Re: In defense of JW

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Posted by tleemay on August 29, 2000 at 18:58:13:

In Reply to: Re: In defense of JW posted by Jim Hoffmann on August 29, 2000 at 11:30:53:

I have to agree with John on the points of the current
"score card". When you lose friends to foolishness
and common sense, it takes a serious beating on you
and your attitude. It also reflects poorly to the public
when a common sport dive get's someone killed because
hey didn't follow a basic and logical rule - dive
with a buddy.

Photogs and hunters who dive solo must fully
understand what the chances of death are should
something go wrong when they do the dive. They also
must fully understand what position thay place others
in that may get involved during a rescue - or
God forbid recovery. Besides myself, I have dive
buddies who have also done more than their share of
recoveries, and it if you think hearing about a
death hurts, taking part of a recovery is way too
numbing, it too takes a beating on one's attitude
and soul. When we get together and discuss it, you
can hear the deafening tone of disgust among the

Many of you out there know me quite well. A couple
of you understand first hand how I feel about this
issue - it hasn't been a pleasant experience for me
to call a dead friend's extended family to advise
them that 'Greg was diving the lava tubes at Lanai
and got so narc'd he (we suspect) couldn't comprehend
what his SPG was telling him and died while diving
to deep on air'. The first question out of their mouth
after comprehending what I had just said is usually,
'where was his buddy' - a question that I had to
answer 'I don't know'.

In the last 18 months, I have personally seen die
3 friends and 2 acquaintances that were diving
solo. Two were diving deep air, one a kit built
rebreather, and another who sucked the wrong mix
at the wrong depth and convulsed. I am sure that
even though they may have sealed their own fates
by their diving practices, at least a buddy present
in each of these instances would surely have offered
a better chance of suvival when their problems
arose. The only instances that a buddy may not
have helped was when the deep air twins did their
dives - surely their buddies, if present, would
have been just as narc'd as they were and
conversely been no help... but that's speculation.

I had a diver on the boat this past weekend come
back from a dive solo. This person is a very
accomplished and well experienced diver. This
person promotes diving with a buddy, in fact this
person is a very well known instructor in LA
and other associated diving circles. This person
is someone who I feel should lead by example.
When I asked this person where his buddy was as
they were climbing up the swim step ladder, they
pointed to me and said "you are".

A cold shudder came over me - and I walked away.

I too know John, he's like most of us in that he
is very passionate about this sport and industry.
When someone blows it and ends up dead, it reflects
poorly on the local dive industry as a whole.
Certain diving groups in the SoCal area are still
trying to overcome the stigma placed on them by
those divers who have blown it in the past. Some
of these poeple had very recognizable names in the
local dive businesses and publications. That made
the inpact to the public all the more resounding.

Tony Maffatone's death a couple weeks ago is an
example. A week before his death while shallow
diving his home made tech diving gas rig, he was being
paraded on the ABC News website as essentially
the safer tech diver of the future. Regardless of
what may or may not have caused him to get killed,
the outsiders of our sport saw this now as typical
and a common practice of the sport - diving deep
on a convoluded gas switching apparatus with 5 plus
tanks - solo. The public reads it as, techdivers
are killing themselves in their cowboy configurations
and practices. Not a true representation of the
majority of techdivers, but that one instance
put a black eye on the techdiving sport as a

I for one don't want to see any more black eyes on
the sport - tech or otherwise.

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