Internet Warriors of the Diving World

Is diving the only past-time that attracts the opinionated Internet Warriors who are so ready to tell you you’re doing it wrong?

I travel and dive extensively and it is so rare that I meet these type of people in person that when I do it’s worth posting a blog about it – and I did.

However, once the Warriors of the diving Internet come out to do battle, it’s amazing what they will take issue with.

I was away on vacation with my family and made the mistake of looking at the forum of the British Sub-Aqua Club. I found a current thread that was criticising me – God forbid. This is the gist of it:

I sometimes like to add safety to my diving by taking a second independent tank mounted alongside the one ON MY BACK. It’s then called and Independent Twinset.  Both tanks have their own regulator.  What really offends people it seems is that I take maybe Air in my first tank and then swap to say Nitrox32 or Nitrox36 in the other later in the dive when I’m more shallow. This has caused a furore.

It seems it would be OK if my second tank was only a quarter of the size of my first (what the BSAC members call a ‘pony’) and mounted on my main tank or if it was full-size and side-slung from my BC but not if I carry it on my back. It seems that carrying an 80 or air together with an 80 of Nitrox is said to be very dangerous although evidently an 80 of air with a 20 of Nitrox is safe. It’s as if my pony is too big. Well, maybe I’m getting it wrong and they are right. I know they are very ANGRY!

They say I might put the Nitrox regulator in my mouth when beyond its maximum operating depth. Any Nitrox certified diver is now told if you exceed a ppO2 of 1.6bar for a few seconds, you will die instantly. I’m not sure about that. (Bret, have you ever dived on air beyond 180 feet? Don’t answer that. We already know!) Well, the air regulator will be in my mouth and the other one will not be until I swap. Even I never seem to get confused as to where my mouth is.

They say that if a totally strange diver approached me underwater in an out-of-air situation, he might grab the wrong regulator. Well, I guess the one in my mouth would be OK for him if I was breathing from it. Then again, if I was carrying multiple tanks with trimix and Nitrox, the possibility of grabbing the wrong regulator is very real, yet it seems that I would be absolved by the Internet Warriors in this case because that’s ‘technical diving’.

I say that if I was unlucky enough to have a regulator failure on one tank, I’d swap to the other and swim up the few metres that might get my ppO2 below 1.6bar. They say I wouldn’t make it. That’s strange because on more than one occasion I’ve had to swim down beyond the MOD of the Nitrox I’m breathing to drag up some silly person who has descended unaware of their depth.

They say I don’t have any bail-out in case of a total regulator failure. What bail-out does a single-tank diver normally have apart from the buddy’s supply? There are quite a few single-tank dives undertaken world-wide on a daily basis.

It brings up back to Bret’s RULES. Rules can kill. Recently, an assistant instructor, escorting a lady student back to the surface in a British training lake, lost control of her drysuit and bobbed to the surface, abandoning her charge who drowned eventually in 20 feet of water. Why did this assistant instructor not go down to get her? She told the newspaper reporters that it would have constituted a repeat dive with no surface interval, so she left her student, a mother of young children who we waiting on the shore, to drown! (I have edited out the expletive here.) So much for the RULES!

So, I admit to breaking RULES. One BSAC boss posted that what I did on my dives was my business but I should keep it secret. Isn’t that being a little deceitful? I’ve built my career on being honest. We call it Integrity where I come from. Putting aside the rights or wrongs of the matter, how is it possible that these Internet Warriors can be so zealous about the activities of other divers whom they will probably never meet? Why do they think that they can apply their own Sharia uncompromisingly to the activities of others? Do people who take part in other activities get on Internet forums and, for example, rip into those who go jogging in a way not to their liking? I suppose they do.

Here’s your chance to rip into me too…


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5 thoughts on “Internet Warriors of the Diving World”

  1. When it comes to rules of any sort I am a firm believer of Douglas Bader’s maxim – “Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.”

    Yep, as someone who inhabits a number of fora (sp?) I agree with this observation, here be keyboard warriors and internet experts.

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  2. Having read a lot of diving articles by John I have often found his opinions annoying, however they are his opinions and he is entitled to them ,this time i can not fault him.

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  3. Hi John,

    Actually, what you have encountered on dive forums is absolutely standard operating procedure with pretty much any activity/sport/hobby forum on the Internet! I hang out on several motorcycle, guitar and photography forums, mostly as a “lurker” since I go to glean knowlege rather than provide it. Each forum will have a small number of “experts” who apparently sit at their computers 24/7 imparting their boundless knowledge to the unwashed masses. Woe is to anyone who would have a differing opinion from these Giants of the Internet, you will soon be chased with pitchforks and fire out of their little corner!


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  4. The average discourse that you get from these wannabee know-it-alls is so low brow that dignifying it with comment is usually beneath most people with an IQ above room temperature… in Alaska… in January… in a damn barn. John suffers these fools with more patience than most anyone I know. Good on ‘ya, Mate!

    But one thing I always thought was a pretty good saying that stemmed from the post World War II test pilots who got tired or morons being critical of the daring stuff they were doing in experimental planes: “Would those who say it cannot be done, please get out of the way of those who are actually doing it?”

    I might add that they didn’t say “please”.

    Dive any damn way you want. Ask for advice when you need it. And, please, don’t tell the pros how you think they ought to dive. And maybe they won’t poke fun at your stupid split fins or your lime green wet suit.

    Bret Gilliam

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  5. As you get older, there are so few simple pleasures left, but watching JB get a good kicking on stands out as one of the highlights of the year so far 🙂 I think they were even correcting your spelling at one stage weren’t they John?

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