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20 May 2013
23 May 2012
Dennis and I decided we needed a little time off so we packed up the coach (an exaggeration for sure) and off we went. We lost a day due to some car problems and arrived in PC Tuesday evening. So the next morning we were off to St. Andrews State Park to catch the end of high tide. The first dive was for 90 minutes and we saw our first ever seahorse. Of course I didn’t have my camera. We dove on the outside of the jetties and exited bayside. The walk back to the car was an experience as usual with 30kg (70lbs) of rebreather on our backs and about a half-mile hike.
We were lucky this time as low tide was at 1700 so we rode the last of the tidal current and got essentially a free ride back. Our 15 min deco was accelerated to 4 minutes by switching to O2. Dive duration again was 90 minutes.
Unfortunately I had to deliver some machines to a customer in Cairo GA so off we went. We dropped off the machines and proceeded to Orlando for the RF3 conference which started at 0800 Friday 18 May 2012.
The last rebreather conference (RF2) was held in 1996. We felt this was a must attend event. It was indeed a very informative three days. Some of the speakers in attendance were Simon Mitchell, Dan Orr and Dr. Denoble of DAN, Jeff Bozniac, Lamar Hires, Jill Heinerth, Martin Parker to name a few. A side benefit in attending was for all to put a face to people we have been communicating with for years. The list of speakers can be viewed at rf3 speakers
A lot of discussion centered on fatality statistics of rebreather
divers. One of the key and surprising finds was that of the 280
or so deaths over the last twenty years, not one had a checklist in
their procession (dive boat,
car, etc.). As in OC (Open Circuit) approximately 30% fatalities
were medical related and in 60+% of those it seemed the divers were aware
that there was a problem. Another 30% involved human error and
another 30% or so was listed as problems with equipment, (not to be
confused with equipment problems, e.g. failures). The problems
ran the gambit from insufficient gas to buoyancy problems. Only
1% was attributed to actual equipment malfunctions! We have drawn up a checklist particular to our CCR units.
There also appears to be no advantage of one type of rebreather or manufacturer over another. i.e. ECCR, MCCR, SCR or Megledon or Inspiration. I. e. the fatalities were in proportion to the type and makes of rebreathers in use.
There was a lot of emphasis placed on the HMI, (Human Machine Interface) of the units as they become more complex.
There was a lot of discussion on training protocols. For the first time, TDI, ANDI and IANTD shared their training records with DAN. There appears to be between 14K and 15K rebreather divers doing on average about 30-35 dives per year. I was able to input on a new approach to rebreather training protocols i.e. a two tiered approach to CCR certification with a prerequisite physics, physiology and overall rebreather design criteria followed by individual unit certification. There appears to be a lack of appreciation by rebreather divers in general as to the demands to attention and discipline a rebreather diver must accept, especially in the technical realm. I had hoped that such an approach would be adopted as a forum recommendation, but it wasn’t. I was able to get some of the wording changed as regards an emphasis being placed in the training and operation for the use of checklists though.
There is definitely still a tendency towards tech diving amongst the manufacturers with one very notable exception. The Poseidon Mark VI has been designed as a recreational unit They also have the same unit expanded for technical rebreather divers. The Mark VI is a fully automated system that gives a one handed switch to bail out which is decided by the unique HMI of the system. They give only one option for any problem with the rebreather and that is switch to OC and end the dive. They also have developed new and innovative approaches to rebreather control that I feel will become the industry standard in years to come. The only drawback is its stiff cost which still places it outside the reach except for very few. In time with increased production numbers the cost will hopefully come way down.
Discussions on O2 sensors, O2 control protocols, scrubber designs, system cleaning and disinfection as well as rebreather diver physiology and the limits and applicability to rebreather dive operations were covered.
Jeff Bozniac ran a series of culture tests
following dives and they were very informative to say the
least. It seems the water rinse and drying is the least
effective and the best solution, though expensive was
Listerine™. The next effective was Styrene. He did
not culture common bleach solution. They would clean/disinfect
the loop then take cultures and incubate them for 48 hours.
Though they didn't identify the exact pathogens, the cultures were
fully developed from the water rinse and dry.
Poseidon Mark VI
Dale with Roz Lunn - Forum Organizer
Dennis on the way to another group
Patti Clarkson - Analox Sensor Technologies
1 October 2011
There hasn't been a lot of activity this summer, but we did make a trip to Florida. We went to Jacksonville for the holidays but the local dive shops proved very inhospitable to rebreather divers so we went cave diving instead. We were plague by less than ideal vis on most of our diving although we did get some decent dives in. We started at Jackson Blue in Mariana, then to Panama City, Jacksonville and dove Madison Blue, Little River and Ginnie Springs.
As always there were a few technical problems; Dennis' scooter flooded at p 500 M ((1600 ft) in Jackson Blue. Then we went to PC and attempted a Jetties dive where Dennis' PO2 gauge flooded and we spent the evening repairing it. Now that was a site, Dennis in the hotel parking lot bent over a small aluminum folding table with soldering iron in hand. The following morning I had a problem with my gauge on the boat and then at Madison I had to exit to get a second reel. Little River had a couple small problems but it was a great dive.
From my point of view, I think the highlight was when we showed up in Panama City and the boat captain was no other than Pete, the former owner of The Dive Locker. Upon seeing us with our breathers he groaned and pointed to Jerry's boat. Of course Jerry didn't want us either. Off we went. The boat wasn't exactly rebreather friendly and the gear had to be placed on the deck, but so what. The first dive was alright but there were so many bait fish you could hardly see anything. Still a good dive, though the choice of wrecks would not have been mine. (Red Sea)
Upon anchoring up to the second sit Bridge Span 12, we geared up and horrors, one of my PO2 monitors was flat dead. Dennis went ahead and jumped in. I went below, pulled out my tool kit, disassembled the monitor and soldered a broken lead and was geared back up in less than ten minutes.
Pete just shook his head when I remarked that if it was a store bought unit I would not have been able to make an on site repair and he just remarked that if I had showed up with a store bought he would have been disappointed and he expected nothing else. Go figure. It is great to dive with friends.
I then jumped in and met up with Dennis on the bottom. It was a really nice dive but when I looked at my computer 35 mins into the dive and it showed 45 mins deco I almost had a cow. At 15 fsw I switched to onboard oxygen and the 45 mins of deco disappeared and dropped to 6 minutes. It seems the Nitec HE really doesn't know how to handle repetitive helium dives.
The lionfish have arrived in the panhandle. Dennis saw a small one. This was not the first sighting in the area. Bad news as they have no natural enemies in the Atlantic and in the Bahamas and the Fl Keys they are growing to sizes unheard of in the Pacific.
My most challenging dive had to the last at Gennie. It was hot and it was really crowded. We got overheated before we even made it to the water, the slough was filled with swimmers who stirred it so bad we had vis of a foot or so. Then I had a problem with the scooter and liked never to have gotten into the cave and then I got bounced around at the Lips. It seem that I inadvertenty had turned the prop pitch down, not up, and I just got caught in the current. Dennis thought it was funny.
Other news of impact to local divers.... Joe at Falling Rock has allowed swimmers into the quarry and they literally have taken over. There are hundreds of young people who show up for cheap fun and drinking. You find it most difficult to find parking on the week end and the visibility has dropped to near zero below 20 ft. You can't put a thousand swimmers into such a small quarry with all their sun tan oils etc and expect otherwise. Remember there is no inflow into the quarry except rain and we didn't have a lot of it this summer. The water level was down a foot or more on our last visit. It was so bad that we only did 15 mins and got out. The water on the gear really smell bad.
13 Dec 2010
Another years has come and gone. We have managed several trips to Florida this year for both cave diving and diving in Panama City. One of the highlights was a 2hr 40min dive off the jetties in St Andrews Park, Panama City Beach. We also got in a couple of ice dives at Falling Rock in LaGrange last winter and the way the weather is shaping up this year we will undoubtedly get some in this year. Our last dive at Falling Rock was 80 mins with a WT of 54 degrees just two weeks ago. The WT is falling fast as two weeks prior it was 64 degrees! We had over 30 feet of vis and in the hole you see all the way across it!
1 Aug 2008
Congratulations to Darren Wells. Darren finished up his Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Prcedures dives this past weekend at Alabama Blue Water in Pelham, Al. He did his last four dives at depths to 42.6 mfw (140 ffw). All dives were at least one hour in duration, (counting required Deco). On the trip were Darren, Kal Kotter, Dennis Price and myself.
One thing for certain, it was very hot and it did rain most of Saturday. The best part was getting to depth and the cooler waters.
As always we look forward to seeing you all in the near future, either at Falling Rock or Pennyroyal.
19 Nov 2007
Congratulations to David Cleary, actually he has earned the title of Dr. David Cleary. Yup he has finally earned his Phd in chemistry. It was a long, long affair.
For all you out there that call themsleves divers, where have you been? This year has seen some of the best vis in recent memory at Pennyroyal in Hopkinsville. Also we dove Falling Rock this past weekend and saw the best visibilty I have seen there in probably four or five years. We had 30 feet even in the 50ffw pit!!!
Dennis and I will be back there next wwekend for a golf ball pickup. Come on out and have some fun and see how many you can bring up. The WT is still decent at 8.4C (47 F), which is really not that bad.
21 May 2007
It has been a long time since I have added to this page. I have not been able to upload files to the server at Louisville Telecom our web host. We have changed our web host and I seem to be able to do everything I should.
Congratulations to Kal Kotter, yup he is still at it. Kal has finished his O2 service technician, VIP Isnpector, Nitrox and Advanced gas blender courses over the past few months. Good work Kal.
Don't be looking for the dive van, it finally died at 394,000 miles on the clock. Not bad at all. I would recommend a chevy astro anyday, well at least the older ones.
We have been diving at least once a month since last year, many months twice. Most of our diving has been at Penny Royal in Hopkinsville, KY. It is a bit far, but we have had good visibility and of course good depths (30 mfw, 100 ffw).
We were up at Joe's in LaGrange this past weekend and had all of 15foot vis. We spent an hour straightening out the north loop lines. We had one which someone had cut. It has been repaired. On our next trip there, scheduled for 2 June, we are planning on doing the south loop as well as adding line over to the 15 m (50 ft) hole.
6 June 2006
Congratulations to Kal Kotter for completing his Trimix diver course! We realize that this course is not for everyone, and Kal will be the first to admit that he had some doubts. It took two trips to ABWA in Pelham, AL and a trip to Pennyroyal in Hopkinsville, KY just to prepare for this trip. There was a lot of hard work on hKal's part, but in the end he did Airheads proud with his performance. Dennis, Kal, and I joined up with Steve Parker's team out of Birmingham at Lake Jocassee in South Carolina to finish the final phase of diving. This consisted of three dives, two of which were in the 200 ffw range. Just as can be counted on, there were problems. We had three separate primary light failures. One of them made us abort a dive and execute an abort deco procedure. The training does work. It was very serious diving which took a lot of personal and team planning. Again, good job to all involved.
13 Novenber 2005
Congratulations are in order for the following students;
Ray Walker - Who completed his Dolphin semi-closed rebreather course and
Kal Kotter - Who completed his Solo diver course this weekend at Pennyroyal Quarry, Hopkinsville.
The one thing these two have in common is a desire to attain training at great effort. Ray, who is local, traveled to Hopkinsville for the rebreather training 30 Oct, and Kal who is from Metropolis, Il. met up with us at Pennyroyal for his course this weekend 12-13 Nov. Again, congratulations. I know how hard it was a times.
BTW, for the rest of you lounge chair divers, The visibilty at Pennyroyal was at least 30 - 40 feet, though a little cool deep.
25 October 2005
Congratulations are in order for the following Open Water Divers. Let's look for them all out at the quarry. They are; James Howard, April Howard, Conrad Vincent, and Mary Beth Heitzman..
They all started at different times, but got to meet at the open water checkout dives.
On our trip to Hopkinsville (Pennyroyal) we were informed that Rock Divers, who ran Madison Aquatic Park in Madison, Alabama, has been closed by the city.
This is the second quarry we have lost access to in the last three years. Both Plum Run and Madison Aquatic Park were outstanding dive sites. We will miss the opportunity to dive them.
There was a meeting for Team Airheads at Mr. Gattis, 20 Oct 2005. David Haupt presented some of the best slides I have ever seen covering his dive trip to Indonesia. For all those who missed it, you missed a very special show. Most of us will never be able to see some of the beautiful species he presented. David is a very accomplished photographer.
GOOD JOB DAVID. We hope you will do another presentation sometime in the future on your exploits in the Caribbean.
Congratulations are also in order for Nitrox diver Ray Walker. I have seen Ray diving more frequently than anyone else here.
26 Dec 2004
|Well another year is about to pass. Let's
hope that 2005 will be a better diving year than 2004.
Unfortunately, everyone I have talked to had a miserable dive
year. It seems we were all working too much. 2004 was the
wettest year on record locally, which certainly didn't help. It
seemed every weekend I had to dive, it had poured on or just before the
Let's start the year out properly. Join us at Martha's quarry on New years day.
|Poseidon recommends that anyone with an Xtreme 2nd stage replace the 2974 valve housing nut with the new style nut 4547. According to them this will "significantly reduce the inhalation effort". Keeping the old style nut is perfectly safe. The price of the nut is $25. Labor to install it is $9. (This includes replacing the nut and re-adjusting the regulator.) If the upgrade is accomplished during the annual service there is no additional labor over the normal charges.|
Congratulations to Paul and Brooke Dailey and Ray Roberson on completing their Open water certifications. Brooke and Paul were lucky because we went to Madison Aquatic Park. The water was 78 degrees on the bottom! Lots of fish and of course lots of NASA debree. Great trip.
Keep in mind, that as of 31 October 2004, Airheads Scuba will no longer be accepting credit cards. This was a necessary move due to the extreme cost of this service.
5 August 2004
There has been an unfortunate accident in Florida involving an older aluminum cylinder filled with Oxygen. The cylinder in question exploded when dropped, killing the fill operator and injuring three others. I wish to point out that older aluminum cylinders should never be filled with oxygen due to there suseptability to stress load cracking. They should also be meticulously inspected yearly if used at all, paying particular attention to the neck and crown area for cracks.
If you still dive with these cylinders, you can look forward to more cautious behavior of dive shops, particularly in Florida. Many shops in Florida will not fill any pre 1990 cylinder at all.
16 July 2004
Due to our heavy work commitments, we are available by appointment only. I can most often be found next door at Engineered Inspection Services, where I run a hydro station. I do urge you to call ahead and make sure I am not on a delivery run.
6 October 2003
Incident report Installment two and three As promised here are the next two articles.
12 Sept 2003
|Again, it has been too long since
our last update. Needless to say we have been diving and just
too busy to gossip on the web. (My real job has been taking up a
lot of my time as well.) For those who missed it, we went to Blue
Springs in August for Scuba Shack's scavenger hunt. Alphonso
Philips took home a small prize. We had a good time, and Dennis
and I got to show off our rebreathers.
Over the holiday weekend, a few of us went to Panama City. We only had time to dive the jetties. The vis wasn't very good, but we did see some neat creatures. i.e. 5 ft nurse shark (first time ever on the jetties), the 5 ft jew fish (he has definitely been eating well), spiny lobsters, flounder, horseshoe crabs, huge grouper, just to name a few.
Over the next couple of postings, we will be covering a dive incident that came to our attention Each of the divers has agreed to give an account of what went wrong from his point of view. The first installment is by the lead diver. At the end of the reports there will be an analysis of what the dive team decided they had done wrong. Installment 0ne
Death at Gilboa
There was an fatality at Gilboa in Ohio recently. A diver on a "get a acquainted dry suit dive" made a bullet shot to the surface from 70 + foot and was dead on the surface. I do not have any more details at this time.
7 July 2003
Falling Rock Update
Sorry for the long absence, but we have been busy. Some good news for a change, the grass beds at Falling Rock are making a decent comeback after two very bad years. The manner of their return seems to add weight to my theory of what destroyed them in the first place. (See grass beds ) This year has been very cold up until very recently. This has kept the normal flow of diver traffic down. Joe is even complaining about the reduced traffic. Due to the cold spring and good flow of water, the bottom temperature has remained very cool. In fact the temperature last weekend (6 July) was only 12.5 C (53 F) this is about 10 degrees F colder than normal. Very few divers have the temperment and thermal protection to brave this very cold layer. The visiblity is also very good, running about 9 m (30 ft) or more throughout the quarry. There is a lot of light getting down to the bottom.
I hate to see Joe see the drop in business, but it seems to be helping the general health of the quarry.
Since we last posted to the site, there has been a lot goiung on. We had a very sucessful Dive Rite demo day at Alabama Blue Water Adventures in Pelham, Al.
Congratulations are in order for Karen Backherms in completing her Decompression Procedures class and Philip Janes in completing his Advanced Nitrox class.
We have also had Mark Munroe and Ray Walker finish their Open Water ceritfications.
Fred Sims has not only completed his Level Two diver course, but also his Level Three diver recognition.
Again, CONGRATRULATIONS to everyone on their achievements!!
Dennis and Dale attended this years CDS convention in Gainsville, Fl. over Memorial Day weekend. They report that the festive proceedings were dampened by the unfortunate death of a trained cave diver in Cow Springs at the beginning of the meetings.
8 May 2003
It has been a while since we have updated this page. We have been busy none the less. We have been to ABWA in Pelham, AL twice in the last month. The first time was for a level two class (Advanced Diver) and the second trip for for Tech day. Tech day is when the technical divers get in for free!!! Both trips went well and all had a lot of fun.
We also had a rebreather experience at Cresent Hill. The only problem was I had trouble getting people out of the water.
Due to our heavy diving schedules, please note the changes on the calendar page. Please note also that Airheads Scuba will be closed from Monday 19 May through Friday 23 May 2003. We will all be at the NSS-CDS convention in Gainsville, Fl.
12 March 2003
Well its been about a month since an update, so let's see what has been up. First we made the visit to the Newport Aquarium. Anyone who missed it really missed an opportunity to give their children a birds eye view of why we dive.
Congratulations to Alphonso Philips and Jeffrey Bishop for completing their Nitrox certifications.
|The past two weekends
we visited Pennyroyal in Hopkinsville. The visibility was really
great. The water level continues to rise. We got 33 MFW
(108 ft) with a WT of 5.4 C (41 F). All in all a great
time. We had some interesting experiences with gear.
Several people found that cold water diving requires more attention and
preparation. But after some froze regs, everything sorted itself
Trip to ABWA - Pelham, Al
If you are planning to accompany us to ABWA from Friday 21 March through Sunday 23 March, We will be conducting a Level 3 diver course and Adv. Nitrox / Deco course.
Alabama Blue Water is a great quarry with lots to see. It is our favorite by far. It is over 25 acres under water! It can be dove in a wet suit and the air temp is generally much warmer than Louisville.
For details contact Dale or Dennis.
8 February 2003
Congratulations to Alphonso Philips, Kaye Bletso and Alecia Hatchell for completing their CPR and First Aid classes.
Well we had more ice than expected. We rigged up a plastic door on the pavillion in addidition to the plastic walls already installed for winter. Fred brought a heater (No, not beer but a real honest to goodness flame throwing heater)! It was actually quite nice inside. Dennis had the job of breaking through the ice and to his horror it was 4 - 5 inches thick! The rest of us conveniently were working under cover trying to get ready. We finally broke thru enough to make a walk in entry and Dale set a line to find our way out. We all followed 1/3 rules plus redundant air supplies in case of a regulator freeze up. It turned out to be a great dive. In fact, Dan made the remark it was the best dive he had every made! Who would think that diving under the ice at Falling Rock could warrant such an accolade? He must have had something loose. We are beginning to wonder about that poor lad. When we arrived at his house to pick him up, we thought Holly had pitched him out as on the sidewalk was a tank and BC already rigged and several bags all in a pile.
Well, we encountered better than 30 foot of vis and in places better than 40 foot of visibility. Anyway here are some pics. The quality isn't good because we didn't compensate for the whit snow background. You all can get a feel for it below. Pictures of the dive
19 January 2003
Dale preparing the entry
Dennis taking out gear
|Where is everyone when the
visibility is so good? Sure, it is a little cool, maybe even
cold, but it is great diving. Dennis and Dale had the quarry to
themselves today. It seems everyone else whimped out. Not
to de dissuaded, they went anyway and were treated to the first ice
dive of the season. If the weather holds out we may have the
entire quarry under ice by next weekend! We had about half the
quarry under cover today.
This January has been good for diving. Team Airheads started out with the New Years dive at Martha's quarry, and Airheads Scuba followed up with two trips to Falling Rock.
How long a dive can you do in January? Well, if you have the right gear, 40 to 60 minute dives are the norm without risking hypothermia. If you are interested in going next weekend, we do have some dry suits available for rental. A dry suit is a requirement for diving in 3° C (36° F) water. (Dry gloves are real nice also.
26 December 2002
Health of the quarry report
We at Airheads hope you all had a good and merry Christmas this year. We just returned from the quarry instead of fighting the malls. We had a good dive though it was a little cold above the water. As we are all using dry suits, the diving is very tolerable, especially with the new dry gloves we carry. We are doing 60 to 90 minute dives in 43 degree water! We went today to finish some pictures we needed for an article on what has happened to all the grass beds at Falling Rock. Last Sunday, I attempted to take the pictures but forgot that the flash needed batteries to operate.
Newport Aquarium Visit
We also would like anyone interested in visiting the Newport Aquarium with Team Airheads to call the shop at 502-957-1226. Everyone is invited. (This is a very special experience for the children). It is scheduled for Saturday, 15 February 2003. We would like to help arrange a car pool to help everyone. The entrance fee is $16.00 for adults and $10.00 for the little ones 3 - 12 yrs.
19 December 2002
Airhead's annual Christmas Award Dinner went off with a bang again this year. We had turkey and ham as the main entrees. Kaye made her special homemade eggnog. We ate until the seams on our dry suits were stretched.
This year Philip again walked off with the Most Active Diver award with a mere 50 dives! We had a lot of wet weather early this year. Fred Sims won the Education Award having taken 4 different classes. They both received gift certificates for their achievements. We had so many candidates for the Wanna Be Diver award, we felt we would have to put their names in a drawing. We all had a lot of fun trying to decide who should get the Booney Award. We never did decide who really did the craziest thing this year. The runner ups were Karen Backherms for some tricks she did at Pennyroyal, Dale Huff for his narc act at Blue Water, and Dennis Price for his bat impersonation at Jackson Blue. Not one of them would step up to accept the award. Oh well. Maybe we won't have so many candidates next year.
Karen Backherms ran across an interesting tidbit in the Courier Journal 18 Dec 2002. The Indianapolis Fire Department Dive Team is now requiring their members to carry pony bottles for safety reasons. It seems that they have had some deaths in their training program. According to ERDI (Emergency Response Divers Inc.), the use of a redundant air supply should be mandatory for PSD's (Public Safety Divers). The biggest problem most local dive teams face is the use of volunteer divers who for the most part are only open water advanced divers. In most instances they are not even trained in simple search and recovery or rescue techniques; yet they are expected to do some very complex dives in black water. More often than not, they are under funded and ill-equipped to do the task they have undertaken. This environment is most often complicated by depth, current, and cold. There are about 30 deaths annually in the public safety diver arena. Here at Airheads, we have always encouraged our divers to dive with redundant systems whenever depth, cold, or bad vis can be expected. For more information I have included a link to the original article from the Indianapolis Star . .
|Who said you can't have fun in the winter. Well it isn't a body, it isn't a gator, it isn't Nessie, it is a diver flat on his back with a set of doubles. Notice the bystanders. It seems the diver couldn't get his fins off and wandered into real shallow water and tried to sit and remove them. Well it is not the recommended way. Of course the diver was laughing so hard it is a wonder he ever got his fins off. To add insult to injury, we used the victim's camera to take the picture. We all had a good laugh. Remember it is always better to talk about someone else than have someone talk about you. I think we will keep this bit of evidence for next years awards dinner.|
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