Diving at Ponta do Ouro

Oral inflation

As I have mentioned before, problems arise when we don’t follow our training. I was working at a busy resort as skipper, Divemaster and Instructor. On a busy day I would kit up at 6.00am, launch the boat, dive, hit the beach to collect the next group, quickly change cylinders and head straight back out again to dive, sometimes doing four or five dives a day. We would only be done by early evening so there was no time for kit maintenance.

I had a problem with my inflator during the last dive of the day and quickly replaced it with a spare from my dusty tool kit late in the evening. Being too tired to fetch a cylinder I did not test it (mistake number one). The following morning I was distracted whilst kitting up and did not test it (mistake number two). The first dive of the day was to 40 metres. Being skipper and Divemaster meant I did not have too much time on the boat for a buddy check (mistake number three).

Half way down to the reef I intended slowing my descent and found my inflator was not working. Ah, no problem, I teach people how to orally inflate their BCD every time I have a student so I was not concerned. What I had forgotten was the pressure exerted at 40 metres on the bladder of your BCD is way more than you can imagine and oral inflation at that depth is a lot more difficult than it is at 18 metres. Instead of a few small breaths to reduce my descent it took a good eight or ten and by this time I was ready to bounce off the bottom.

Diving at Ponta do Ouro
Diving at Ponta do Ouro

The moral of my story: remember to always do a buddy check even if you have to do it on yourself. Don’t skip this step! And don’t change anything on your kit without testing it prior to dropping off a boat.

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Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals

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