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Thread: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

  1. #1
    Randy Thornton Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict's Avatar
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    Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    I'm just on my way home from a great week of cave diving in Cave Country (North Central Florida). I had the opportunity of doing a beautiful dive at Eagles Nest with my good friend Wayne Kinard. Wayne was diving OC while I was diving my Hammerhead.

    I was diving a 10/60 mix at a set point of 1.2. Even though I choose to dive OC in some cave diving situations, Eagles Nest is in my opinion, a dive that is more conducive to CCR. It's a very deep, large wide open cave with variable conditions that are effected by the tides. (Even though you won't find salt water in the cave, the tidal exchange will completely affect the viz from day to day.) We did a nice long dive with a total run time of 3 hours and 10 mins.

    Although Eagles Nest is also the perfect cave in which to use a scooter, we chose to swim this time around. We dove the Upstream section and swam to the 1000 feet mark, which even though it doesn't sound like much, when you are swimming at 270 feet, a 1000 feet in and a 1000 feet back out is a pretty good work out! It took us 41 mins. to hit the 1000 feet mark where we turned the dive. at about 43 mins., I started to notice that I was getting a fair amount of water in the loop. I emptied it several times over the next few mins., but I kept getting more and more water! Thankfully, the Hammerhead is extremely flood resistant and tolerrent, and I knew that I could deal with a fair amount of water. Over the shoulder counter lungs and the radial scrubber that sits on top of a sizable spacer, combine to make for a substantial safety margin when it comes to water trapping.

    When you are 40 mins. back in a cave at 270 deep, about the last thing in the world you really want to do is to test out your bailout planning efficiency! I was pretty confident that I was packing sufficient bailout, but not real excited about testing out my theory! Consequently, I was determined to complete the dive on the loop if at all possible. Because my buddy was on OC, I really wasn't too excited about having to share air with him if it turned out that my bailout was not sufficient, so I had even more motivation to stay on the loop as long as possible!

    My work of breathing became a little more difficult as a portion of my scrubber became wet, but again due to the scrubber design, it was still functional. I just had to slow down a little bit so as not to over breath the scrubber at that point. A slight adjustment to my normal cave diving trim also helped keep the water out of the scrubber.

    3 hours and 10 mins. later, I completed my deco and with a HUGE smile on my face surfaced still on the loop! When I later cleaned my unit, I found a couple of liters of water in both counter lungs, and in the canister. Never once did I even taste a hint of caustic cocktail. I was actually quite surprised at the volume of water!

    So the big question that is now going through my mind is "Did I really have enough bailout? Given that I was diving with an OC buddy that really wouldn't have been in a position to do "team bailout", should I have staged more bailout then what I did?" I think the answer is that even though I theoretically had plenty of bailout, in this particular buddy team situation, one CCR and one OC, I will error on the side of extreme caution in the future. When I'm cave diving with my two sons on CCR, we dive as a team and carry loads of bailout between the team. When diving with an OC buddy, this type of dive does not lend itself to team bailout practices.

    The conclusion I have come to is that I will be staging more bailout than my planning requires when doing a deep cave dive with an OC buddy. Although the Hammerhead is extremely flood tolerant, I will be hedging my bets in the future! A flooded CCR in a deep cave is a CCR divers worst nightmare! When in Cave Country I will occasionally see CCR divers way back in caves with nothing more than a couple of aluminum 40s. I wonder what would happen if they had a CO2 hit, or a flood and actually had to make it back out on these little tanks in what would surely be a very stressful situation? A little scary in my mind!

    By the way, once I realized that I was taking on water, neither me or my buddy could figure out where it was coming from. After the dive, I noticed that it was coming from a slit in my mouthpiece. A simple problem that caused my a bit of concern during the dive!

    Dive safe everyone!

    Warm regards,
    Randy
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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Hey Randy - I'm glad you're OK!!!

    Thanks for the report - but please be safe out there! Today is Fathers Day, after all, and the kids would rather keep us around!

    Talk soon,

    Kevin Juergensen
    Juergensen Marine, Inc.

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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Glad to hear everything worked out. 10/60 Wayne's special, hard on the tables. How was the vis?

    In my vast experience in EN, all 3 dives worth, my thoughts during the dive always involved the size of brass ones the explorers there must have to dive it OC. No way Jose, CCR all the way, plenty of BO (seems like I added a bottle every dive), and a scooter to escape with.

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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    I have to say flood tolerance on OTS machines is amazing. I also fear it is a double edged sword though. We escape unscathed from troublesome situations and start to think, "why do I need so much bailout" . I am glad you are questioning your requirements. We tend to believe this stuff will never happen to us after numerous uneventful dive then something as simple as a mouthpiece causes a potentially dangerous condition.
    Thanks for the reminder Randy.
    Cheers,

    Dave....

    www.wedivebc.com

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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Glad to hear everything worked out, Randy. Sorry I couldn't join you in cave country this trip. Hopefully, we will be able to get together on your next trip.

    Happy Father's Day!

    Doug

  6. #6
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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Glad all worked out OK for you and kudos to you for having the discipline to analyze your situation and stay on the loop. It is all too easy to spook and bail out, which, for this type of dive, is the sub optimal solution unless it is absolutely necessary.

    FWIW, when we relined EN we set up the cave with an AL80 every 500' and an extra bottle in the vicinity of the Lockwood jump to provide gas for deep stops on deco. Each diver had an AL80 on his person so a team of 3 1000' back had 480 cu feet of bottom gas available plus the staged deco gas at 70 and 20 feet. This is also what we do when we dive it for fun and the staged or carried gas becomes the limiting factor of the dive.

    We have since evolved to side mounting bailout and carrying 2 AL80's (or 72's) per diver so for that 1000' penetration we now have 3 staged and potentially 6 carried bailouts (total of 9) plus deco gas for a 3 man team. this give a lot of latitude for exploration.

    Fortunately we never had the need to test the calculations but they were made by actually swimming an AL80 for 1000' on the upstream side and cutting it in half to account for both the stress of a bailout situation and the possibility of being in the greater depth of the downstream side.

    While mathmatical calculations are wonderful in the classroom, I think there is no substitute for actually doing it and knowing for sure what you can and cannot do.

    Glad you had a great weekend ... and I know you had a great buddy ....


    Quote Originally Posted by Mixaddict  View Original Post
    I'm just on my way home from a great week of cave diving in Cave Country (North Central Florida). I had the opportunity of doing a beautiful dive at Eagles Nest with my good friend Wayne Kinard. Wayne was diving OC while I was diving my Hammerhead.

    I was diving a 10/60 mix at a set point of 1.2. Even though I choose to dive OC in some cave diving situations, Eagles Nest is in my opinion, a dive that is more conducive to CCR. It's a very deep, large wide open cave with variable conditions that are effected by the tides. (Even though you won't find salt water in the cave, the tidal exchange will completely affect the viz from day to day.) We did a nice long dive with a total run time of 3 hours and 10 mins.

    Although Eagles Nest is also the perfect cave in which to use a scooter, we chose to swim this time around. We dove the Upstream section and swam to the 1000 feet mark, which even though it doesn't sound like much, when you are swimming at 270 feet, a 1000 feet in and a 1000 feet back out is a pretty good work out! It took us 41 mins. to hit the 1000 feet mark where we turned the dive. at about 43 mins., I started to notice that I was getting a fair amount of water in the loop. I emptied it several times over the next few mins., but I kept getting more and more water! Thankfully, the Hammerhead is extremely flood resistant and tolerrent, and I knew that I could deal with a fair amount of water. Over the shoulder counter lungs and the radial scrubber that sits on top of a sizable spacer, combine to make for a substantial safety margin when it comes to water trapping.

    When you are 40 mins. back in a cave at 270 deep, about the last thing in the world you really want to do is to test out your bailout planning efficiency! I was pretty confident that I was packing sufficient bailout, but not real excited about testing out my theory! Consequently, I was determined to complete the dive on the loop if at all possible. Because my buddy was on OC, I really wasn't too excited about having to share air with him if it turned out that my bailout was not sufficient, so I had even more motivation to stay on the loop as long as possible!

    My work of breathing became a little more difficult as a portion of my scrubber became wet, but again due to the scrubber design, it was still functional. I just had to slow down a little bit so as not to over breath the scrubber at that point. A slight adjustment to my normal cave diving trim also helped keep the water out of the scrubber.

    3 hours and 10 mins. later, I completed my deco and with a HUGE smile on my face surfaced still on the loop! When I later cleaned my unit, I found a couple of liters of water in both counter lungs, and in the canister. Never once did I even taste a hint of caustic cocktail. I was actually quite surprised at the volume of water!

    So the big question that is now going through my mind is "Did I really have enough bailout? Given that I was diving with an OC buddy that really wouldn't have been in a position to do "team bailout", should I have staged more bailout then what I did?" I think the answer is that even though I theoretically had plenty of bailout, in this particular buddy team situation, one CCR and one OC, I will error on the side of extreme caution in the future. When I'm cave diving with my two sons on CCR, we dive as a team and carry loads of bailout between the team. When diving with an OC buddy, this type of dive does not lend itself to team bailout practices.

    The conclusion I have come to is that I will be staging more bailout than my planning requires when doing a deep cave dive with an OC buddy. Although the Hammerhead is extremely flood tolerant, I will be hedging my bets in the future! A flooded CCR in a deep cave is a CCR divers worst nightmare! When in Cave Country I will occasionally see CCR divers way back in caves with nothing more than a couple of aluminum 40s. I wonder what would happen if they had a CO2 hit, or a flood and actually had to make it back out on these little tanks in what would surely be a very stressful situation? A little scary in my mind!

    By the way, once I realized that I was taking on water, neither me or my buddy could figure out where it was coming from. After the dive, I noticed that it was coming from a slit in my mouthpiece. A simple problem that caused my a bit of concern during the dive!

    Dive safe everyone!

    Warm regards,
    Randy
    Last edited by Joe; 20th June 2010 at 22:50.

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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Really glad it all worked out for you. A few random thoughts.

    1. You can't compare diving with Wayne to diving with an ordinary OC buddy. I think he has gills.

    2. Part of the flood tolerance of OTS rebreathers is the ability to clear the CLs of water. I would expect a slit mouthpiece to get water in the exhale lung. The fact that you had so much water in the inhale lung and the canister might indicate that you didn't clear the exhale lung as often as you could have once you sensed WOB issues. Or it could just be positional. Of course clearing the lungs uses up gas and you might have been concerned about that.

    3. Did you ever consider going to bailout and running semi-closed? Obviously not the best solution, but it sure would use a lot less bailout gas. I am not advocating that you plan bailout gas needs based on using less this way.

    Just curious.

    Ken

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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Quote Originally Posted by sea2summit  View Original Post
    Glad to hear everything worked out. 10/60 Wayne's special, hard on the tables. How was the vis?

    In my vast experience in EN, all 3 dives worth, my thoughts during the dive always involved the size of brass ones the explorers there must have to dive it OC. No way Jose, CCR all the way, plenty of BO (seems like I added a bottle every dive), and a scooter to escape with.
    hi randy glad it all worked out. josh and did EN a few months back and we each had about 5 80's. the nice thing about cave diving is you can feel pretty confident staging gas. when it comes to BO i am a weeine and carry as much as humanly possible. here are some of our trip shots :)
    the CR is simply a prop
    maybe someday i can join you two on a dive there.
    mel
    Attached Images

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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Quote Originally Posted by wedivebc  View Original Post
    I have to say flood tolerance on OTS machines is amazing. I also fear it is a double edged sword though. We escape unscathed from troublesome situations and start to think, "why do I need so much bailout" . I am glad you are questioning your requirements. We tend to believe this stuff will never happen to us after numerous uneventful dive then something as simple as a mouthpiece causes a potentially dangerous condition.
    Thanks for the reminder Randy.



    Sad but true. I have dived my inspo (classic and HH) in Alpinist mode but id never do that on any of the rear CL units I have owned.




    Randy, glad it all worked out in the end. I too flooded my unit with a split mouthpiece, its incredable that such a small failure can cause such big problems

    ATB

    Mark

  10. #10
    Randy Thornton Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict has much to be proud of Mixaddict's Avatar
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    Re: Floods and Bailout on Deep Cave Dives

    Quote Originally Posted by sea2summit  View Original Post
    In my vast experience in EN, all 3 dives worth, my thoughts during the dive always involved the size of brass ones the explorers there must have to dive it OC.
    Even more amazing is the fact that they were doing most of the exploration on air!!!!

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