You have been diving for awhile now. You enjoy it and every once in awhile you see those people with double tanks on their back. Or you see someone with the tanks under their arms in the new sidemount trends. It gets you thinking about maybe seeing what that type of diving is like.
The thought passes and a couple of weeks later you are on a dive charter out in Lake Michigan. The dive is great, visibility is perfect and now you hear the beeping of your computer letting you know that it is time to start your ascent. You check your pressure gauge and see that you are well over a thousand PSI left in the tank. You are tempted to stay down a couple of minutes longer but reluctantly you do the right thing and start moving towards the ascent line while moving up off the wreck a little higher.
This simple act of doing the correct thing underwater is a sign that you are ready to take the new challenge of being a technical diver. Some would have just stayed till their pressure gauge read a certain pressure than went up and elongated their safety stop. In technical diving, when it is time to go, it is time to go. You leave the bottom because you have made the plan above and you know what it requires to get back to the boat safely.
One of the glaring issues with just staying till you get to a certain pressure is that you are removing any chance for the unexpected. You know that your gear is working correctly, it has till this point in time. You know how well you are breathing and the rate which you are breathing at. So it is not a harm to yourself to stay a couple of minutes longer. As in any deep dive, Mr. Murphy will come and remind you that you should not have done that. One of the other divers there with you might tap you on the shoulder with a wide eyed expression signalling that they are out of air. Why shouldn’t they be there, you are. Now how is the breathing rate off your tank with an excited diver on the alternate?
You can’t stop everything. You can have a contingency plan in place for more things than you realize. That is also another aspect of technical diving. You plan your dive for your fun and safety, but you also have your buddy in mind. We don’t like Mr. Murphy anymore than the next guy. So technical divers try to plan him out of the dive. Besides, the boat ride back is better when you are all talking about the dive and not worried about a fellow dive buddy.
If you are willing to think about, plan accordingly and make the decisions to do the correct things underwater and before you get in the water. Then you are more than ready to take up the challenge of technical scuba diving. You will always be a recreational diver, that doesn’t go away. You just have more knowledge and ability to lend to your recreational scuba diving.
You will probably say, I don’t want to dive those heavy doubles on my back and buy all that extra gear. Those are great points and another topic that we will cover in the next segment. So come back and see my thoughts on equipment and technical scuba diving.