also been a diver for 11 years and has several hundred dives. I knew I was not ready for depth, but I didn`t want to "let him down", "wimp out", "make him keep babysitting me"... (Insert any ego trip here you think fits). And come on, I`m a deep diver, heck, I`ve been to 68`
Heres where the mistakes start...
1. I wasn`t mentally ready for the dive and I knew it.
2. Ego over rode common sence (can`t wimp out)
3. New equipment I was not farmilure with. Ocean reef mask I had just bought with a flow valve. I didn`t really understand the valve. I only had a couple dives on this mask and they were all shallow
4. The first dive of the day was to 60` and we had no business going deeper on the second, even though we only planned to go 70` and ran the numbers to make sure we were ok
The dive started off swimming out to the edge of the "wall" in 5` of water. Going over the wall to the bottom would have put us at 65` on a ramp that lead down to about 95-98 feet. So I start my decent nervious, actually quite scared to tell the truth. Not realizing I was almost hyperventilating (nerves=on gassing fast). As I decended I canceled out the freeflow in the mask by turning the knob, no problem. We reached the bottom and I was excited, I made it down.
Now lets go for some depth ! At this point I`m down here and I didn`t come here for nothing, I want a big number to put in my log. (See #2 above) I knew time was short and I had burned a little more air than I thought I would, but I was ok, lets just hurry and get some depth. (working harder=on gassing faster) I pushed past the 70` mark extatic about my new record I was setting and didn`t think to pay attention to my air guage. My buddy noticed this a fue min later and grabed me. Looked at my computer and gave me the thumbs up. No problem, I was happy as a clam, overjoyed, ect... at the new record I had just set. Now remember the on gassing ??? I was so happy because I was NARCED !!! But I didn`t realize it...
So now I`m all happy and I start my assent from 90` back up the wall. At this point my memory is a bit fuzzy. I hadn`t made it 5 or 8 feet up when the mask started to breath hard, no big deal... but the further i went the harder it got. Panic started to set in, all the happy was gone, and the fear was back full force. I`m very deep, I can`t breath, I`m in cold water (44 degrees) so the cold shock of going from a full face mask to my octo may be worst, (and not knowing I`m narced and can`t think strait is making this worse). I know what your saying, open the flow valve... Due to the Narcosis we assume, the valve never crossed my mind. All I could think about was getting to the surface. I had to constantly remind myself "don`t shoot the surface, it`s only a couple more feet". It`s amazing what you let yourself believe when your suficating. I actually assended much slower than I could have, due to worrying about going up to fast. I had to stop several times to draw hard on the reg a fue times just to get a little air (working harder= Still on gassing)
After what seamed like forever, I reached the surface with 900 pounds in my tank. I saw the bubbles of my buddy, but could not figure out why he was not comming up (HE actually stoped at the safty stop). I tryed to get his attention by banging on my tank with my knife. Although it doesn`t do much good to bang on the ruber boot... (ain`t narcosis grand) When he surfaced, I was still breathing hard and needed help getting out of the water. We walked maybe 10 feet and droped our gear on the table.
By this time, the narcosis had hit me full force and I couldn`t add 2+2. After 5-10 min that really don`t remember other than saying "I feel like I`m drunk a fue times", The narcosis wore off and everything was ok.
The moral of the story ?
#1 Never try to compete with another diver !!!!
#2 Don`t dive new equipment your not farmilure with on a dive you`ve never done before
#3 Never let panic get the better of you. One dumb move in the heat of the moment could kill you
#4 Never, (and I can stress this enough) N-E-V-E-R let your ego over ride your common sence.
Would you reather sit out a dive or have them say how brave you were at you funeral ?????
For 7 months after this incident, I didn`t like diving anymore. I dove, but it wasn`t fun. I was scared to death every time I went under and it was just miserable. I made up my mind over thanksgiving this year that i was sick of being scared and I was going to conqure this fear. Diving gear I am very farmilure with at Blue Grotto, in Florida, I set 3 new personal deep records of 99` 98` and 96`. 99` was sitting on the bottom, but I did feel comfortable enought to go deeper, and was a little disapointed I didn`t break 100`
I made these dives not prove anthing to anyone, but because I love diving and wanted to get past my fear. I made them to prove it to myself. I was mentally prepared, had the right gear, and was fully prepared to end the dive if I felt uncomfortable.
You know it`s amazing, doing it right, and for the right reasons, make those the 3 greatest dive I`ve done yet !!! Only bad thing is I`ve cought the bug again and want to dive all the time again...
If anyone has any questions, please ask. I hope this will help some one learn from my mistakes.