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Old 02-20-2018, 10:03 AM   #31
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

How can you list unknown medical factors- if they are unknown.

Based on simply reading about the place and watching the video of the current and turbulence, it would seem that the free dive safety vest would be a reasonable way to help address the down current issue. Can’t it be detonated at will and doesn’t it provide a very considerable amount of lift?
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Old 02-20-2018, 10:32 AM   #32
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

So sorry to read this. I loved his designs. Rest in peace.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:10 PM   #33
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Behslayer View Post
This clip from Perrin James shows the kind of currents. The longer film shows some of the spearfishing in these kind of areas.

https://vimeo.com/146308558

https://vimeo.com/144812121
Those are insane currents, I can't imagine hunting in that type of situation. What a tragedy to have lost such an expert craftsman.

Before moving to Florida I did a lot of backcountry skiing in dangerous avalanche areas. When they came out, I purchased one of the inflatable avalanche backpacks and learned how to use it. Many of my friends wondered why I would spend over $1000 on the pack and carry around the extra weight. After being involved in 2 avalanches I was very glad to have spent a relatively small amount of money (much less than my skiing gear) to increase my safety.

The parallel here is very similar. Many freedivers will spend thousands on their gun and gear, but either don't want to be invonvenienced by, or don't want to shell out the $ for an FRV. Who knows if this could have saved Seal's life, but it maybe would have. Strong downcurrent, you can pull your vest as soon as you realize you are being pulled under. Fighting a big fish, pull your cord and a $15 CO2 canister gets you to the top much faster. This is a sad story and it does not help to "monday morning quaterback" the situation but hopefully these tragedies serve to remind the rest of us to take every precaution we can to live to dive another day.

RIP Seal, you will be misssed by many.

Last edited by SEA_ARCHER; 02-20-2018 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:27 PM   #34
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

I edited the account given by Lyubin after a friend contacted me and let me know there were some translation issues with the depths and distances. Makes difference.

I've been in touch with Kosta's brother and sister. They are now arriving in Bali to look for Kosta and a group of friends will help them. It has been difficult but I have spoken very honestly with them and explain clearly the most likely scenario. I hope they find him. I think it will be important for them to visit the site and help them towards some sort of better understanding and closure.

It is important to learn from this. We will find a way to honor Kosta's innovation and style in Gun Building in then future.

-I can't get past the weight. I use 1.5kgs max diving in those areas. Often I'll take off 0.5Kg after a few dives once I get a little less buoyant. Kosta was wearing 6KG.
-The Down current, and the weight.. the only chance here would be to drop the belt in this spot.
-The gun was fired. Possibly he had wrestled a fish off the bottom and then it broke free or possibly he had tried to untangle the shaft from the reef or possibly he had chased a fish deep and taken a shot. Any of these scenarios used up energy.
-Possibly a broken fin. The buoy engaging on the surface could have been a fish, the reef, or Kosta pulling on it.

Currents. Overweighting. I looked back at that video from Perrin James and it looks like he is wearing 1.5kgs weight in that scene. That was in the shallows, ie looked to be no more than 25-30' deep somewhere closer to neutral point. Imagine that same scene if he was wearing 5 or 6kgs weight..

FRV or some kind of Triggerable Float would have helped.

Last edited by Behslayer; 02-20-2018 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 02-20-2018, 12:52 PM   #35
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

Thank you for all the updates Jon. I feel so sad today after reading all these. I met Kosta several times and discussed guns and it was always a fun discussion. Condolences to the family and friends.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:00 PM   #36
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfjf View Post
How can you list unknown medical factors- if they are unknown.

Based on simply reading about the place and watching the video of the current and turbulence, it would seem that the free dive safety vest would be a reasonable way to help address the down current issue. Can’t it be detonated at will and doesn’t it provide a very considerable amount of lift?
Unknown medical conditions refers to the statement made by his friend "blood in his nose". Who really knows what that means? Normally for a free diver its a sign of reverse block. Was he sick and did that contribute to what happened.


The only way to mitigate danger in those currents....is to dive on slack or slower tides. There is no quick remedy and for sure the safety vest wouldn't be the answer.

Sad, sad, sad
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Old 02-20-2018, 11:36 PM   #37
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Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

The drift currents in Perrin's clip are pretty crazy but not at all uncommon in Indo. I am currently on my first trip here and I have already experienced similar speeds. The scary thing is the latter part of that clip where it turns into a down current. You can even see the bubbles being sucked down in the left of the frame. This shows the nature of these dangerous down drafts; they can form suddenly and be very isolated and it looked like Cameron(?) had to really kick to get through it despite being shallow and not very negative (or even buoyant).
From Seal's buddy's account it seemed like the down currents they encountered were isolated and they drifted into them from a spot they felt was safe or perhaps the down currents moved to them. Either way, I don't have the answer on how to avoid that except for trying to stay away from known hardcore spots and keep extremely vigilant in any current spots.

One thing I think freedivers-turned-spearos generally do differently is to be weighted as little as possible. I have 3kg on (3mm wetsuit) for 10-15m bottom dives and take 1kg off when we are deeper. I could possibly drop 0.5kg more. Afaik, the Med guys often like to freefall pretty much from the surface and sneak up on their prey as a sinking log but there's little need for that when hunting pelagics. Personally, I weigh myself to be close to neutral at my target depth. More weight than that and that's just more energy needed to lug unneeded lead back up.

Personally, I have been diving with as short a floatline as possible here. Often I get to my hang depth and there's already tension on my line. If caught in a down current, I would think having 15-25m extra line that you need to "reel in" before you can start climbing could cost valuable time and energy, too.

As for the two points above (ultra short floatline and minimal weights) perhaps one approach would be to say that when big doggie hunting you focus squarely on that? No compromises, no rigging or setting up for anything else. If you think you might see a nice grouper on the bottom at a doggie spot you may be more inclined to put on more weights. Just don't. And if you think you might see big macks you may feel you need a long floatline or a bit of bungee. Again, don't as that might ruin your chance at climbing up the line...

At some point in the future, no need for it now, I hope Jon will start a thread on lanyard use and using the float line as a "ladder". I know he has some good thoughts on it.

Dive safe and strength to all of you who knew Seal.

Last edited by Diving Gecko; 02-22-2018 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 02-21-2018, 01:29 PM   #38
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N08SJTe8dOw

This video demonstrates one kind of downcurrent clearly. I've seen downcurrents that were more like whirlpools like a toilet bowl flushing. These were usually in the Lee of a reef structure or small Island. The downcurrent in this video is more likely what Kosta may have encountered.

Water is like Air when it's flowing in a current. A large volume of water is pushing in a current along a shallower section of reef. It's like the water is under pressure, that is why it is moving. As it hits a drop off, there's no longer that bottom holding the volume of water so it spills into the abyss like a waterfall. In this video, if the diver had swam in towards that cliff, he would have been in the shadow, under the waterfall. But where he was he was catching the force of the river spilling down onto him. He could have swam into the cliff and hugged it and then punched through and up. Alternately he could have angled off away from the Waterfall and the downcurrent would have been less intense. In some cases, the area to the left or right may have also been less severe.

When you are dealing with currents it's important to try to take a birds eye view and visualize the landscape underneath. Then to try to understand how the water will be reacting to the different contours. Try to visualize the eddies the current flow. Often you can move just a little in one way or another and avoid the brunt of a current or use it to your advantage rather than disadvantage. For example. If there is a current raging down a shoreline you can hide from it in some contours, like a big rock will be a shelter just like it would from the wind. If there is a current raging down a shoreline, often you can hug very very close to that shoreline and there will be a reverse current or atleast a very lessened current in that few feet.
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:18 PM   #39
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

There are a lot of people viewing this thread and trying to learn from it.

2Fishin2, my friend Woodwardsan, above you say that the FRV would not have helped in this situation.

I disagree. In the video directly above, you see a great example of a downcurrent spilling over a shelf. Based on what we know from Lyubin's account, this is a strong possibility to have affected Kosta. We will never know for sure.

I have lost buoys to Dogtooth in those currents. The Fish drags them down to a depth where they compress and lose some of their lift, and the fish continues to pull and gone.. I never saw again. But. An FRV would have functioned differently. The max depth and time would have been set. The max depth on a day when Kosta was 'adapting' would have been set around 80-90'?. I know what 2Fishin2 was thinking that at this depth in those currents that there would not have been enough lift to Raise Kosta. But I disagree. Think of the Downcurrent like a Ripcurrent on a beach, or a Waterfall, or the air coming out of a straw. It has a lot of force in a particular spot for a particular distance. Then it dissipates. As with a swimmer fighting a ripcurrent and exhausting themselves, a diver can do the same swimming against the max flow point. (but a freediver does not have so much time to figure out where to go) The accounts I've heard of Scuba divers being caught in downcurrents is that after being grabbed and pulled down 75'.. they eventually found themselves in a dissipated current and were able to surface.

An FRV probably would raise a diver easily through a Downcurrent as pictured in this video. If not, the diver would push along horizontally until they pushed out of the force of the stream and then would raise quickly.
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Old 02-22-2018, 12:42 PM   #40
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

I'm going to hammer this thread with points of learning because this is too much. This should never have happened.

2Fishin2 makes a valid point here regarding Ebb and Flow of currents. Currents are not static.. They increase and decrease through out the day, month, season based on Tides, Lunar cycle, Oceanic currents.

I can recall many many times arriving at a spot particularly in Nusa Penida and saying NO WAY... way too rough. Going someplace else for a few hours and then coming back and that same place was now completely diveable. Similarly I've been in the water and over a few drifts noticed that things were increasing and it was time to get out. It's not always quite as simple as diving the Slack Low or Ebbing Hightide. Sometimes larger forces are at play such as an Ocean Current which has an effect over reaching local tides. Sometimes during the Lunar peaks the tidal exchange is so great that the window doesn't really happen. 2Fishin2's point here is that it's really important to take into consideration your timing in diving a place which has currents.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:21 PM   #41
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Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

I would think that an FRV with bigger than planned canister (if you're dragged below the max depth you ever planned on) combined with dropping your belt (and having minimal weights already) should help. At the very least, a diver would surface eventually after a current has let up and even if blacked out, rescue/resuscitation can begin if diver is spotted on the surface. That's already better than not finding the victim in the first place.

I guess the most important thing about the FRV is to never treat it like a ticket to dive any less carefully.

I'm also wondering how fast the down drafts pull you. I wouldn't be surprised if they can pull faster than some divers can equalize comfortably (especially once they are deep already). Perhaps it's not unlikely you bust an eardrum in cases like these and that, supposedly, can lead to extreme pain and vertigo which obviously won't make keeping a cool head any easier.


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Last edited by Diving Gecko; 02-22-2018 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:12 PM   #42
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

Fellow divers,
When will you wake up!
I mourn Kostadin along with the rest of you.
BUT there is an answer—the freedivers recovery vest.
Originally $3,000, after 10 years of development, the unit is under $1,000.
Regarding down currents, they are just like rip currents, they do not keep you down permanently.
Please read the reviews here, and consider this life saving device when you think about purchasing your second speargun.
Pay special attention to the lack of drag: http://oceanicss.com/Pages/testimoni...olumn-left.htm
Respectfully,
Terry Maas

PS, for those who think this is a cheap shot to gain sales, nothing could be further from the truth.
I will never recover the R&D costs for this product, but my mission is to prevent needless deaths due to drowning.
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:07 PM   #43
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

How much lift can the vest generate at say 100 ft?
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:21 PM   #44
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

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How much lift can the vest generate at say 100 ft?
A standard 60 gm cylinder generates 18 pounds at 100 feet, and 13 at 150 feet.
A 68 gm (the largest we can ship) generates 21 pounds at 100 feet and 14 pounds at 150 feet.

Divers should be close to neutral at their intended depth. Even if they were 5 pounds over, which is crazy, there is a huge safety factor. Once they reach 50 feet, the vest will be nearly fully inflated at 35 pounds of lift. Quite a ride!
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:46 PM   #45
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Re: Our friend has passed. Kostadin SEAL

Thanks for the numbers Dr. Maas. Assuming that a diver would realize that he was in a problem current at a depth no deeper than 100 ft, 20 plus lbs of lift is probably more than a neutral diver can generate for any period of time (i.e., kicking while holding their breath). I'm unclear how someone can dismiss the vest as "not the answer".

Possibly that would be insufficient to fully offset a down current, but it would seem to be a tremendous help. If 20 plus lbs of extra lift , plus dropping the belt and kicking does not get you up, then kicking alone would surely be futile.
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