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  • February 21, 2015

    Retro-Dive Saturday! Diving With Gear From The Late 1950s!

    Inspired by the TV Show Sea Hunt and a recent article by guest author John Ratliff, I was invited to do an old school double hose regulator dive by world famous diver Joe R.

    Having offended everyone on my last dive because my wetsuit no longer had an ass to it, Dan from Divevets donated an old wetsuit to me.

    Dan said, “I bet you’ve never had a $500 wetsuit before?”:

    “This is a $500 wetsuit?” I asked.

    “Well, it was, now it’s just old and encrusted with piss,” he responded.

    Dan gives me a wetsuit!
    Thank you Dan!

    Joe offered me the first double hose dive.

    “I bet you want to do the first dive, so I’m letting you,” Joe said.

    I was given two gifts – a vintage, old school diving mask and a 2015 calendar from PETA, my biggest fan base, especially during lobster season.

    Joe gives me gifts!
    Thank you Joe!

    Macho me!

    I was then told, that not only would I be diving with the double hose, but I would actually be testing the regulator after Jocko of Dive N Surf serviced it.

    I think some people would have been a little concerned that they were being used as a Guinea Pig to test recently resurrected dive gear from when Dwight Eisenhower was President…

    But then I thought… “What would Mike Nelson from Sea Hunt do?

    Me and Mike Nelson from Sea Hunt

    He would take the challenge – and the scary part is, when I had those thoughts, it sounded like the character Mike Nelson.

    Plus, Jocko is one of a couple of people that I trust to service my gear.

    So, Joe gave me a briefing on this gear…

    “Just keep the regulator in your mouth, because it’s really hard to purge.”

    “It is going to be hard to breathe compared to new regulators, and will vary depending on the angle of your position.”

    “If you need to purge the regulator of water, lean to the right, so that your left shoulder is higher.”

    Holy Fuck!

    What was I getting myself into?

    I asked Joe, “So, do I at least look macho in this diving set up?”

    Joe responded, “You would look macho in a tutu.”

    I can’t help that, I guess.

    We geared up.

    Fitting into Dan’s old wetsuit was like stuffing a boiled sausage back into it’s skin.

    I had to suck in my gut while Joe and Dan held the seams together and zipped me up.

    I decided to leave my newly acquired vintage mask in my truck, and bring my regular mask – I already had too much new gear to worry about.

    We walked down and made an easy entry.

    Joe told me, “I will just follow you… stay shallow, go over the shelf, whatever… when it’s no longer fun, just go up.”

    I was diving on a steel 64 from the late 1950s, too.

    I am weighted for Aluminum, I fucked up and didn’t take any weight off.

    Also, there was no fitting for an inflation hose for my BCD, so I would orally have to inflate the jacket on the surface.

    Joe did offer to blow air in at depth, if I needed it.

    So, onto the dive… we submerged.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #487

    Dove with Joe R.

    Veterans Park, Redondo Beach, CA

    In With: 2400 psi
    Out With: 900 psi
    Max depth: 74 feet
    Waves: Flat
    Visibility: 15 feet plus
    Water Temperature: 59 degrees
    Air Temperature: 64 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 20 minutes

    Holy fuck!

    He wasn’t joking when he said this regulator doesn’t breathe like modern regulators.

    It was like taking a drag off a hookah with a clogged bowl.

    Me with the double hose.

    Slowly breath in… slowly breathe out…

    The ironic thing is, when this regulator was made, 75% of the population smoked cigarettes; how the fuck did they manage?

    Or maybe they were just used to being Oxygen deprived?

    The Sea Hunt Character Mike Nelson didn’t appear to smoke, only because a tobacco company wasn’t their sponsor.

    Bouncing off the bottom!
    I was way over weighted and kept bouncing off the bottom.

    Plus, I had no inflation hose, and couldn’t manually inflate my jacket because I couldn’t flood the regulator.

    Joe gave me a few breaths to fill my jacket… but it was really pointless.

    I didn’t want to waste his time, or air.

    I went down to 74 feet, setting a new record for depth with this regulator and headed back.

    I had no compass and was getting lost.

    Joe handed me his compass, but all I could do was head East.

    After we came up the shelf, it was getting tiring to breathe off that thing.

    In 20 feet of water, I signaled to go up… I had a headache.

    This was a unique and rewarding dive!

    It reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw – “Do you remember when diving was dangerous and sex was safe?”

    We made an easy exit, but were off course by about 300 feet.

    Choked on a double hose.
    Degearing, I also forget I was wearing a double hose.

    The next dive was Joe’s turn.

    Will he break my depth record?

    Will he turn purple at depth?

    Stay tuned for the next post!

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