Pony Bottle Dive
By Capt. JT
The trip was to Morehead City for a weekend of diving. I am telling this story just as it was told to me by the diver who did this.
The diver had just finished his first dive and had gotten out of his wet suit. His buddy just had gotten out of his gear (the two guys are related) and had begun to change his tanks. The first diver asked his buddy to change his tanks while he went and got their lunch. The buddy said OK and the first diver went to get the food and drinks from up forward.
After eating and a 2 hour surface interval the divers started to suit up to go, the second diver changed his mind and did not want to do the dive. The first diver went ahead and descending down to the wreck of the Aleous began his dive to the stern. After about 8 minutes into the dive, still under the stern at 110 ft, the diver said the regulator began to breath hard, looking at his gauge he was totally out of Air. For a split second he said he felt panic, then grabbed his regulator to his pony bottle and new hope found in his breath of air. He then made haste to the anchor and never even did a safety stop.
After getting on the boat it was apparent that his tanks were never changed.
Lesson Learned here:
1. Never trust anyone else to set up your gear.
2. A pony bottle does have a use, as his first stage could have been the problem. A free ascent from under the stern, at a depth of a 100 ft, is a risk that one does not want to take.