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This is the second page with rebreather blunders. The first one is here. updated 28 may 2010

‘bag ‘o’ joy’

author: Paul Channing
originally posted on the Inspiration news list - January 2005



Just before Xmas I quietly slipped into a favourite shore dive here in the crystalline waters of Plymouth Sound. I was sporting a new 'leak catcher' (a mirror) that enabled me to observe any bubbles that might emanate from the T-pieces. I had one of those temperamental leaks that put in an appearance as-and-when it felt like it and I’d been determined to catch it in the act for some time, but to no avail. It also seemed to disappear a 6m, which I thought curious. Anyway, we were easing down to 6m getting ready for the drop-off at which point I would stop with the group and do a bubble check. Going along checking things and rolling from side-to-side trying to keep track of my buddies (1-2m viz) I could hear gas coming out. Subtle at first, but then it grew louder. It seemed the more I noticed it the louder it got. I thought for a second that it might have been engine noise from a boat. It seemed to have quite a presence, really close. I couldn’t figure it out. I grabbed my mates fin to stop the group and rolled over proper to take a better look, when just at that moment I heard what I thought to be not just a leak, but total and catastrophic failure of the loop – I was startled (putting it mildly) it sounded huge. I bailed-out immediately (grateful for my CC/OC mouthpiece) and looked-up expecting to see the gas belching out… but no, only the escape of air from my neckseal (every time I look up – hence the mirror). I was relieved but perplexed. I listened for the ADV and checked my pressure gauges… fine. I rolled over to signal to my buddy for some help in detecting what had now become the mother of all cunning leaks, when it happened again… aaaarggh… what the f##’s going on..?? A boat..?? It couldn’t be that close, although it seemed so due to the vibration. I thought it might be one of the big Ferries or Frigates or worse that frequent the Port and swing past this site. I looked up – fine (or as best as one can tell in 1-2m viz). I rolled over looking around and there it was again, but more subtle..?? Then it occurred to me..!! I’d placed a 1kilo lead shot bag on top of the scrubber. I’ve done this all along but this time it hadn’t settled properly, the shot was free (ish) and was trickling and falling across itself within the bag - which increased with rotation and transmitted down the hoses and through my teeth – which I should know transmits anything with more vigour – ( I’m sure my Dentist uses a Black and Decker ). I laughed, which didn’t stop, as in 2 minutes we were at 40m deeper and it was hilarious, so much so I regaled my other OC buddy with the story who responded with the usual limited syllables and gestures (oh the joy of having an air space) and I was still giggling until the narcosis wore off. Still, I think that following the ‘mothering’ I got at xmas I reckon I can get rid of a couple of kilos ;-p

It was truly a funny dive, of a type that I haven’t had for a long-time and that re-captured something of the essence that made me love diving so much when I started.


Dive Safe (and hopefully Silly)





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