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CraigC

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[Mod edit: posts moved from another thread to start new topic.]

My career has been in both the commercial and recreational diving industries, mostly recreational. I taught scuba for 12 years up to the instructor level as well as driving multiple dive boats including what we called "Cattle Boats", 24 passenger. Then I decided to get a real job working on high pressure compressors (up to 6000 psi) and gas systems for recreational diving and fire fighter breathing air. I have designed and built breathing gas systems for recreational diving, mostly mega yacht (70+ meters) dive programs. I now work on fire station breathing gas systems and part time doing mega yacht breathing gas systems service and equipment installation.
 
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Backbay

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My career has been in both the commercial and recreational diving industries, mostly recreational. I taught scuba for 12 years up to the instructor level as well as driving multiple dive boats including what we called "Cattle Boats", 24 passenger. Then I decided to get a real job working on high pressure compressors (up to 6000 psi) and gas systems for recreational diving and fire fighter breathing air. I have designed and built breathing gas systems for recreational diving, mostly mega yacht (70+ meters) dive programs. I now work on fire station breathing gas systems and part time doing mega yacht breathing gas systems service and equipment installation.
Craig, I used to Scuba dive many years ago/PADI certified. Totally for pleasure and not great depths usually 60 feet or less. Florida Keys, Bahamas, Great Lakes, inland quarries. Would love to hear more about your diving adventures/experiences if you ever inclined to tell us more.
 

CraigC

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Craig, I used to Scuba dive many years ago/PADI certified. Totally for pleasure and not great depths usually 60 feet or less. Florida Keys, Bahamas, Great Lakes, inland quarries. Would love to hear more about your diving adventures/experiences if you ever inclined to tell us more.
I'm sure most would find them boring. The one that really stands out in my mind is the first 6 months of driving a "Cattle Boat". My heart was in my throat all the time as people would do things that scared me to death. After 6 months, nothing they did phased me anymore, they actually became quite humorous in my mind, even though they were dangerous. You don't approach the ladder of a dive boat in 3-4' seas with your BCD fully inflated to get back on board. That is a good way to have the dive platform come down on your head. :eek:
 

CraigC

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If you're doing specialist work, I hope you charge accordingly. I remember getting called to a job about 20 years ago, the company had broken a clogged timing belt on their corrugater. ( food packaging) a new one had to come through Singapore but machine was worth about 2k per hour when it was down. I measured and went back to work and made a belt that was a temporary fix. I charged them 3000 for two, (1 spare) . My cost was about 2 hrs labour. And belt was made from off cuts.
I saved the engineers job I reckon.

Russ
When it comes to mega yachts, they are the only folks that can afford the equipment. We made something we called the CY-Borg cube for a yacht that contained equipment to produce breathing air, Nitrox and oxygen. When all was said and done, the price was about $500,000.00.
 

Backbay

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I'm sure most would find them boring. The one that really stands out in my mind is the first 6 months of driving a "Cattle Boat". My heart was in my throat all the time as people would do things that scared me to death. After 6 months, nothing they did phased me anymore, they actually became quite humorous in my mind, even though they were dangerous. You don't approach the ladder of a dive boat in 3-4' seas with your BCD fully inflated to get back on board. That is a good way to have the dive platform come down on your head. :eek:

Boring....somehow I doubt it. Did you ever do " treasure" dives or recovery?

My first salt water open dives were the the FL Keys and the last dive of the day was on Sombero reef - instructor mentioned we would probably see sand sharks and told us they were harmless. Harmless or not, I was petrified I would encounter one...thankfully for me, the weather turned and the dive was cut short. No sharks were seen.
 

caseydog

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Boring....somehow I doubt it. Did you ever do " treasure" dives or recovery?

My first salt water open dives were the the FL Keys and the last dive of the day was on Sombero reef - instructor mentioned we would probably see sand sharks and told us they were harmless. Harmless or not, I was petrified I would encounter one...thankfully for me, the weather turned and the dive was cut short. No sharks were seen.

Most warm water sharks are not a threat to humans. We swam among them all the time in the Gulf near Port Arthur. We would sometimes hook one when fishing offshore. You generally reel them in the first time you hook one, just for the fight. You cut them loose after you get a picture or two. They are no good to keep. It is a long, exhausting fight, because they never stop moving -- they cant' stop moving. After the first one, you just cut the line, and sacrifice a hook, bait, sinker and 100 feet of fishing line. You can tell withing a few seconds when you have hooked a shark.

Young sharks, about two feet long or less, are edible. Cut them into steaks, like tuna steaks, grill them, and they are actually, pretty good eating.

View attachment 34985

View attachment 34986
CD
 

epicuric

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I'm sure most would find them boring. The one that really stands out in my mind is the first 6 months of driving a "Cattle Boat". My heart was in my throat all the time as people would do things that scared me to death. After 6 months, nothing they did phased me anymore, they actually became quite humorous in my mind, even though they were dangerous. You don't approach the ladder of a dive boat in 3-4' seas with your BCD fully inflated to get back on board. That is a good way to have the dive platform come down on your head. :eek:
It certainly wouldn't bore me! My experience is very limited, but I did my PADI certification about 15 years ago, and have pootled around a bit under the Caribean, the Med and off the East coast of Africa. Until this year I'd not dived for quite a while (not sure why) so I did a refresher course with some friends who run a dive school in Cyprus. It got me hooked again!
 

medtran49

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We were on a live aboard dive boat on a hunting trip to the Dry Tortugas. I was having trouble equalizing pressure, so had Craig go on down to start hunting while I swam above him trying to get my ears to equalize. He was swimming along through a dense school of fish, but so was a huge bull shark (close to half again bigger than him), and they were on a COLLISION course, talk about heart in mouth, nothing I could do. They didn't see each other because of all the little fish until they were about nose to nose. Abrupt 90 degree turns in opposite directions. It's funny now, but I was screaming into my regulator at the time.

That was not a good trip for me. We were on a deep dive where we had to make decompression stops and I got a reverse block (happens when you are ascending and pressure won't equalize). As the divers know, the stops have to be for certain amounts of time at certain depths or you may get the bends. I started getting more and more ear pain as we were ascending. It was severe by the time we made our last deco stop and got even worse when we surfaced, along with severe vertigo to the point I was uncontrollably throwing up. Had to be helped back onto the boat, even to walk pretty much at that point. Spent most of the rest of the trip flat on my back in our cabin, had to lay the car seat back as far as it would go for the 2 hour drive back home, then to the ER. Blew a tiny hole in my eardrum with bad bruising around it. Couldn't drive for a month and had episodes of mild vertigo if I moved too fast or turned my head too fast for months afterward.

Yes, I went back to diving after I healed, but was told some tricks by my ENT doctor, who was a diver himself, that weren't acceptable medical advice, which basically was that I really shouldn't dive anymore, and he would deny ever saying, but they worked.
 

medtran49

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Boring....somehow I doubt it. Did you ever do " treasure" dives or recovery?

My first salt water open dives were the the FL Keys and the last dive of the day was on Sombero reef - instructor mentioned we would probably see sand sharks and told us they were harmless. Harmless or not, I was petrified I would encounter one...thankfully for me, the weather turned and the dive was cut short. No sharks were seen.
I'm surprised they didn't warn you about barracudas. We saw them all the time in the Keys, even had to go back-to-back once when we were spearfishing and a couple of cudas got real pushy and started circling us.
 

CraigC

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One of the funniest things I ever witnessed was on a spearfishing trip to the Dry Tortugas (before I met Karen). I'm an avid underwater hunter and I do what is called "free shafting", where I have no line attached from my gun to the spear shaft. On this particular trip a guy, I didn't know, shot a cobia with a wire line attached to his gun and spear shaft. The fish was probably 60 lbs. It started circling him. Instead of turning as the fish continued circling, he let the fish wrap the line around him until it was smack against him with its tail level with his head. His arms were pinned to his sides and the fish was beating the snot out of him with it's tail. He was lucky to be able to inflate his BCD and get to the surface. I'm sure the chase boat crew got a good chuckle when they picked him up. BTW, the largest cobia ever taken by spear was 172 lbs off the coast of Brazil. A cobia (also called ling) looks like a shark underwater. It is a great eating fish and now they are farmed in open ocean pens for commercial sales.
 

Backbay

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We were on a live aboard dive boat on a hunting trip to the Dry Tortugas. I was having trouble equalizing pressure, so had Craig go on down to start hunting while I swam above him trying to get my ears to equalize. He was swimming along through a dense school of fish, but so was a huge bull shark (close to half again bigger than him), and they were on a COLLISION course, talk about heart in mouth, nothing I could do. They didn't see each other because of all the little fish until they were about nose to nose. Abrupt 90 degree turns in opposite directions. It's funny now, but I was screaming into my regulator at the time.

That was not a good trip for me. We were on a deep dive where we had to make decompression stops and I got a reverse block (happens when you are ascending and pressure won't equalize). As the divers know, the stops have to be for certain amounts of time at certain depths or you may get the bends. I started getting more and more ear pain as we were ascending. It was severe by the time we made our last deco stop and got even worse when we surfaced, along with severe vertigo to the point I was uncontrollably throwing up. Had to be helped back onto the boat, even to walk pretty much at that point. Spent most of the rest of the trip flat on my back in our cabin, had to lay the car seat back as far as it would go for the 2 hour drive back home, then to the ER. Blew a tiny hole in my eardrum with bad bruising around it. Couldn't drive for a month and had episodes of mild vertigo if I moved too fast or turned my head too fast for months afterward.

Yes, I went back to diving after I healed, but was told some tricks by my ENT doctor, who was a diver himself, that weren't acceptable medical advice, which basically was that I really shouldn't dive anymore, and he would deny ever saying, but they worked.
Medtran49, between the bull shark and the hole in your eardrum that is quite the diving "adventure". Can't even imagine what it would be like to witness my partner coming face to face with predator not to mention a large one and underwater! Glad to hear your ear drum healed - it had to be a miserable time for between the pain and vertigo.
 

Backbay

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One of the funniest things I ever witnessed was on a spearfishing trip to the Dry Tortugas (before I met Karen). I'm an avid underwater hunter and I do what is called "free shafting", where I have no line attached from my gun to the spear shaft. On this particular trip a guy, I didn't know, shot a cobia with a wire line attached to his gun and spear shaft. The fish was probably 60 lbs. It started circling him. Instead of turning as the fish continued circling, he let the fish wrap the line around him until it was smack against him with its tail level with his head. His arms were pinned to his sides and the fish was beating the snot out of him with it's tail. He was lucky to be able to inflate his BCD and get to the surface. I'm sure the chase boat crew got a good chuckle when thy picked him up. BTW, the largest cobia ever taken by spear was 172 lbs off the coast of Brazil. A cobia (also called ling) looks like a shark underwater. It is a great eating fish and now they are farmed in open ocean pens for commercial sales.
CraigC, that story is not boring at all! The diver with the wire wrapping around him sounds like a scene from a movie 😃.

We used to vacation in the Keys and charter boats out of Whale Harbor in Islamorada. Remember catching cobia and grouper and taking them to a local restaurant that would prepare your catch - the cobia was delicious.

More stories, please
 

caseydog

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Blew a tiny hole in my eardrum with bad bruising around it. Couldn't drive for a month and had episodes of mild vertigo if I moved too fast or turned my head too fast for months afterward.

Yes, I went back to diving after I healed, but was told some tricks by my ENT doctor, who was a diver himself, that weren't acceptable medical advice, which basically was that I really shouldn't dive anymore, and he would deny ever saying, but they worked.
You are the only other person I know that has broken an eardrum. I did it doing another kind of diving, from a 5-meter platform into a pool. When I did my push-off from the platorm, one foot slipped, and I kind of tumbled, out of control, and hit the water on my left side. The impact with the water popped my left eardrum. It also disoriented me. I went to swim up to the surface, and went down instead. When I touched the bottom of the pool (15-feet), I was re-oriented and swam up. I knew something was wrong when I held my nose to equalize, and felt bubbles coming out of my ear. :ohmy: It was an "L" shaped tear. It healed remarkably fast -- two or three weeks.
 

CraigC

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Boring....somehow I doubt it. Did you ever do " treasure" dives or recovery?

My first salt water open dives were the the FL Keys and the last dive of the day was on Sombero reef - instructor mentioned we would probably see sand sharks and told us they were harmless. Harmless or not, I was petrified I would encounter one...thankfully for me, the weather turned and the dive was cut short. No sharks were seen.
Treasure no, not interested in a cavity search after a dive. When you say "recovery" I think of searching for a body. That I have done. Not a pleasant experience, especially when the family is present. That was back when law enforcement didn't have their own dive teams. The one time I was involved was in fresh water in a wildlife management area.

When asked about sharks by female students on their open water dives, I replied "Honey, their are more sharks on this boat than you'll ever see on a dive".

The dive store I worked at in Hollywood, FL had a small store in Marathon. One of the boat captains was the nephew of the owner. Returning from a reef trip, the dive master noticed they were passing some area that he didn't remember. He went to look up at the bridge, only to find the captain missing. Not knowing how to disengage the auto-pilot he fought it all the way on a reverse course. After several miles he came across the captain in the water, red faced and glaring up at him through his coke bottle glasses. After being picked up and resuming a course back to the dock, it was determined that one young lady has slathered up with sun screen, moved to the bow, leaving a good smear of sun screen on the ladder to the bridge. Being the arrogant A-Hole that he was, the captain had used a no rung decent of the ladder, hit the smeared sun screen and lost his grip, falling over board with no one noticing.
 
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