Have you ever wondered whether using a rebreather in recreational diving was possible and whether the experience would be available to you ?
It was a long time since I wanted to experiment diving with a rebreather in recreational diving. It is true that the Ap Diving evolution of my companion looks nice and that the temptation was strong to use the machine.
But like many divers, I defined myself above all as a “recreational” diver. And I think that diving with a rebreather was part of TEK diving. I had not yet made the test.
A REBREATHER in recreational diving ? Why not !
The question of the usefulness of diving with a rebreather appeared to me more evident when I began to make underwater photos in a more sustained way. I liked the idea of not disturbing marine animals with the sound of my bubbles. I also liked the idea of diving silently.
First experience, first impression
Once decided to test the rebreather, we take advantage of a sunny day to go to our favorite quarry to enjoy the light.
Didier will be my instructor to test the AP evolution. He prepares the material and briefs me on the main points of attention:
- Check the computer regularly and check the head up: green and silent everything goes well 😉
- Lungs can not be used anymore to compensate your buoyancy it is better to bypass an obstacle and not to pass over or under
- Inspire and exhale normally even though it may sound different from a conventional regulator.
- If things do not proceed as desired, use the bail out (backup tank) and go back to the surface in open circuit
I do not know if this is the case for you, but when I look forward to a new form of diving, I have a hard time concentrating on all the information I get. I have to put all my attention and my seriousness because, in reality, I just want to go in the water !
The rebreather, the tank and the rest of the equipment are ready for this dive. The weather is good, let’s go 🙂
As usual, I dive drysuit. With the rebreather in addition, I look like a diver preparing to land on Mars, and it’s quite funny.
I go to the water (taking care to have the rebreather in the “closed” position so as not to drown it immediately) and wait for my favorite instructor, I’m ready 😉
I start the dive
I open the rebreather, put the mouthpiece in and there we go. The water is clear and the visibility quite good (about ten meters).
Those of you who practice this type of dive know that the first breaths on the rebreather are strange: you have to inspire once more deeply so that the machine sends air into the counterlungs depending on the pressure: surprising sensation
I stay about 2 meters deep and test my buoyancy.
Everything I’ve learned about using my lungs to compensate my buoyancy no longer exists !
The buoyancy is managed only with the counterlungs of the rebreather and the air that I inject in my drysuit and in the wing. What I inspire or expire deeply changes absolutely nothing since everything happens in a closed circuit (the exhaled air does not escape into the water but is recycled directly) …
… Fantastic human minds who have been able to design such a gear !
Suddenly on my right a very big carp. She does not seem to have noticed me and goes on with what she is doing. I just look at her. I make not bubble, it’s great, it do not disturb her 😉
With my buddy, we move ten to fifty meters at shallow depth until I take control of the rebreather before going a little deeper into this wonderful clear water.
We will finally go down to 9 meters deep but will stay mostly between 5 and 6 meters fascinated by the incredible show of the freshwater jellyfish still present in great numbers at this time of the year.
How I feel with a rebreather in recreational diving
My breathing is calm and silent. When we go down, it is only slightly more audible, as well as the friction of the “tubes” against my ears when I turn my head.
Several times I have the impression that I will loose the mouthpiece that does not fit like the mouthpiece of my usual regulator. At other times, I feel I can not breathe deeply (especially for exhalation). I realize that I lack experience and that it will take me a little time to get used to the specificity of diving with a rebreather in recreational diving.
I feel like a novice and I see myself again as a beginner, with gestures sometimes imprecise and disorderly to stabilize me.
It is like a small reminder for even more consciousness of the difficulty that candidates can have at the first levels of scuba diving. This time, I came back there 😉
Half an hour later, it’s already time to surface. Didier gestures to me not to forget to close the mouthpiece at the end of the dive … clearly he fears that I drown the rebreather by enthusiasm and desire to communicate directly to him my impressions.
Conscientiously, I make the right gestures, we get out of the water (wow, it’s heavy a rebreather plus the drysuit when everything is soaked!) And get back to our vehicle.
Advantages of the rebreather in recreational diving :
- No noise
- Very low gas consumption
- “All in one”
- No bubbles that frighten marine animals: practical for underwater photo enthusiasts
- Significant reduction of deco stop depending on the dive
- Hot and humid air breathed => almost no dehydration problem anymore and less cold
Disadvantages of the rebreather in recreational diving :
- Different breathing that may sound difficult or not natural
- Management of buoyancy only with counterlungs, drysuit and wing, forget your real lungs !
- Weight (it’s still heavy) 27,5Kg but the entry model is only 24,5Kg
- Need to know the principles of the rebreather
- Need to be very careful (even more than with open circuit to me) on the signals communicated by the computer
- Importance of meticulous and rigorous maintenance of equipment after each dive
- The price … it is expensive a rebreather … Sofnolime is quite expensive too 🙁
Diving with a rebreather makes sense for recreational divers who want to TRY new experiences and / or who are CRAZY underwater photographer
Will you try the experience ?
I think it takes a minimum of ten dives to begin to feel better with the rebreather and to better manage its buoyancy, to breathe easily and to acquire new procedures etc … but…
… It is still a wonderful dive experience to try 🙂
And now, what will be YOUR next new experience in scuba diving ?
Want to share your experiences, comments and questions about diving in rebreather ?
Post a comment below … it will be my pleasure to exchange with you live
Bubbles or not, do not forget to be happy 🙂
YOU have discovered diving with a REBREATHER but have you ever heard of this type of DIVING ?
PS: do you want to stay connected and want to be notified of upcoming articles? Sign up on the Facebook Page, for the Newsletter or check the box reserved for this purpose by posting a message below … other articles will follow very soon 🙂