Thursday, February 5, 2009

Don't Leave Home Without It

Jacques Cousteau used to train his divers by taking them to 100 feet and having them strip off their breathing apparatus to swim to the surface on one breath.

While I'd like to work up to doing the same, for the moment I've made a hard rule for myself: I won't dive below 100 feet without a 'pony tank', a spare breathing gas cylinder as pictured above. There is all manner of thought and speculation on carrying 'backup' items outdoors; I used to climb specifically *without* a radio so that I would be more careful and never have the expectation of rescue to lean on,a nd I still believe that made me a better, safer climber (I am still alive!)

While I would still do that today, in SCUBA, for a number of reasons, I think that carrying this spare cylinder--a little smaller than half a normal tank--makes a lot of sense. This is life insurance for diving below 100 feet; if everything goes wrong, I can make it to the surface on this tank, even if I have to abandon everything else.

In the photos the tank hasn't yet been equipped with a carrying sling or other gear. You also see my dive light and some other gear.

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