Sleeping on a Dive Boat

Sunday, March 1, 2009 0:36 | Filled in Dive Logs

So I’m lying awake in my bunk listening to some poor woman’s husband snore like a freight train, while posting to my blog for the first time with my iPhone.

Tomorrow I make a map in hopes of one day finishing my divemaster class that’s managed to last almost a year due to my award winning procrastination.

Shaw’s Cove and a new 4.8 Watt LED Light

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 12:30 | Filled in Dive Gear

Intova Nova Wide Angle

Yesterday I went for a dive with my friend Brooke at Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach. We had a great dive with pristine conditions. We even ran into a Moray eel just before we hit our turn around point. After the dive we stopped by Laguna Sea Sports to get some fills and take advantage of their free rinse tank. We spent some time looking around the shop and found a truly innovative new light design from a company neither of us recognized. The company was Intova and the product was the smallest brightest LED backup light I’ve seen.

The Intova Nova Wide Angle LED Torch puts out 130 lumens with a focused 4.7 watt LED.  It’s smaller then my Halcyon, puts out more light and burns longer. The magnetic switch and double o-ring battery compartment means it is almost impossible to flood. With traditional lights like the Halcyon Scout you have to twist the head to turn on the light. This puts stress on the o-rings and can damage the seal if sand has made its way into contact with the o-ring. Traditional lights  also have a tendancy to turn on accidentally on decent if not twisted far enough in the off position.  This is because the water pressure presses the head down against the housing. With the magnetic switch on the Intova Nova there’s no opening so there’s no chance of a leak. The only time you have to service the o-rings on the Nova light is when you change the batteries. The only down side I see is that the 3volt batteries required  for the Nova light are a bit more expensie than traditional C cells, but I think you will agree its worth the extra money for the extra output.   To see the light for yourself visit Intova.net.

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Zippers or Velcro Pockets

Friday, June 27, 2008 2:22 | Filled in Dive Gear, Dive Logs

Tonight I sprung a leak.  I was diving Veterans Park at Redondo Beach when my DUI TLS350 left me with a foot full of water.  The good news is that I was able to test my new ScubaPro MK25/s600 regulator and my new Atomic Mouthpiece .  I bought the new regulator from Ocean Adventures Dive Co. last weekend.  I love my new MK25 and I’m using the leak as an excuse to get pockets put on my drysuit.

 So what do I choose, zippers or velcro for the pockets?  Halcyon has both but I want to save time and money by going with DUI.  Good advice welcome.

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Have You Serviced Your Backup Light lately?

Friday, June 20, 2008 22:28 | Filled in Dive Gear

Halcyon LED Scout Backup LightI learned an important lesson about servicing my backup lights several months ago on a night dive at Veteran’s Park (Redondo Beach).  We were out of the canyon and just screwing around to at between 20 and 30 feet when my buddy Mark’s primary went out.  I was almost giddy at the thought of finally using the backup light I’d been wearing strapped under the arm of my BC for god only knows how long.  I followed proper deployment protocol by first twisting the light on, and then unclipping it from my D-ring and passing it to my buddy.  My UK 4AA eLED lasted roughly 30 seconds before it flickered out.  Who knows if it was sand or crystallized salt that broke the seal as I twisted on the light but one thing was for sure: That o-ring hadn’t been cleaned and lubed in quite some time. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about building a tech rig lately.  The failure of my backup light didn’t seem serious at the time, but now that I’m thinking about tech, I’m taking these little lessons much more seriously.  These days I wear two backup lights packed with fresh non-rechargeable batteries.   On one side is my Halcyon LED Scout and on the other is a cheap 4AA I found diving Catalina.   I test them both before every night dive and service the o-rings regularly.

Oil Rigs and Stage Bottles and Divemaster Certification – Oh my!

Saturday, June 7, 2008 0:09 | Filled in Dive Gear, Random Notes

David Fricks on the RigsWow, so much has been going on, and I haven’t posted any of it.

I’m finally picking up my Divemaster Certification through Ocean Adventures Dive Co.  So far we’ve only completed the knowledge reviews and watched a cheesy PADI video.  We take the written tests on Thursday and then spend two full days in the pool that weekend.  Wish me luck!

 In other news, I bought a 40 cubic foot Luxifer aluminum stage bottle about a week ago.  That may seem like a strange purchase for someone who still hasn’t purchased a set of doubles, but let me explain.  After diving the Oil Rigs for the first time, I’ve been more excited about deep dives (110 to 130 feet).  Last time i dove the rigs, the deeper I went, the wider the visibility opened up, so naturally I wanted to go as deep as I safely can.  This has posed a bit of a problem because I’m now using absolutely all of my no decompression time, and ascending with a much leaner nitrox blend in my tank for off-gassing during my ascent and safety stops. 

As crazy as some of my dives have been in the past, I try to remain conservative with my gasses.  I follow the GUE standard of no more than 1.4 PPO2 when active and 1.6 while at rest on a decompression stop.  That means that during my bottom interval at 130 feet, the maximum bled is 28.34% EANx.  Calculated as [(depth in feet/33) +1]*F02=PPO2.  That doesn’t give me much to work with as far as NDL or as far as off-gassing on a stop.   I was researching doubles when I realized I can get almost as much air as double 80′s by simply adding a 40 cf bottle to my existing 119 cf back gas.   An added benefit of going this rough is that it gives me the option to breath a higher concentrations of oxygen during my ascent and decompression than the mix I use for my bottom time.  

I have to admit economics also led to my decision to put the cart before the horse in the way of a stage bottle.  The Luxifer 40 ended up costing me roughly $200 for the tank and $35 for the rigging.   To make the switch to doubles I was looking at around $1100 for the tanks, manifold, and bands, and another $350 for a new wing.   Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on buying the doubles and all the extra gear that goes with them, but for now I can get some extra bottom time and some valuable practice switching gasses for when I do get serious about technical diving.

So how about those Oil Rigs.  Some friends and I are back on the Sea Bass this Sunday.   Hopefully I will have some good pictures to share and a few stories on Monday.

Chamber Day 2008 Update

Saturday, May 24, 2008 9:56 | Filled in Diving Events


Catalina Chamber Day 2008

I finally got around to posting my pictures form Chamber Day.  We had a great time on the Sundiver, and learned a lot about dive accident treatment. 

I didn’t win the ScubaPro mk25/s600 regulator i had my eye on, but I had a great time none the less.   Jessica won a Project Aware book with some great photos of our underwater world. 

Good times had by all.

Diving the Oil Rigs on the Sea Bass Dive Boat

Monday, April 14, 2008 22:25 | Filled in Dive Boats, Dive Logs


Oil Rigs - Eureka Oil Platform
Saturday was a perfect day for a boat trip.   We boarded the boat at 6:30 am for a 7 am departure.  I was surprised to see that not a single person on the boat was diving a jacket style bc.  It was definitely a boat full of serious divers sporting equipment that would make anyone envious.  Two guys were diving doubles with stage bottles and another was on a fancy rebreather.   

I was surprised to see a rebreather that was so open on the back.  I am admittedly a novice when it comes to this technology, but every time I see a rebreather I find myself fascinated with the physics behind the whole thing.  I dove on a boat with an entire rebreather certification class in Maui but they were all diving the big yellow Inspiration and Evolution models we’ve all become accustom too.    This rig was different.  The scrubber was in a black case but the bottles inverted on either side were in plane site.   It looked a lot more streamlined than the big yellow packs I usually see.

The day was a good one.  The visibility went from green to open blue somewhere between 70 and 80 feet.  There was a definite thermocline that accompanied the clear visibility.  I was surprised there weren’t more fish.  Don’t get me wrong, we saw some monstrous sheephead, beautiful rockfish, and a few garibaldi, but the star of the show was the beautiful massive structure teaming with all sorts of colorful creatures that chose to make a home on the massive pillars that made up the rig’s substructure.  We dove to a max depth of 100 feet but I couldn’t help but feel we missed out on quite a bit further down.  I saw some amazing pictures that were taken by two scooter divers at about 130 feet.  This dive made me excited about tech diving and left me eager to start training for decompression dives using a more diverse group of gasses.  This time around I was on air for the first two and switched to EANx29 for my final dive.

 The Sea Bass is fast becoming one of my favorite boats.  It’s a small boat without much of a bunk-room but the crew is nice and the food is surprisingly good considering it comes from such a small kitchen.  Captain Richard is a fun guy with a great sense of humor.  It’s a nice change of pace from the bigger boats where you can go an entire day without speaking directly to the captain.

 Click on the image of the rig above to see my pictures from the Eureka Oil Platform!

Chamber Day & Eve – Wednesday, May 7th 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008 17:06 | Filled in Diving Events

Jessica and I are signed up and ready to go for this years Chamber day aboard the Sundiver.  I can’t want to see the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber under these pleasant circumstances.  We will also be attending the Chamber Eve at the Aquarium of the Pacific that night.  I look forward to having a good time for a good cause.

DeepSeaSupply Steel BackPlate and Wing

Monday, January 21, 2008 19:48 | Filled in Dive Gear

DeepSeaSupply Steel BackPlateDeepSeaSupply LCD 30 Single Tank Wing

New Toys Wahoo!!

I’ve been dreaming of serious cave/wreck diving, and today I am one step closer to my goal.  This afternoon I picked up my first backplate complete with a new wing, and hogarthian harness.  Now I have something to strap doubles to.

El Matador State Beach

Monday, January 21, 2008 9:25 | Filled in Dive Logs

El Matador is located at32100 Pacific Coast Hwy in Malibu, CA. 
We met at 9:30 am Sunday, January 2oth. 

I was particularly looking forward to finally getting in the water after calling a scheduled dive the day before due to obviously poor visibility at  Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro.  White Point looked pretty bad too, so we opted to have a beer instead.  Good call.

 Another day of “craptacular” visibility, to quote my buddy Kyle.  The water seemed ok from the lookout at El Matador.  Not green and cloudy like we saw in San Pedro.  We donned our gear and hit the water around 10am.  I was diving a threesome with Kyle Newton and Brooke Olson two great buddies if you ever have the chance.  

We dropped in about 20 FSW just as we hit the first kelp line.  When we reached the sandy bottom, I could only see the dark outline of Brooke’s shadow about 8 feet away.  We quickly made our way south towards deeper water in search of better visibility farther from the shore break.  We came across a few large impressive rock structures, some lobster, a large female sheep head and all the usual suspects, but the visibility didn’t really open up until we were well past the last kelp bed.   Finally, we had descent viz but there was nothing to see but eel grass and sand, so we headed east for a bit and headed back towards shore (north).  Not more than 20 kick cycles into the return trip, Brooke spotted a rather large Bat Ray neatly camouflaged in the sand.  I was eager to finally take a picture, but by the time I powered up my camera and got the settings back to where they needed to be, the ray was gone.   I have yet to get a really great shot of a healthy bat ray. 

 On the way back to shore it was much of the same.  Pea soup visibility and nothing exciting to speak of.  I must say that the bat ray made the dive worth doing and I would do it again but overall the dive wasn’t much to write home about.