Dec 092013

JDZ inside the J1 sub

About the wreck

The J1 sub is one of five J-class submarines outside the Heads, lying in about 32m of water. She’s starting to fall apart now, especially around the middle section where she’s broken in half. The conning tower is gone and the fish school between the struts of the hull.

Liz Rogers on the rEvo

About the dive

With the exception of a couple of weekends spent exploring in Elk River I’ve been trying to get out on my rEvo every weekend since getting back from training in Bali and caves in Indonesia. It’s been good to get into a rhythm with the unit. I now feel more confident that I’ve remembered most of the bits that I need and haven’t left the loop hanging in the garage. I’ve discovered that I can spend an hour underwater and only use 20 bar of oxygen. And that managing ppO2 and buoyancy in my lungs, wing and drysuit mean no photos on ascent or descent. And that while on the bottom, seahorses, seadragons and magpie perch will happily sit within 10cm of my mask, watching me not bubble at all.

This was a particularly good dive with JDZ on his rEvo as well. We were doing staggered dives with the other divers on the boat and there was not a single bubbler in the water. As I drifted down the middle of the sub I could hear my CMF trickling oxygen into the counterlungs…a reassuring counterpoint to the silence. We did a conservative bottom time that was more than what I would have done on open circuit and headed for the surface after a brief safety stop.

About the photos

These shots are from Cup Tuesday. After strong winds and big swell on Sunday and into Monday I wasn’t expecting much on the vis front. Similar to our dive on the J4 last year we discovered the clean water was still hanging round inside the wreck. As soon as we headed inside I was cursing my decision to leave the off camera strobes at home. Next time!

Instead I slowed my shutter speed right down to allow the natural light coming in to add background to the images. The top shot was taken at 1/25th and the bottom shot at 1/40th. Both were at ISO800. Despite blue skies up top, 32m of water filters out a lot of light. Being on rebreathers meant no bubbles to strip rust particles off the roof and create backscatter. The first shot here is taken mid-ships in the sub, and the second is me in the bow. After determining the settings and strobe placement I handed the camera over to JDZ as we both worked on not silting out the relatively small space. I don’t have very many shots of me underwater, and this one shows off my favourite new toy. Here’s to more silent diving.

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