03 May 2015

Diving on the Sea Emperor with Scubatyme III

Ricther arranged to be dropped off at 11:00 am and Arantxa, Carlota and Javier arrived about 10 minutes later. Arantxa had purchased her own mask, fins and 1.5 mm wetsuit, so she was set. We managed to get everyone outfitted very quickly and to get on the road. We drove over to Ryan's to pick up him and Ashley, then headed up to Sands Harbor Marina and Scubatyme III.

Luis was already at the marina, and had staked claim to a nearby parking spot on my behalf. We unloaded tanks and gear and then Leo arrived. Everyone signed the release and the roster and we were underway. Doug was the divemaster but someone new was Captain. He was personable without being over bearing and seemed to know exactly what he was doing. Ya gotta like that in a Captain.

We got to the site and Doug tied off the ball and we were on. Luis, Ric and Carlota were quiet and Ric was getting a little green. Enzo recognized the signs and rushed the divers into the water where he knew they would feel better. I was next to last getting in and Luis came in last. I had talked to Leo, who agreed he would watch Arantxa, Carlota and Javier while I would be primarily responsible for Ashley, Ryan and Ricther.

There was little current going down and I did not need to hang onto the line. I started taking pictures of the divers. Visibility was poor because of a haze, so I shot without the strobe to cut down on the back scatter.

We'll see how that turns out. I got to the bottom before Ashley and Ryan but had to swim over to get their attention before but they followed me over the culverts and around the wreck. Ricther wasn't far behind us.

When we got to the bottom, Ryan was concerned about the air leaking from Ashley's valve where the regulator's first stage attached. Probably a dry O-ring, but I shrugged it off because over the course of a 40 minute dive it would be insignificant. I certainly wasn't going to go back to the boat to change the O-ring. Note the bubble from Ashley's breathing and compare them to the bubbles from the leaking valve.

As we came to the North end of the wreck, I got this shot of Carlota coming out of the wreck. I wondered at the time if Leo had taken them inside by entering the wreck at the South end by crawling under it.  

I thought it would be better to avoid the current by swimming North inside the wreck, and suggested that we penetrate. I dropped inside the first compartment and went under the compartment wall, where I spotted a very young Smooth Trunkfish. I took several pictures, but without the strobe and without a macro lens, they didn't turn out well.

Ryan had followed me into the wreck and into the next compartment, but I waited for Ashley and she did not come. I went back to see what had happened, but she was not inside. I went up and saw her outside the wreck. Ryan came up to join us and he indicated that she had only 1000 psi left. I signalled that 600 psi was plenty to get to the surface, so we swam to the South end of the wreck then turned and went with the current back to the line where Ryan and Ashley headed up.

I spotted Arantxa apparently having some trouble and went to her. I saw that her BCD was full of air and dumped it, but the valve was stuck open and it began filling immediately. I tried to disconnect the low pressure inflator hose, but I could not get it off. Leo came to help but neither of us could undo the inflator hose. The best we could do was get her to the line so she could hold on and avoid a run-away ascent.

I went to check on Ryan and Ashley, who by that time were making their safety stop.

I stayed off to the South of the line and got shots of most of the guys coming up the line, then I went up.

 I got this shot of Carlota coming up the line;
this shot of Javier testing his buoyancy control after playing with the bubbles coming from the divers below him;
and this shot of Leo and Arantxa coming up the line with Luis in the background with his pin-point buoyancy control and flawless horizontal positioning. That, boys and girls, is what a diver looks like in the water.

Bottom temperature was 78 degrees; dive time was 36 minutes; consumption rate was 47.75 psil/minute at an average depth of 46 feet and my SAC rate was 19.95 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

The 59 minute surface interval became a puke fest as first Ricther, then Luis, became sea sick. We didn't need pictures. Several others were quiet and looking for a spot on the rail. We needed the surface interval to off gas, but we also needed to get back in the water before more divers became sea sick.

Our first dive was to 70 ft for 36 minutes, which put us in pressure group P. After a 59 minute surface interval, we were in group F and a group F diver has a residual nitrogen time of 19 minutes at 60 feet (to the sand). Thus, our bottom time could be the 55 minute no decompression limit less the 19 minute residual nitrogen time or 36 minutes, plus 25% for using a computer, or 45 minutes. I tried to make a lesson of it, but the divers were focused on the bouncing boat. We got back in the water.

I had a little trouble at first deciding which way to drift, The current was so light. Finally decided it was a North current, but I also watched Luis head off to the South, and that gave me pause.

We swam along looking at lots of different fish, like the Creole Wrasse above, swimming with a small group of Tomates.

The photo to the left is a shot of a Rock Beauty.

We saw a number of Atlantic Spadefish like these in the foreground.  That's Ryan and Ashley in the background.

When Ashley ran low on air, we called the dive and went slowly to the surface, stopping at 15 feet for a 3-minute safety stop.  We floated on the surface as we waited to get picked up.

Bottom temperature was 78 degrees; bottom time was 42 minutes; the consumption rate at an average depth of 42 feet was 39.55 psi/minute and my SAC rate was 17.40 psi/minute on an aluminum 80.

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