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MDC Dry Dive Review

MDC Dry Dive Review

MDC Dry Dive Review


Rich Hall and Christopher Chadwick

Ever wondered what it's like to spend an evening at Midlands Diving Chamber, being forced into a pair of scrubs and dropped down to 50m in the chamber, experiencing nitrogen narcosis and learning how your body reacts to it and why? Well we always have fun with the inevitably raucous groups that we have in, but you can't just take our word for it, see what some of our recent dry divers had to say...

"Well what can I say, a real pleasure from start to finish. Our first contact with the chamber was with chamber technician Robbie Renalson and I booked in a 50m dry dive with ease for a group of us from our club 'Manta Scuba Diving Nottingham' for what looked set to be an entertaining evening out.

Good instructions were given on where to find the chamber and it was very easy to locate. Upon arrival we were all made to feel very welcome, medical questionnaire filled in and it was time to begin!

Suited up in our surgical gowns (aka scrubs) we sat down for a briefing and then we were away to the chamber to start the dive. One or two photos were taken before we started and once we were into the chamber we chose our seats and got ready for the experience.

It's amazing how soon you need to start equalizing in the chamber, the pressure difference is much more apparent in this environment. Constantly being asked if we are all ok by our tender inside, the OK signal was given and we continued our descent to 50m. Ping pong balls, tennis balls and balloons are given out to everyone upon entering the chamber to show the effects of pressure, just watch the ping pong balls as they go off with a BANG at depth!

When we reached 50m this is when the fun really began. OMG!! What had happened to our voices? Also its now 30c in here, outside the chamber its 13.5c, needless to say we were all getting a little sweaty!

We laughed and laughed, clearly this was narcosis in full effect. We got asked to carry out a simple task, which proved a bit tricky for some of us. After 8 minutes of bottom time it was time to ascend. Slowly we started to come up, at 9m we had 4 minutes of deco on 100% oxygen, masks fitted firmly in place. Then up to 6m for a further 23 minutes on 100% O2. At this point there was a balloon still floating the tank, growing larger by the minute, when will it burst!?

Safety stop done and its now time to head back to the surface. Finally the rather large balloon gave in and burst after a short game of hard tennis.

Dive complete and a quick briefing was given on how the chamber works from the outside and also what brilliant work the chamber can offer some people using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. It is a real eye opener to what can be done just by breathing 100% oxygen at depth, if only more people knew and the NHS took more notice!

All in all an educational but extremely fun evening was had by everyone. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to all, even none divers."

Rich Hall, Manta Scuba Diving

"So after finishing work, I made the short trip from Northampton to the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby.

Upon arrival the 3 smiling faces of Spike, Dave and Robbie greeted us (in scrubs) and we were promptly offered free water and biscuits, the perfect start after a long day at work. As myself and three of my buddies were first to arrive we were ushered into the changing room to get some scrubs on. The main reason for this is to prevent a fire hazard as sparks from metal objects and 100% O2 don't really mix all that well.

We then sat down and caught up with the day's news and filled in the medical questionnaires while waiting for the others.

Once the others had arrived and changed we started the presentation at pretty much 18:30 sharp. I must say the presentation was very very good, and had lots of information relating to treatment of DCI and other medical conditions that benefit from being placed in the chamber. All I will say is the information given here is must for all divers and well worthwhile.

Upon completion we were taken through to the chamber room, where we had our masks fitted and photographs were taken - we were then placed into the chamber!!!

Once in the chamber we had another briefing by Spike, who also joined us for the 48 minute dive, and then we began.

Within seconds of starting we were already equalising our ears, and you could feel the heat beginning to build. The staff had also placed numerous objects within the chamber that began to change shape, of particular interest were the balloons and the ping pong balls that became like mini grenades.

After about 6 minutes we were at 50 metres, it took literally seconds before we were all in hysterics as we all sounded like Donald Duck, at this point we all realised we were well and truly Narc'd. A bit of a sobering experience as someone who is looking at going a bit deeper! Once we had all settled which took some minutes, Spike then set us a task, which was to use a numeric code, changing each number for a letter to write a sea creatures name. My group in particular faired pretty badly as we managed to spell something with 6 letters even though we were only given 5 numerics, and the word seemed to resemble tampon; obviously some Greek mythological creature.

I think out of all the groups we were the worst, however no one else got theirs right either!

After spending approximately 7 minutes down at 50 metres in a sweltering 30 degrees we began our ascent up to 12 metres on 100% O2. After sitting there for a couple of minutes we began our final ascent back up to 6 metres where we spent the majority of our time. Again at this point we were asked to do the same task again, and this time all of us faired a lot better.

After finishing in the chamber we were taken to the control side where we were shown how the machine works by Robbie, again this was very informative and put us all at ease about how safe the profiles they use were. Once complete we were then taken through to have our logbooks stamped and free gifts given.

What can I say? the whole evening was a laugh from start to finish, and hats off to the guys for giving their time to complete this very important work. One thing I have taken away from the whole experience is that the chamber is not a scary place, and that if you are ever unfortunate enough to end up in the pot you are definitely in safe hands.

Brilliant experience 10 / 10, and I am sure we will be back again.

Thanks again to Spike, Robbie and Dave for an a great evening filled with laughter."

Christopher Chadwick (PADI Advanced Open Water)

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