The first time we dove in open water was our open water exam in the waters north of Victoria, BC near Brentwood Bay. Surface intervals are always a good time to BS and the topic of boats was passed around. The dive master/boat owner mentioned it was not if a boat was going to fail it is a matter of when the boat was going to fail. Sometime in the next two days the boat failed. We were as far away from the dock as we were to go that day and kaput. There is a code among water craft that if you come across a vehicle in distress it is only common courtesy to help out. We eventually got a very slow tow back to the harbour.
The saying has to apply to dive gear. And it is my turn. The gear is exposed to salt water every time we dive. We have been diving a lot lately. I guess my gear has been subject to too much abuse. Everything was running smoothly and then my BCD will not hold air. On a regular dive it is not too much a problem as I can orally add little bits of air as required. One normally dumps a bit of air as the dive progresses and the tank empties and you ascend gradually and the air one does have expands and has greater lift. The time you need it is at the surface to remain afloat while waiting for the boat. Which again I could fill orally as it empties. But if for some reason the boat misses you and you have to spend huge amounts of time floating, it would be nice if not essential, to have a working, air holding BC.
The problem is a small valve on the inflation hose that closes and opens to let air in and out of the BCD. It is actually a schrader valve like the ones uses for car tires or for most bicycle tires. It has been sticking for some time and I have cleaned it a couple of times but this time I did not notice it was rusting. Snap, the pin that plunges to open the valve rusted through and broke off. The BCD will not hold air at all now. The shop here does not have a valve stem so I have to use a rental BCD. Don’t like the rental gear. It is nothing against the particular gear but it is not mine and the small differences are annoying.
Yesterday the fellow next to me hears air leaking when the tanks were turned on for our next dive. It was my gear. There is a small amount of air leaking from my pressure gauge. Not much, just enough to make it annoying. A quick try to repair it but the divers are going in the water and we have to abandon the repair attempt and put a plug in its place. I now have a computer that tells me the air I have in the tank so the gauge is not essential. When we arrive back at the dock the nice dive master helps me replace an O ring and it seems to stop the problem. Until the second dive the next day and the leak reappears. It is not bad so I just dive with the leak and I don’t think I lose a significant amount of dive time. I make it to the end of the dive and still have 600lbs. Again at the dive shop T and I attempt to remedy the problem and again without success. There is still a leak and I guess I will dive the next two dives and solve the problem when we get to Aus.
The Fijian Gods have spoken once again only this time it is getting personal. The when has come and it is time to deal with salt and all it corrosive properties. When we get to Aus I will find out if it can be fixed cheaply or if it will cost me a fortune and a new BCD.