Who Cares if the Rebreather Has Integrated Deco

For some time now, Innerspace Systems has been working on a Megalodon head called APECS 3 that supports integrated decompression. As with any major software / hardware engineering project, there have been some delays, which has Meg owners clambering for information about when it will come out. It’s amazing how so many of these rebreather divers are pestering the company and acting like a bunch of kids a few days before Christmas. What I don’t really understand is why people are so anxious.

It’s not that I wouldn’t like to have integrated deco, but I really don’t see it as being all that big a deal. When software gets more complex it also gets more buggy, which is why I’m pretty happy having a very basic loop controller. Keeping the deco on a different unit like a VR3 is a nice modular system, and besides, I don’t really even use the computer on really deep dives.

When I plan a bigger dive, I do it like this:

  • Work out the details on the laptop
  • Cut the tables and laminate them (wrist mounted slate)
  • Cut bailout tables and laminate them (also on wrist)
  • Fill 02 and Diluent
  • Fill bailout using thirds
  • Do the dive as it was planned and as it appears on my wrist.

While I use the computer to validate my deco schedule, it is really only there for backup.

Again, it would be nice to have integrated deco, but IMHO, you should not do big dives if you can’t maintain a setpoint. Provided you can, or even if you depend on your loop controller to do it, your actual setpoint will match that on your computer. Everything should jive and you can validate the deco schedule on your wrist.

It’s tempting just to jump in, do a gnarly dive and depend on your computer to get you out of it, but doing so ignores some of the basic safety precautions of technical diving like proper gas management, which is a risk that I really don’t feel comfortable taking.

Diving at Lake Willoughby

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of diving in Lake Willoughby. This glacial lake is located near the Canadian Border in Westmore, VT, and makes an outstanding diving location because of its clarity and depth. There are a few places that divers can get access to the water, but the best seems to be the second turnout when coming from the public beach on the North side of the lake. The entry is a little steep and rocky, but steps have been cut out, making it pretty manageable so long as you don’t try to do it with a ton of equipment. It does make me grateful for my relatively light-weight rebreather.

Once you get into the water it drops off pretty quickly to about 80ft, and then gently slopes down from that point on. Exactly how deep the lake is has been a point of some contention. Some divers have told me that it bottoms out at a little over 400Ft, but the one navigational chart I’ve been able to locate has it at only 312ft at its deepest point. Either way, it bottoming it out would make for a nice tech dive. I’ve found two pretty drastic thermoclines – one at about 35ft, and the other at about 75ft. Even in the middle of summer it’s a pretty cold lake, so dive it dry if you can.

The dive is pretty much a boulder / wall dive, and, while there are not many fish, there are plenty of little caves and crack to poke around in. Most of my dives there have been more work than play as I try to get better at my reel work, and emergency procedures on the Meg.

Lake Willoughby 1Lake Willoughby 2

Deep Dive On A Wreck Full Of Toilets

Leigh Cunningham and Mark Andrews figure they’ve made the world’s deepest wreck dive on the Yolande, a 72m ship in Egypt which had been carrying a bunch of toilets.

The wreck sank in 1981, but slid into deeper waters because of a storm in 1985. It currently sits in water ranging from 145m to 160m, and perhaps even deeper. The two divers ventured to 160m on TRIMIX, which is admittedly a very deep dive.

The team plans to return to the Yolanda in August to dive even deeper in search of other parts of the ship. Cunningham works as a TDI Instructor Trainer, and Andrews is Technical Director at the London School of Diving.

More information can be found here.

Well done guys!