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Spools, reels and SMBs

Discussion in 'General Scuba Diving' started by Wibble, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    So there I was ascending from 9m to 6m ready to face my 25 mins on O2 (after an hour on 28% at 40m) quite happily minding my own business being at one with the world. Arrived at 6m, tied off the spool as per usual (one of the super-shiny Apeks 60m spools that needs a twist with the double ender to stop the line slipping through), just about to switch gas and a wave came along that bounced the spool.

    And the sodding double-ender jumped out of the hole in the spool. Went to grab it, but just out of reach and watched it descending below me.

    Damn. I like that spool and it's only 40ish metres to the bottom, so I'm likely to loose it. Hmmm.

    So did the switch to O2 and have 25 mins to kill. So started winding the string around the palm of my left hand. After a dozen turns I realised I should really be using the spare spool -- or wetnotes -- to wrap the string around. Wotever, I've started so I'll finish...

    After an eternity of winding I finally could feel the spool coming up. Hurrah, the spool is tied on to the end of the string. Then the task of winding the string off my hand and back on to the spool. Bleeding hell that takes a time, and doubly so as I don't want to drop the sodding thing.

    Finally completed. Oh, only 2 minutes of deco left. Probably the most interesting deco I've done in ages!

    On the next dive, a bit shallower, had only 15 mins to do, so made sure I used two double enders to stop the sodding spool unclipping itself again. It does bounce around when there's a chop above.



    Wondering if it might be better to use a suicide clip or something similar. Any ideas?
     
  2. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    @Wibble you need a proper reel ! :whistling: Just saying like
     
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  3. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Super Moderator
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    Isn't that a good illustration of why ratchet reels are fit for the purpose of SMB deployment whilst silly spools, and free-running reels, are not? They do have a place, but that is not it.
    You recognised it was a poor plan and still continued? :eek:

    I can only begin to imagine the report of what happened after your line drifted into the shotline, or a pot buoy, or the spool snagged on some wreckage on the seabed, or some rocks, or a combination of these ...... and then line around the hand was pulled tight whilst you were breathing oxygen and you were then being pulled down, or even up, as the line became tighter still and ....

    One of the first things I was taught about using reels and SMBs is to not attach them to yourself. Wrapping it round your hand must be included.
    Dump the spool and get a ratchet reel. In your case the Buddy Pocket Reel could be the optimal choice so we can enjoy the stories. Alternatively, the Custom Divers 50m ratchet fits in the pocket and works quite well (i have that as my backup).
     
  4. timmyg

    timmyg Super Moderator
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    To say spools are unsuitable, that’s nonsense (although I would agree it’s stupid using one from 60m). Plenty of people use them without issue and plenty of people get their line jammed on a reel but I wouldn’t say reels are bad.

    Actually an advantage, other than the physical size of a spool, is that you can deploy in an emergency & let the spool go. Granted you can do that with a free running reel, but not a ratchet.

    There are pros and cons with reels and spools. Each to their own.

    TPG


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    #4 timmyg, Aug 14, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2019
  5. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    It's a 60m Apeks (Grey) spool. I use it from 40m. I like that as it fits nicely in my pocket. In my other pocket is another full-size SMB with another spool.

    I fell foul of the bolt snap folding over and unhooking itself from the spool. Now use a 'cave wrap' around the bolt snap which will help prevent it from unclipping. Some photos will help explain this; I'll try later.
     
  6. NickPicks

    NickPicks Active Member

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    Wibs, you definitely need a Buddy Pocket Reel. Unfortunately, they don't appear to be available in yellow.
     
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  7. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I do like the Apeks spools though, with the exception of the line jumping through the double-ender!

    The real benefits of a spool are their small size and their simplicity. They don't affect your buoyancy when you pull them out of your pocket (unlike the umpteen kilos of deadweight of a KT reel and Buddy crack-bottle blob -- launch them and suddenly you feel extremely light).

    Obviously it's practice that makes perfect, not to mention personal preference.
     
  8. NickPicks

    NickPicks Active Member

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    You're not supposed to put reels in your pockets - dangling from multiple D rings is the way to go!

    (actually, my KT 50m reel fits in my pocket with the CO2 dsmb attached, and being the composite version doesn't affect buoyancy drastically)
     
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  9. nickb

    nickb Well-Known Member

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    Interesting stories about doing such a daft thing are always fun to hear.....
     
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  10. nickb

    nickb Well-Known Member

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    I was just about to suggest that you learn to clip the double-ender off in a more secure fashion.
     
  11. nickb

    nickb Well-Known Member

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    You've said this before and I've pointed out that it's bollocks.

    I use both a 75m and 100m composite KT reel along with CO2 SMBs and don't have any weighting issues at all when I deploy either. If you can't handle a weight change of a kilo or so, how do you manage breathing down 40l of compressed gas. That's gotta be more than 10kg.

    As Dave says, a ratchet reel is the appropriate tool for deploying an SMB from depth. I'm happy to take a spool and spare bag in my pocket on every dive, but if I absolutely must bag-off from depth, I take 2 KT reels and bags.

    [EDIT] In the interest of science, I've just checked and my 100m KT composite with a KT CO2 blob weighs 1.65kg and around 1kg when submerged.
     
    #11 nickb, Aug 14, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  12. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    BTW I had a line cutter on my wrist (the one which I was winding the line around) so had the spool snagged on the bottom or I'd drifted into a pot line I would have cut it. I also carry a backup line cutter on my waist belt and a knife in my pocket, plus I would have jumped back onto backgas if dragged down.

    What still amazes me is how long it took me to wind the string onto my hand and then re-wind it off my hand back on to the spool -- 23 mins! Most of which was re-winding the spool. All at 6 metres and on O2, but the log looks pretty flat.

    I didn't stop winding after a few metres as I would have ended up with a massive floating tangle of string, at least with the spool dangling down it was under tension and not a massive tangle risk -- the seabed being some 40+ metres below.


    Oh, and last week I was in the deco position at 6 metres and 'in the zone', minding my own business when I felt something touch the inside of my leg! Arrrrgh, it's a massive Great White screams my Captain who lives on my left shoulder. I'd drifted into a pot marker buoy! Did make me jump though.
     
  13. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Less dangling and neatly stowed attached to a D-ring :) :) :)

    Never seen any logic in what's literally a lifeline that is almost always going to be used at the end of the dive at the most
    critical moment of depleted gas and highest N2 to be stuck in a pocket.
     
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  14. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    @Tel, in my somewhat limited experience I've had two different buddies that could not detach their DSMBs to enable deployment. The first guy lost his at some point during the dive, the second had attached his so well that he could not detach it - IIRC a strap had twisted or something and he could not open the clip.
     
  15. timmyg

    timmyg Super Moderator
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    I’ve never seen the logic in having something dangling off me which I’ll only need in a. the end of the dive, or b. an emergency.

    I’ll keep mine stored in my pocket easily accessible with one hand.

    TPG


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. Doomanic

    Doomanic Dinosaur Wrangler
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    Two different approaches to the same problem; Tel's is to keep it as simple as possible to avoid task loading, Tim's is to train to a position where doing said task doesn't increase the loading.
     
  17. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    We've all had buddies or know someone that messed up what should be a simple task, I suspect on some
    occasions WE are those buddies :p , but these are common arguments to promote a POV.

    If a buddy is inept enough to lose a blob or not be able to detach it, then the same buddy will be as inept
    at getting out a spool or reel from a pocket. Have to apply the same rational to both cases to be objective.

    If a diver can learn to use a clipped on stage hanging off throughout the dive, what's the problem with a small DSMB?
    Way I look at it is no matter how well we think we can train ourselves out of a problem, shit will inevitably happen
    and that's when anything that may save my or my biddies life needs to be there right now.

    IMO a DSMB is a lifeline (literally) so I needs to be treated in the same way as an alternate reg. I wouldn't stuff that in a pocket,
    so why would I do the same for a DSMB?
     
  18. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Hope you’re not referring to a training blob? Invisible and utterly pointless in the sea. The only good blob is a big blob.

    I keep both of mine in my pockets is they don’t get tangled and are easy to get at. The exception is in Sidemount when I keep them in my bum bag as the pockets are covered by the tins
     
  19. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Small in relation to a considerably larger stage.

    In the end it just comes down to the perception of risk and as long as that's been carefully thought out, if you
    like stowing your blob in a pocket so what? The issue is more when that becomes a pseudo standard and then
    used to denigrate divers who have made an equally reasoned assessment to clip it on outside.

    Diving is riddled with such BS, it's by far the reason many turn away from the sport or at least the UK version of it.
     
  20. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I'm not having a go at people who mount their blobs on reels and clip them off. That's their choice.

    I am having a go at itty-bitty blobs which are fine for training in a lake/quarry, but have no place on a boat in the sea -- they can't be seen in any moderate sea or from a distance, and they aren't really big enough for reserve buoyancy (the other forgotten reason for using a SMB)
     

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