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Thread: Down Currents

  1. #1
    RBW Member Larry0428 is on a distinguished road Larry0428 is on a distinguished road Larry0428's Avatar
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    Down Currents

    Not sure if I am posting in the correct area. I recently experienced a severe down current while diving Open Circuit and taking photos with a large DSLR camera set up. It was at the end of an interesting drift dive basically along a wall quite close to shore at a Komodo dive site. I had completed my safety stop and was about to ascend when I was caught in a down current which within what seemed a few seconds had taken me from 5 to 25 meters. I still kept going down to 35m despite fully inflating my wing. If wasn't so scary watching your exhaled bubbles descend faster than yourself is quite an unreal experience. Anyway I tried to swim out away from the island and eventually got out of the extreme down current. I still had to fin pretty hard to get back to the surface. When I did eventually surface I was more than 400m out from shore, so it was quite a wild ride!

    Now my question is, has anyone experienced anything similar on a CCR and what did you do? I'm imagining if I was on the breather (Inspo Vision) the rapid descent would have have spiked my PO2 quite considerably as I usually only switch to low set point at about 4m. Then I'm wondering I usually turn my ADV off on ascent, but with such a rapid unplanned descent and my hands full with a camera would I have had sufficient presence of mind to either turn the ADV back on or manually add via the MAV? Finally, while I don't think I panicked and my thought process seemed quite clear, I was pretty keen to get out of the down current and back to the surface, so if my ascent was too rapid on the Breather I'd risk going hypoxic on the way back up if I wasn't thinking clearly. Just interested in opinions and experiences so I can formulate a bit of a plan in my mind or practice some skills to prepare for such an eventuality on the breather (hopefully a very remote possibility as it's the first time anything like this has happened to me).

    BTW I usually dive quite conservatively so had plenty of air left at the end of this dive but I blew threw pretty much all of it by the time I was back on the surface, so that conservatism certainly saved my butt.

    Cheers
    Larry


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  2. #2
    RBW Member Bubblemaster is an unknown quantity at this point Bubblemaster's Avatar
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    Re: Down Currents

    On ccr there is no reason to go up fast as long as youre mix is right. I ended up at 67 meter at Nusa Penida and had only planned to go to 15. Down current can be a real killer. I will however directly send my large smb up. Took the boat crew over an hour to locate me in the open ocean because i had a shitty smb. It is worth the investment to buy a good smb. I carry three good ones now on a dive with at least two reels.

  3. #3
    RBW Member Nicool is on a distinguished road Nicool is on a distinguished road Nicool's Avatar
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    Re: Down Currents

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry0428  View Original Post
    Not sure if I am posting in the correct area. I recently experienced a severe down current while diving Open Circuit and taking photos with a large DSLR camera set up. It was at the end of an interesting drift dive basically along a wall quite close to shore at a Komodo dive site. I had completed my safety stop and was about to ascend when I was caught in a down current which within what seemed a few seconds had taken me from 5 to 25 meters. I still kept going down to 35m despite fully inflating my wing. If wasn't so scary watching your exhaled bubbles descend faster than yourself is quite an unreal experience. Anyway I tried to swim out away from the island and eventually got out of the extreme down current. I still had to fin pretty hard to get back to the surface. When I did eventually surface I was more than 400m out from shore, so it was quite a wild ride!

    Now my question is, has anyone experienced anything similar on a CCR and what did you do? I'm imagining if I was on the breather (Inspo Vision) the rapid descent would have have spiked my PO2 quite considerably as I usually only switch to low set point at about 4m. Then I'm wondering I usually turn my ADV off on ascent, but with such a rapid unplanned descent and my hands full with a camera would I have had sufficient presence of mind to either turn the ADV back on or manually add via the MAV? Finally, while I don't think I panicked and my thought process seemed quite clear, I was pretty keen to get out of the down current and back to the surface, so if my ascent was too rapid on the Breather I'd risk going hypoxic on the way back up if I wasn't thinking clearly. Just interested in opinions and experiences so I can formulate a bit of a plan in my mind or practice some skills to prepare for such an eventuality on the breather (hopefully a very remote possibility as it's the first time anything like this has happened to me).

    BTW I usually dive quite conservatively so had plenty of air left at the end of this dive but I blew threw pretty much all of it by the time I was back on the surface, so that conservatism certainly saved my butt.

    Cheers
    Larry


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    What a dreadful story!
    I am guessing leaving the ADV open would probably increase your chances of surviving such a current, if it happens on a rebreather, but i'd be interested in others' thoughts.

    I have never experienced down-currents, and i was confident that inflating the wing would be sufficient to ascend, but your experience shows it's not!
    How far did you have to swim to escape the current? Maybe the part where it's so strong remains quite narrow, and you were just at the worst place?
    Also, how was the dive-site shaped to result in such a current?

    Glad you're here to discuss with us

  4. #4
    Just another Meg diver trimix1965 is an unknown quantity at this point trimix1965's Avatar
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    Re: Down Currents

    Scary experience Lally, where is Komodo dive site?

  5. #5
    Just another Meg diver trimix1965 is an unknown quantity at this point trimix1965's Avatar
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    Re: Down Currents

    Scary experience Larry, where is Komodo dive site?

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    Down Currents

    I've never experienced such a thing on open circuit or closed but I wonder just from reading your story whether a bailout scenario would be appropriate.

    I'm not one to bailout on a perfectly good loop but the rapid forces and stress involved make me wonder about the ability to maintain self awareness enough to manage such a situation. Good to think about but something I hope never to deal with.


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    Havin Fun Kristi C will become famous soon enough Kristi C will become famous soon enough Kristi C will become famous soon enough Kristi C's Avatar
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    Re: Down Currents

    Apologies all. This section requires approval on new threads. However I just noticed that all replies are also awaiting approval. I'm looking into the issue and will let you know when fixed. Sorry for the inconvenience
    Kristi Cunningham

  8. #8
    RBW Member Goferrin99 is an unknown quantity at this point Goferrin99's Avatar
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    Re: Down Currents

    Quote Originally Posted by trimix1965  View Original Post
    Scary experience Lally, where is Komodo dive site?
    Three islands east of Bali.

    Sadly, it is an area known for currents that have claimed a few lives Glad to hear all ended well

  9. #9
    RBW Member Larry0428 is on a distinguished road Larry0428 is on a distinguished road Larry0428's Avatar
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    Down Currents

    As Goferrin99 says Komodo is part of Indonesia and East of Bali. We were diving a small uninhabited volcanic island which rises vertically from the ocean. It was basically a (very fast) drift dive along a wall, which was all but on the shore line. I'm pretty sure (though he wouldn't admit it) that our guide was a bit lost. After our safety stop we reached what looked like the corner of the island. Our guide ducked very quickly behind the corner and ascended. While my dive buddy and I were only a meter or two behind him, by the time we reacted with our large cameras we were swept away before we could follow.

    If you find yourself diving OC again in any area with severe down currents I can only suggest diving conservatively. I finished my safety stop with about 100bar left, when I eventually came up I only had 20 bar! My buddy finished his safety stop with 70 bar, but hit the reef at 20m and climber hand over hand back up, he finished with less than 10 bar. In terms of the breather, I think bailout would be the best option myself, at least until you could get your wits together. I can't describe how quickly it all happened.

    Regards
    Larry


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  10. #10
    RBW Member Larry0428 is on a distinguished road Larry0428 is on a distinguished road Larry0428's Avatar
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    Down Currents

    BTW agree about the SMB, I had two with me and a Lifeline radio. So I was all good as long as I made it back to the surface 😄😄

    Cheers
    Larry


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