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Logbook for Vance Stevens, Padi OWSI 64181

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Personal Dive Log Record

Date: January 27, 2000

Dive # 329

Location: North of Musandam

Diving with: Dubai Sub Aqua Club

Dive site: Energy Determination

Dive buddy: Andy McAlpine from Bahrain

Others on dive: Brian Taman of ADSAC and Andy's wife Janice

Others present at dive site: Bill, Anthony, Paul, and one other from DSAC

Sea condition: Calm

Water temp: 22

Visibility: good, 10+ meters

Wetsuit combo: thick farmer john and 3mm typhoon top

Weight: 10 kg


Profile tracking chart

Planned time



Actual time



Pressure group in

1st dive of day

 50 meters


Air in: 225



Time at bottom (NDL)

() to 20 min deco






Time started up

 With 24 min deco



 51 min.

50.9 meters


Deco stops




12, 6, 3 meters



 Data from dive computer:

Dive 329 50.9 meters for 51 min.


This dive was 24 hours in preparation. At 5 p.m. on Wed I reported to a GECO Marine in Abu Dhabi where they had told me they had the Aladdin Pro dive computer, but of course they didn't really, so I had to go to Dubai and get one from Scuba Dubai, Nitrox version. I was back in Abu Dhabi after 10 and retrieved my tanks from the club, but blew them to 225 first.

Back home I packed, and slept 2 hours. Everything was in chunks of 2 hours. Two hours to drive to Dubai, 2 hours in the shop buying the computer, 2 hours back to Abu Dhabi, 2 hours eat and pack, 2 hours to drive back to Dubai to meet the DSAC people, and two hours to the dive site, 100 km or 60 nautical miles from the Dubai harbor, to a point just north of Musandam, arriving there at about 9 something a.m. The point was buoyed, but it still took up 2 hours to find the wreck in 80 and 90 meters of water. The wreck was at all depths, but we were looking for the most shallow possible part of it. When we'd get a blip on the depth screen, we'd toss in the anchor and then circle the point trying to find wreck. Trouble was the anchor line was too short and it would drift, not reach bottom. Eventually we added line, caught the bottom, circled the buoy, found the wreck and tried to drag the anchor over to it. A couple of times doing this we were satisfied we could get down to a reasonably shallow part of the wreck.

People on board were diving air, nitrox, and trimix. It was decided that air divers (us) should go first for reasons not clear to me, but our task was to mark the actual wreck by leaving an SMB (submersible marker buoy) on it. It was agreed that Andy's wife would supply the SMB. The boat handler would then attempt to drag the anchor to the marker buoy and thus attempt to anchor actually on the wreck.

Our dive plan was to stay in a group of 4 and descend to a maximum depth of 50 meters and start back up when deco time on our computers reached 20 min. We were to signal Brian when we were at 100 bar, and two fingers to mean 20 min deco time. Because of the plan to move the boat, tanks were not at that time lowered over the side for our deco stops. My buddy Andy did go to the trouble to take my extra tank along with him, so our group of 4 had 5 tanks on the dive, and those topside were to put more over the side once they had the boat anchored.

We descended as quickly as possible, finning down through a school of huge barracuda, and were on top of the wreck at around 40 meters in the first minutes of the dive. There was a strong current, and I could feel the narcosis effect. Although the others claimed later that they experienced no narcosis, Andy's wife was having trouble getting her SMB out. As we waited and maneuvered for limited handhold space atop the wreck, I decided to see if I could speed things up by getting my reel and SMB out, and I managed to hand it over to Brian first. Unfortunately, it lacked some essentials that I rectified later that evening through purchases back at Scuba Dubai, the first being no tie off on the reel so that Brian could secure it to the wreck. Andy managed to produce a bit of blue string for that. The second problem was that the hole at the bottom was actually made for a fitting which I didn't have (hadn't realized it needed one), so when Brian sent bubbles from his reg up into it, they were swept into the current and missed the narrow opening. It was 8 minutes into the dive before we finally moved off the spot with the SMB secured and deployed.

The trolling earlier had actually worked, because the anchor line was draped over the wreck just near where we were working. There were schools of huge fish darting in and out, including some big tuna. Due to the lack of handholds and because of the current, I finned gingerly over to the line and grabbed it, and the others followed so as to move from there down into the wreck. Topside, they told me when I had done that I had grabbed on to the hose to Andy's wife's reg and nearly yanked it out of her mouth. I didn't remember that at all. I must have though I had hold of one of the bits of line on the wreck.

We dropped down into the wreck and in the lee of the current where we could catch our breath, or what few breaths we had in our tanks at that depth, 6 atmospheres of pressure. My computer registered around 48 or 49 meters so I dropped slightly just to say I'd been to 50 and got a maximum depth of 50.9. The others I thought were below me. My buddy Andy in particular had gone a little deep I thought (but read on). I was a little ahead of the group and I moved along the wreck until we came out of its protection at that depth and hit the current, and at that point I signaled a turnaround which Brian, the group leader agreed to. So we moved in the opposite direction near the stern or the bow, nor sure which, at which point we started hitting more current resistance and couldn't easily move on. There wasn't much to see or do in the small space we were maneuvering in, and we were rapidly at the point where deco time was coming up to 20 minutes, so it seemed that an ascent would soon be in order. With this realization we all finned back over the top of the wreck and into the current to the anchor line which we proceeded to climb. By the time we were heading up the line, leaving the wreck and the big fish behind, my computer registered 24 minutes deco.

As we climbed the line, computers beeped warnings, and it was hard to tell whose was doing the beeping since all hands were gathered about the line. With over 20 minutes deco to go I was already down to 50 bar but I wasn't too concerned since Andy had brought the extra tank. As we moved up the line I checked the gauge on that tank and was surprised to see it was in the red at below 50 bar. Thinking maybe he'd been breathing from that one, I checked the gauge on the tank on his back and was doubly shocked to see that one down to below 50 as well. Meanwhile we'd hit our first deco at 12 meters and were hanging out there, sucking air from our tanks as little as possible.

We only had a few minutes at 12 meters but when we started up the line, someone's computer started going nuts. Turned out it was Andy's. That's when I noticed that he'd registered a maximum depth of 56 meters and was supposed to remain at 12 meters for ten minutes more. Since he was moving up to 6 with us, his computer wasn't going to forgive him, and the rest of the deco was accompanied by the shrill beeps from Andy's computer insisting he needed to go back down and pay some dues at 12 meters.

I was mildly concerned about Andy, but being egocentric, even more concerned about how I was going to ration out 40 bar over the 15 min deco I still had left. To make a long story short, we were all hanging on the line, dangerously short of air, having moved up to 3 meters by then, when the relief tank finally splashed over the side. I swam over to retrieve it and brought it back to where the rest of the group was huddled on the line. Brian was first to take one of the octopus regs, and my air was starting to pull as I exhausted what was left in my tank. I checked Andy's gauges once more - he still had a little in each tank. His wife had plenty of air, and later I found out that she'd been breathing off Andy's spare at 50 meters and that's what had happened to all that air.

So I took the octopus reg and started breathing off that, and a couple minutes later, Andy, computer still beeping incessantly and indicating he should be back at 12 meters, signaled that he was out of air. So he and I started buddy breathing off the one available reg. We did that for 4 minutes until my computer told me I could surface. No one else was making a move, so I went a few more rounds of air with Andy and then put my own reg back in my mouth. It was hard to pull off it, but there was enough to get to the surface, which is where I went, slowly, while the others timed out their computers.

Andy was fine back on the boat. He showed us on his watch that he had only gone, according to the watch, to 50 meters. His computer said 56 and mine said 50 and he was below me, but any of those devices could have been out of calibration, and in any event he was fine, no bends.


Created by Vance Stevens, PADI OWSI 64181, July 1999

May be used freely as long as this credit is retained

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