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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!

    4 Comments »

    1. I learned a few things, dry suits make it difficult to put fins on, difficult to stand up if you fall down, these two things alone make them very unsafe for beach diving then. Another thing I heard about dry suits is that the shifting air inside makes it difficult to hunt bugs in shallow surgy situations. Is your intention to only use the dry suit for the Poland dive, or are you converting over to the dry side.

      Comment by halibug — July 20, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

    2. The dry suit is for Poland, and hopefully Winter diving. If I wasn’t going to Poland, I would not have bought it.

      Comment by PsychoSoloDiver — July 22, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

    3. I think you will find that it makes diving much more enjoyable. After more than 800 wetsuit dives I finally broke down and bought a $300 drysuit from Ebay. In my last 1.000+ dives I have only used a wetsuit once. As long as you use your BC for buoyancy and only add air to your suit for warmth and to relieve the squeeze you will be able dive as you always have, including bug dives. I’ve never heard anyone say it was hard to stand up if you fall down.

      Comment by Max Bottomtime — July 27, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

    4. Just keep diving the drysuit. It will become a lot more easier with more dives. I got one last year and hated it the first few dives. I was almost to the point of never putting it back on. Then about after 15 dives it seemed to all come together and I got the hang of it. Now I never want to dive wet again.

      Comment by OUBobcat — July 31, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

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