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  • February 24, 2015

    The Second Retro-Macho Dive

    February 21, 2015

    Having successfully tested Joe’s retro equipment, and setting the depth record for the regulator at 74 feet, it was now his turn for the dive.

    I needed to get back into my truck to get my own gear.

    I wish I had my keys in easier access, because I now had to peel my newly acquired wetsuit off to get my keys and squeeze back into the thing – the entire process was more strenuous than the last dive.

    Joe is ready!

    Joe was going to do an ultra-macho retro dive – no pressure gauge, no BC jacket and the double hose that I just tested that has no auxiliary second stage – this is how Mike Nelson from Sea Hunt did all his dives.

    I was actually a little nervous, because I would have to deal with any issues that he had, but I had full confidence that he knew what he was doing.

    As we were walking down, Joe said, “You are only going to hold the depth record for about an hour.”

    The dive plan was to go down the shelf, hit depth and then angle over to the “Crab Shack” before heading back in.

    The “Crab Shack” is a bunch of stacked cinder blocks in about 65 feet.

    We made an easy entry and swam out just a little ways before we descended.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #488

    Dove with Joe R.

    Veterans Park, Redondo Beach, CA

    In With: 2800 psi
    Out With: 1400 psi, I think
    Max depth: 85 feet
    Waves: Flat
    Visibility: 15 feet plus
    Water Temperature: 59 degrees
    Air Temperature: 64 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 25 minutes

    I followed Joe.

    Macho Joe.

    I was so glad I was in my own equipment.

    Some divers complain that my gear is “old” and maybe it is, but it is not obsolete.

    Macho Joe.

    Joe was a little under weighted and had a hard time staying down, but he made it to the shelf and down to 85 feet.

    Yeah, he was now the record holder for depth with that ancient regulator.


    If we were having a contest, I may have pushed it a little deeper!

    I had asked Joe if Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt may have breathed through that regulator.

    He said, “It is quite possible, he filmed it in the area and it is contemporary with the period.”

    We did the dive plan successfully.

    Unfortunately, no more underwater pictures came out.

    Joe must have iron lungs; he went deeper and lasted longer on that regulator that I had described in my previous post as “It was like taking a drag off a hookah with a clogged bowl.”

    We made an easy exit after surfacing at 15 feet.

    Lloyd Bridges  could have  breathed through this regulator!
    The regulator looks very simple…

    A simple design
    Upon Joe opening it, I realized how simple is really is… a big diaphragm with a little trigger mechanism the size of a match book that opened up an air valve the size of a pen top.

    Diving is a fucking hard job, but someone's got to do it!
    This shirt says it all!

    Debriefing with the King Of beers ensued.

    I may be doing a repeat of my trip to Albania presentation for Dive N Surf.

    I also learned, contrary to what I have been told about “modern equipment,” that when you turn your air on, always point your gauges to the ground.

    Someone was almost blinded when the pressure gauge exploded and threw glass everywhere.

    I have also been told that I need to post more.

    Thank you Joe for the great diving experience!


    1. Thanks PSD for a great day of vintage diving. Like me, I know you appreciate the history of diving, and you respect the accomplishments of the pioneers who came before us. We now live and dive in the time of online over-night scuba certifications, computer designed reverse balanced titanium regulators, and one-size-fits-all push button BCDs with multiple alternate air sources. Macho? I think not. Only diving with vintage gear gives a true perspective on the challenges and difficulties experienced in earlier eras, and bonds us with real manly men like Mike Nelson. I’m really glad you found the experience enjoyable, and thank you for documenting our dives in your very popular online column. I’d also like to say that I deeply regret drinking all your beer during the debriefing.

      Comment by Joe R — February 24, 2015 @ 6:35 am

    2. Very cool dive. As recently as the mid 90s one of my bug diving buddies dived without a BC. Just a tank strap and backpack and weight belt adjusted for wetsuit only, I always thought that was macho. But he often complained about not having enough buoyancy at depth and often hit the bottom. That led directly to him putting his hand right on a Sculpin during a bug dive at the LBBW causing “the most pain he has ever had”. The spine pierced right through his leather glove. we had to rush him back to the ramp where we discovered that an instant remedy for Sculpin sting is hot water, worked instantly. From then on he used a BC.

      Comment by halibug — February 24, 2015 @ 10:57 am

    3. Would you ride a motor bike without a helmet, or drive a car without a seat belt or sky dive without a reserve chute? Diving with no BCD and no second air is dumb in my opinion.

      Comment by Jay — February 25, 2015 @ 7:05 pm

    4. Many hardcore bug divers used to use this system without a BC because it is very streamlined. You would be surprised how much further you could get back into a cave without a BC. spare Octo Reg, forget it, snags on everything while diving at night for bugs. SO…….. no BC, no Octo, forget the snorkel, fully penetrated into a cave in pursuit of big bugs, thats kind of how it works,,,,,, MACHO.

      Comment by halibug — February 26, 2015 @ 3:38 pm

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