FKA Kiteboarding Forums  

Go Back   FKA Kiteboarding Forums > MAIN FORUM > Something Rich And Strange ... Diving Tales From The Water Underworld
Connect with Facebook

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-13-2007, 11:34 AM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
Administrator
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,324
Arrow VIDEO - Deeper Scooter Free Diving The Cayman Wall

NOTE: Deeper scooter free diving can be deceptively easy with some hazards that may not be readily apparent (sounds like kiteboarding?). It may not be that hard to exceed your abilities both physically and physiologically with minimal warning. We're still learning about this activity, what works, what to avoid and safety precautions. For instance, there are NO formally proven decompression tables or procedures in place as of yet. How many 100 ft. (or even shallower) scooter free dives even with reasonable surface intervals is it safe to do in a day? I'm not sure we know. As such deeper scooter free diving isn't recommended particularly not without extensive preparation, planning and safety provisions.





The Caymans are a small group of islands, south of Cuba and west of Jamaica. Grand Cayman is a carbonate platform built up from the depths with a dramatic drop off or wall ringing the island. The top of the drop off comes as close as 60 ft. from the surface and arcs over vertically to around 1000 ft. deep. It is a undersea cliff, covered with abundant coral and other bottom forms in the illuminated zones and more primitive life at depth. In good visibility the spectacle of the wall can be stunning with deep cobalt blue broken by shafts of undulating light descending beyond sight into the abyss.



The Cayman Wall



The rampart of the drop off at around 80 ft.



The Cayman Wall, carbonate rock and silt at around 800 ft. A crinoid hangs out on a soft coral in the land of perpetual dark. That is aside from the odd submersible. By the way, you're not likely to see this shot and the next one free diving. Well, you might have a shot at it around 700 ft.. Sled ride anyone?!



Walking upright Crinoids, posing for a group photo no less. Bizarre life at depth.


Free diving or Apnea has been around for millenia but is undergoing a rebirth of sorts these days. Properly approached, free diving can deliver great sensations both mentally and physically. As a rule, free divers are limited to fairly short distances of travel over the bottom at depth. Electric dive scooters can change that in a big way. So, take substantially increased mobility, longer bottom time due to less exertion and superimpose this over something like the Cayman Wall. The results can be incredible, a taste of which shows up in the following video.



Lots of good diving spots off Grand Cayman including some wrecks.


Like anything else, when you get something you give something up. With added mobility and reduced exertion you give up some safety IF your scooter fails (a reasonable occurrence) or if you stay down too long and/or too deep. You can simply run into something at speed and knock yourself out or unseat yourself sending your ride spiraling off into the deep. There is increased risk of Decompression Sickness as well. Lots of things to know, plan for and avoid. Carrying an adequate pony bottle of air is an good perhaps essential precaution for deeper scooter free diving. Discussion of some safety considerations for scooter free diving, likely not all at:
http://fksa.org/showthread.php?t=4490
http://forums.deeperblue.net/safety/...oo-soon-3.html


Anyway, enough about precautions for now, let's check out the flick. It is about four minutes, longer than the typical 1.5 to 2 minute durations of the individual breath hold dives. There were a few dozen scooter free dives to variable depths between 60 and 125 ft. along the wall over two days. I shot most of the footage myself during the free dives. Josh and Brandee each shot a free dive each allowing some outside perspective of the scooter dives. Image sequences were taken from various dives and packaged into this one roundtrip submerged "tour." I arranged for safety divers through DiveTech along with the rental of the Apollo AV-2 Evolution scooter with the expensive battery pack. Next time, I will take the advice of Brandee, the free diving instructor and schedule an advanced free diving class instead. You still pay for the scooter (unless you bring your own of course) but you have an instructor with you at the surface to watch for Shallow Water Blackout and you have a safety diver, possibly on rebreather lingering around at the bottom of the descent line, say bellow 80 ft.. All this for $300. USD for three days plus the scooter. Maybe I could talk the rebreather guy into shooting some video, hmmm. Josh was my safety diver for the first day and is one of the rebreather instructors as a rule. He was telling me about recreational divers making descents between 300 and 400 ft. these days using rebreathers fairly routinely. On to the video ...




Video of scooter free diving the Cayman Wall. Click image to start video.



Apologies for the limited image resolution of the video clip. I was using a very small Olympus 770 sw in their housing. It is an amazingly small and versitile camera but there wasn't a lot of light along the wall at points. Also, this is my first foray into video editing and with a pretty basic program. Lots of stuff to learn, hopefully with a more powerful editing suite soon.


The Apollo AV-2 Evolution dive scooter aside from a good burn time has this nifty seat or saddle. This allows hands free operation with fairly minute control through minor fin movements. This means no more arm fatigue, bridles, equalizing problems but introduces more freedom and control. Your projected area goes down as well which should improve propulsion efficiency. You can even shoot video if you want during your dives. I found fin steering control to give me far more hands free speed and mobility while shooting than I've ever had before with fins or other DPV's. You can almost "turn on a dime" and throw in a barrel roll while you're at it. Just be certain to look where you are going during radical turns to avoid slamming into something. On that subject, it also means a higher risk of hitting into things head first or perhaps even losing the scooter as it jets off without you. A helmet and fair amount of care while operating are good ideas. Rigging up some sort of a reliable but detachable deadmans leash makes sense too.





[img][/img]
From: http://www.apollosportsusa.com



Cobalt Coast Resort
is a nice staging area for the wall just to the north or the rest of the island by car. It is beyond Seven Mile Beach in a less populated part of the island. They do an excellent job running the place as a low key, efficient and comfortable operation.






So long from the Caymans for now ...



.
__________________
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 04-18-2008 at 03:11 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-17-2007, 10:02 AM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
Administrator
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,324
Default

There were some questions about the saddle configuration on the Apollo Scooter. I grabbed some images that show that aspect a bit further below:


Two of the AV-2 Evolution scooters at the end of the dock at DiveTech/Cobalt Coast Resort. The two plates comprising the saddle readily bolt on to the scooter assembly.


Another view of the saddle. The saddle uses a speed control rod assembly that connects with the power control button on the scooter. You can pull it out in segments allowing incremental speed control. This is also the thing that I thought adding a deadman leash/kill switch to would be a good idea for deeper scooter free diving.


Josh in the saddle


Rick ascending in the saddle. You don't have to have your arms up but it does provide a good signal to the safety diver that you haven't passed out, streamlines a bit and might even aid in the odd collision, ouch. You can imagine how minor displacements of your fins could easily turn things and even barrel rolls. After a while you don't even think about turning and simply do it. I only have video of two free dives shot by the safety divers hence the limited images, most of the images were shot by myself on board the scooter during the dives.
__________________
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 09-17-2007 at 01:00 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-24-2007, 07:50 AM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
Administrator
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,324
Default

For a lot clearer resolution and better color fidelity be sure to check out the the video clip on the NEW kiteflix site. George has developed an incredible site with very nice video compression, intriguing live TV and lots of other great stuff as you'll see.

http://www.kiteflix.com/index.php?video_id=372

Thanks George!
__________________
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-26-2007, 03:19 PM
RickI's Avatar
RickI RickI is offline
Administrator
Site Admin
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,324
Default

I just spent about an hour discussing scooter free diving with Kirk Krack of http://www.performancefreediving.com/ . Kirk has been doing deep scooter free diving well below 50 m for many years. He just did three 90 m (almost 300 ft.) scooter free dives on the Cayman Wall recently.

There are extensive safety and procedural considerations, only some of which are touched upon in the above account. For this reason a warning notice has been added to the start of the post. In short, scooter free diving isn't recommended and certainly not as a casual undertaking with minimal preparation.
__________________
FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 09-26-2007 at 03:54 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Do not advertise outside of [COM] Forums.
Do not show disrespect for others in your postings.
Users can be denied access to this Site without warning.
FKA, Inc., it’s officers and moderators are not responsible
for the content of the postings and any links or pictures posted.

Report Problems by PM to “administrator” or via email to flkitesurfer@hotmail.com

Copyright FKA, Inc. 2004, All Rights Reserved.