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    July 17, 2013

    My First Ocean Dive In A Dry Suit

    Last week, Dan from Divevets gave me a 12 minute pool course on how to dive in a dry suit, in exchange for a bottle of $25 Scotch.

    Let’s see – use your BCD for buoyancy, put air in your dry suit when you feel ball squeeze and come up with your exhaust valve higher than your feet.

    That was basically it; he had me turn upside down and recover when all the air went to my feet by turning right side up.

    I am now ready for the ocean in a dry suit!
    I am now ready for the ocean in a dry suit!

    I arrived at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach where I met up with Chipper.

    Our mission – to find some lost equipment and test my dry suit abilities without either of us getting killed or hurt.

    The surf was picking up, but we are macho…

    Lacking large booties that fit over my dry suit socks, I had to improvise.
    Lacking large booties that fit over my dry suit socks, I had to improvise with duct tape – MacGyver would be so proud of me!

    Chipper and I walked to the shore, high-fiving some kids who wanted to touch some SCUBA divers.

    Chipper made it through the pounding surf with no issues.

    I made it to chest high water, and tried to put my fins on…

    I tried bending my leg, but the water pressure on my dry suit made my leg pretty stiff; I couldn’t bend it enough to put my fin on.

    I’m bobbing around in the surf zone, getting slowly pushed back to shore.

    I put some air in my dry suit, exhaled and did the most uncomfortable crunch that I’ve even done… I got one fin on and started to kick out.

    Just as determined, I put the other fin on.

    I was really winded; I caught up to Chipper as the waves were picking up.

    We rested before going down.

    Taking advise from fellow divers, I put on six additional pounds of weight.

    Descending was easy, Chipper was right behind me.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #439

    Dove With Chipper
    Veterans Park, Redondo Beach, California, USA

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 500 psi
    Max depth: 71 feet
    Waves: Four foot waves, increasing as the dive progressed
    Visibility: Five to maybe 10 feet, at best
    Water Temperature: 54 degrees at depth, 65 at the surface
    Air Temperature: 74 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 25 minutes or so

    I wanted to get to 100 feet, but I screwed up a bit on the navigation, and I was going through air like I haven’t done since I was a newbie.

    It is strange feeling the air in my dry suit bubble up and down my body.

    We went North, before heading up to 40 feet and back.

    As Chipper later said, “The difference between five foot and ten foot visibility at Vets, is that you just get to see more sand.”

    We saw crabs, shrimp… same stuff as last dive; I did not bring my camera, as I did not want the distraction.

    We did not come across any lost equipment.

    I really huffed through my tank; we were heading in and I surfaced in 18 feet of water, mostly due to the surge at the bottom.

    The surf pushed us in and I was able to take my fins off fairly easily.

    I was walking to shore and right at the sand ledge, a wave knocked me down.

    No problem, I’ll just get back up, like I always do… shit, I couldn’t bend my knees wearing that water proof Glad bag to get up.

    I started to crawl… man, I fucking couldn’t bend my knees to get up.

    Luckily for me, some fellow divers picked my ass up and propped me on my feet.
    Luckily for me, some fellow divers picked my ass up and propped me on my feet. – Photo by PDP

    PDP captured my non-macho exit:

    Chipper said, “Remember when I told you on the surface when we were coming in, that you are the most macho first time dry suit diver that I know?”

    “Yeah…”

    “Well, I take it back.”

    Another successful dive, and this one in a dry suit.
    Another successful dive, and this one in a dry suit!

    I now know why some of the cold water dive tours want you to have at least 20 dry suit dives – this may take some time getting used to, and they don’t want problems.

    We debriefed with beer and sausages and bratwursts; there was a pretty big crowd in the parking lot.

    Jimmy The Bagman loaned me a set of doubles to practice with for my September dive trip.

    COMING SOON! More dry suit dives!

    July 10, 2013

    Dry Suit Test Dive At Veterans Park

    Well, I guess I haven’t officially announced it on this blog until now, but my next macho diving adventure is going to be in Poland this September.

    I had no idea what I was getting in to – the water is 38 degrees Fahrenheit and I need a dry suit – which new, also costs about as much as my plane fare.

    I won an extra-large Dry Suit off of Ebay, but I am so fat, that I couldn’t fit in it, and a custom wetsuit would take too long to arrive, and put me into more debt.

    I posted on Divevets if anyone had a dry suit for sale for a fat guy.

    Mean Bob came through with one that he thought would fit.

    vets8dscf3943.jpg
    And it fit me!

    Bob even brought another diver to test it to make sure it didn’t leak.

    “Why can’t I test it?” I asked.

    “You need to be trained in a dry suit, otherwise you might die,” I was told.

    OK, now the add-ons to boost profit!

    Well, I was later told that I would get trained for the payment of a bottle of Scotch, so I had no issue with that.

    gggghayyshsnbxu.JPG
    The whether was really funky – 83 degrees, but raining slightly; the ocean was flat.

    I hooked up with Dr. D. for my dive in my wetsuit.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #438

    Dove With Dr. D.
    Veterans Park, Redondo Beach, California, USA

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 1000 psi
    Max depth: 70 feet
    Waves: Pretty flat, with some rollers
    Visibility: 10 to maybe 15 feet
    Water Temperature: 58 degrees at depth, 64 at the surface
    Air Temperature: 84 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 35 minutes or so

    The dive was perfect, with no events worth noting – we saw shrimp, crabs, small fish, etc.

    Once I arrived back in the parking lot, I got the word, “The wetsuit is good, my right sleeve is wet, but only because the under garment was sticking out of the seal.”

    I bought the dry suit, with the under garment.

    I put it back on as I was told it has a “pee valve” in it.

    “What is a pee valve?” I asked.

    “It’s so you can pee without taking the suit off.”

    Great!

    Having a couple of debriefing beers, I actually had to go pee, so I decided to test the pee valve by standing on the grass and letting it lose.

    I felt this warm sensation go down my right leg and my boot started to fill with liquid.

    “I don’t think the pee valve works!” I yelled.

    “You need a condom with a tube that connects to the valve, dumb ass!”

    OK, how embarrassing, I guess I do need dry suit training!

    Luckily, I was not in a life threatening situation.

    During debriefing, the Redondo Police rolled up on us…

    “It’s the cops, hide the beer!” someone yelled.

    The Officer asked how conditions were.

    One of the divers said that, “The water was cold at depth and when we ascended, it was like swimming up into warm urine.”

    The Officer said, “OK, we didn’t need to know that… and by the way, we don’t care about the beer in your cups, or the peanut shells on the ground.”

    The Police drove off.

    Dan and Jimmy The Bagman started talking about giving the Redondo Beach Police free SCUBA lessons since they are so cool – well, except for the ones that give dog tickets.

    vets8yythsgvdnjpg.jpg
    Debriefing continued.

    Now, I just need 20 dry suit dives and training with doubles before I leave in September.

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