I was quickly humbled the other day when I discovered that I had gone diving with the wrong bailout gas. I will back track a little bit to tell how I put myself in this potentially fatal position.
I use an Apeks XTX200 for my deepest bailout gas (bottom most mix) and have it on a necklace. This tank is always hung on my left side. I use a Dive Rite reg with an orange second stage hose for my hottest mix (Deco or O2) and have this tank on my right side. These two regs have both been breathed deeply and very recently. I trust them both to work at all times.
The Apeks developed a IP creep and I sent it in for service. While it was gone and I wanted to dive, I used the Dive Rite reg with the orange hose for my bottom mix and had it on a BO tank that was filled with 10/50. I used another reg for the 50% tank. After the dive, I rinsed my gear and set the BO tanks off to the side like I always do.
I do not analyze my BO tanks prior to each dive. I just go by the labels that indicate the mix, I mean really, how is it going to change just by setting in the garage?
I got a call from a friend of mine to go diving and I began to get my gear together. I had my Apeks back from service and it seemed to be working fine. I stuck it on my tank of 21/35 to use as the deep BO tank. My plan was to have 50% for my other tank. This is were I f**ked up BADLY. I grabbed the 10/50 tank with the orange hosed reg and did a "quick " verification of the label to make sure it was 50%. I saw 50 and called it good. Half of the label was concealed by the hoses and it was actually 10/50.
If my Rebreather would have crapped out and I was forced to bailout, I am very sure that I would be dead right now. I would have been decoing on a hypoxic mix of 10/50 instead of 50%. Might not have been too bad until I was shallow, but dead is dead.
I feel like the most stupid mother f**ker on the planet right now and I am sure that I will catch a lot of crap for this. I have not been able to sleep worth a damn since I did this. I am of the impression that if I am not able to make sure of my own gasses that I do not belong diving. I am doing this because I love it and not because i have a death wish.
I have decided that from now on: I must do more than just check pressure and that the regs work when gearing up for a dive. Before ever clipping the tank on, the mix must be verified one last time.
I am posting about my little screw up in the hopes that it might keep others from doing the same thing.