sábado, 17 de mayo de 2014

Bucear Sólo

Muy buenas,
Este es un tema polémico ya que creía que NADIE lo aconsejaba pero, hace poco, he descubierto que hay alguna excepción.

El buceo, por definición, se practica con un compañero por motivos de seguridad ya que, en caso de problemas, dependeríamos del mismo para suministrarnos aire o realizarnos un rescate.

En mi caso, han sido varias las circunstancias que, en determinado momento, me han empujado al buceo en solitario:
-Compañeros Inexperimentados y/o Inconscientes: Llegado un punto en el que adquirimos cierta soltura, dejamos de pensar conscientemente en lo que hacemos y estamos más pendientes de los que nos rodean que de nosotros mismos. Y el problema es que nos damos cuenta de que, buceando con compañeros asignados a dedo en cada inmersión (situación típica en un centro de buceo), no dejamos de ser como un grupo de niños que sale de excursión agarrados a una cuerda de la que tira la profe (el divemaster) mientras, en mitad del caos, nos vamos molestando los unos a los otros. Algunos somos conscientes y tratamos de minimizarlo pero la mayoría no parece darse cuenta o darle importancia.
-Rutina en los Puntos de Inmersión: Si, añadido a lo anterior, sumamos el hecho de que muchos centros de buceo, por distintas razones, nos acaban llevando siempre a los mismos puntos de inmersión, acabaremos con la sensación de que no nos compensa volver ya que siempre acabaremos buceando en el mismo sitio y entre gente sin mayores aspiraciones.
-Búsqueda de Alternativas: Llegados a este punto, buscamos otras posibilidades para tratar de añadir más alicientes al buceo. Y empezamos a hablar y preguntar en diferentes centros y clubs:
-Posibilidad de Buceo de Forma Autónoma: Mi hermano se planteaba la posibilidad de comprar un barco y, una vez tocado el amarre, no quedó más que lanzarse a la piscina. Tuvimos, además, la suerte de encontrar una buena oferta por un buen barco:
Tal y como habíamos quedado, yo me compraría el equipo completo de buceo si él se animaba con el barco.
El problema es que, hasta hace no mucho, hemos andado con un sólo equipo de buceo hasta que nos han dejado un segundo (mila esker, Gorka!).

Info sobre el buceo en solitario:

DATELINE: 6th June 2001

A senior PADI official in the USA has acknowledged for the first time that solo diving can be carried out in safety by suitably experienced divers. The comments were made by Drew Richardson, Senior Vice-President, Training, Education, Environment and Memberships, PADI Worldwide.
Drew Richardson was responding to a US diving magazine article which had claimed that buddy diving could be dangerous and that sport divers should give themselves the independence of a solo diving set-up.
The thrust of Richardson's riposte was that PADI's buddy system was an effective and safe approach for the average recreational diver, and that the demands of solo diving were a step too far in skills required. To advocate it as an alternative to buddy diving was, he said, "irresponsible and reckless".
For the suitably qualified and experienced diver, however, the principles of solo diving could be accepted. He said PADI viewed it as a form of technical diving.
"To responsibly engage in solo scuba-diving, a diver must first be highly experienced, have 100 or so buddy-accompanied scuba dives, be absolutely self-reliant and apply the specialised procedures and equipment needed to engage in the activity.
"This includes, but is not limited to, redundant air resources, specialised equipment configurations, specific dive planning, and management of solo-diving problems and emergencies. When solo diving is performed within this description, we see a place for it."
Defending the buddy system, Richardson said: "No amount of redundant equipment can effectively back up a diver's brain better than another individual. The buddy system has provided tangible contributions to millions of dives. Buddies provide an extra set of eyes and hands for each other. Providing assistance in putting on equipment, adjusting straps, assisting with weights and tanks, entering the water, helping to load and unload gear are but a few of the practical arguments that support the buddy system."
Under water, an accompanied diver could "reasonably expect to escape from entanglement, entrapment, out-of-air situations, disorientation, a head injury, chest pains, cramping and dozens more".
"Like all safety-based systems, the buddy system is not perfect," he added. "However, the simple fact is that without a buddy in the water, the distressed diver has little or no chance of assistance."
While employing buddy principles, the safety record of scuba diving had improved "dramatically" over the past few decades, added Richardson, while the number of certified divers had increased.
PADI Self-Reliant Diver

The kit
An independent air source is compulsory, although there is no standard set-up. A 3-litre pony cylinder mounted on the main cylinder is the simplest solution, but you could opt for a side-mounted stage cylinder, or even a complete side-mount system – or perhaps a twin-set configured independently, all complete with first stage, regulator and submersible pressure gauge. It’s down to the individual’s needs and preferences.
A spare mask; spare bottom-timer and depth gauge (dive computer); dive knife (where permitted locally); DSMB and reel, with enough line for the maximum planned depth; and a surface-audible signalling device are all mandatory items of equipment.

The practise of solo diving (i.e. diving without a buddy) has been hotly debated for the last ten years. On one side, some see the very notion of getting in the water  alone as an expressed death wish, while others argue that any buddy is not better than no buddy, and that for some underwater activities solo diving makes perfect sense.

PADI's view on solo diving remains the same as when President Drew Richardson formulated it initially. It is viewed as a form of technical diving, that CAN be done in a safe way by experienced divers, who has the requisite training and is equipped with redundancy in mind. Until recently it was only the SCUBA agency TDISDI, that offered a an actual distinct "solo diving" course. Other people wanting to dive alone, did their training through unsanctioned courses taught privately by technical instructors, various technical training from different agencies, and lastly - to be completely honest - many people just went ahead and did it on their own.  Now PADI,  seeing a need for this kind of training has come up with their own course called "Self-Reliant Diver".

The entry requirements for the Self-Reliant Diver course are necessarily rather steep; You need at least a hundred logged dives  plus be an Advanced Open Water diver. Furthermore your instructor needs to assess your readiness before the course starts. I feel, that although solo diving isn't for everyone, the self-reliant philosophy should hold an appeal to all responsible divers. After all it may be nice to have your buddy to help you, but there is something reassuring about knowing you are able to handle all likely emergencies on your own.
She’s tired of being paired with divers of unequal skills or experience, and doesn’t like having her dives shortened because her assigned buddy is running low on air.
Thousands of serious divers— photographers, for example— who prefer to dive unencumbered by a buddy will find Living stone’s ideas ludicrous. We first wrote positively about solo diving in 1978 and for twenty years talked about it as diving’s “best-kept secret”.
Going solo – the SDI Solo Diving course
I have recently acquired a new buddy. He is always keen to dive, will look after me if required and he enhances my safety, enjoyment and pleasure, like all good buddies should. Since the onset of diver training and recreational SCUBA certifications, the buddy system has been a key and mandatory concept. As a PADI instructor, I instill this very buddy system and all it stands for into my students from the very moment they step inside the classroom. So why am I telling you about my new buddy? Well the catch is that I have gone against the grain of traditional recreational diving as my new buddy comes in the form of a pony bottle and I have completed my SDI Solo Diving certification.


The buddy system

As a dive professional, I am generally one of the most experienced divers in the water at any given time. If anything were to go wrong, I would like to think that I would be at least able to do something to help the situation. Despite preaching about the buddy system, however, as an instructor, I rarely have a buddy. Instead, I’ll be up front, leading my team, swimming backwards to ensure all students are ok, giving assistance as required. If anything were to happen to me, I am not convinced that a student would have the skills, experience or expertise to assist me. I am on my own. I have come to the conclusion that the buddy system works, however, this assumes that both divers in the buddy team are well matched in terms of experience.

For me, finding a buddy that is equally matched in terms of experience is getting increasingly difficult. The result being that I often get buddied up with a newbie diver. My newbie diver buddies, I am sure, have a ball. I navigate, look after them and effectively become an unpaid instructor on my day off! In exchange however, I get to end my dive on 120 bar.


The solo diving experience

So what is it like going solo? Great! For starters, you tend to see more and be able to get closer to the wildlife – just one set of noisy bubbles and not two or more to scare the critters away. You can go where you want and at your own pace. Great for photography as you can spend as long as you want getting your shot provided you are within your No Decompression Limit (NDL). After a couple of dives, I felt completely confident and self sufficient. The first solo night dive was certainly a test of nerves, but I quickly settled in and had a chat with the little voice in my head!

For sure, I still like diving with a buddy, it is great to share experiences with like minded people, but solo has added a new dynamic to my diving and I know there is no going back. It is certainly not for everyone though and, aside from the minimum course prerequisites, I stress that you need to be 100% comfortable in the water and confident that you will be able to respond appropriately and be self sufficient in the event of stress or diver emergency. If you are thinking about going solo, then, chances are, you are well on the way to being mentally prepared and self sufficient in any case. If that sounds like you, go for it, get the buzz, get the solo DiveBuzz!

Resumiendo, yo no se lo recomendaría a nadie (siendo políticamente correcto)  pero he de admitir que muchas de mis mejores inmersiones han sido en solitario. El no tener que estar pendiente más que de uno mismo para poder dedicarse a disfrutar de la experiencia de sentirse uno con el entorno no tiene precio!

P.D: Son cosas que algunos hacemos pero pocos entienden:

Actualización a 24/06/2014: Ok,  parece que se empieza a hablar del tema a raíz del curso de PADI:

Actualización a 09/11/2015: Ayer mismo volví a aprovechar para bucear sólo con la botella de 15 ls en una nocturna en Monpás (http://viviendoapesardelacrisis.blogspot.com.es/2014/05/de-sagues-hacia-la-punta-de-monpas.html):

Actualización a 23/05/2016: Y lo mismo el pasado sábado con la primera del año:

Actualización a 24/08/2016: Lo mismo ayer con la primera inmersión después de volver de vacaciones:
Había ganas! Aproveché (a pesar de la mar movida por el viento) para curiosear un poco entre la costa y Pikatxilla (ya que el barco quedaba protegido del viento con la punta de Monpás: http://viviendoapesardelacrisis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/de-sagues-hacia-la-punta-de-monpas.html):

Mi segunda vez por ahí:

Ascenso, parada de profunda a 11 ms y parada de seguridad en el azul desde 20 ms.
Super relajado, controlado y apenas sin tocar tráquea ni deshinchar jacket.

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