I got to spend another weekend diving in beautiful Lake Travis and as usual, I enjoyed it. On one of my dives I had a chance to try something I have never done before, but that I have spent a decent amount of time thinking through over the proceeding 2 weeks.
At 85′ there is a 35′ sale boat sitting at a 45 degree list, tilted up a hill. The main entry to the cabin is to small to allow a diver in doubles to enter. In fact, I suspect it is to small to allow a diver in a normal single cylinder to enter (although I have never tried). The main entry is the only possible way for a full grown person to enter or exit. See this picture to see what I mean (note: this picture was taken by sticking my camera through a small hatch on the roof of the boat). In any case I wanted to attempt to get inside the boat simply to see if I could do it (in fact, I was 99.99% sure I could – I have simply never put all the skill together at that depth, or with an entry into an otherwise truly closed space).
More significant than if I could do it was how I could control myself. A consistent breathing rate is very important in more advanced technical diving. Dive plans are created assuming some average rate of air consumption, determined from previous dives. Maintaining a constant breathing rate becomes even more critical in an emergency when presious time may be used up to resolve the problem. In all cases, a diver that does not increase his rate of gas consumption has a higher chance of success. This is true whether the exersize is in response to an emergency or planned as part of the dive (such as my stunt).
I succeeded. I smothly removed my gear, slid inside the wreck feet first, pulled my doubles, harness and deco bottle through the opening, wait a second and then reversed the procedure. The part I am most happy about is that I did all of this while maintaining a relatively constant (slow) breathing rate.
I am recounting this because it is somewhat outside of any normal dive training (and not out of ego – this is child’s play compared to what many tech-divers can do). In fact, many people might suggest this type of thing is simply taking risk for no gain. I (and many others) seem to have a drive to try new things. We aren’t satisfied repeating something we have done before. The challenge makes the attempt (succeed or fail) worth the effort. Many men and woman (Sheck Exley – cave explorer and world record holder, David Shaw – deepest rebreather dive and Evelyn Dudas – first woman to dive the Andria Doria are three diving legends that come to mind), have risk their lives simply to attempt things no-one else has.
I fear a world where those who are bold (and probably fool-hearted) enough to takes these types of risks are tied down by society. That is a bleak future. Of course, it is unlikely that anyone to timid to take risks and try new things would every be able to exercise any real power over those who are willing to take real risks.