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Single-Tank Diving Can Be Fun (And Challenging) Even for a Tekkie

Instructor Liz Tribe waxes poetic on the joys of single tank diving; sometimes it’s the “right tool for the right job!” That coupled with a switched-on team and some standardization makes for fun, no-stress diving!



By Liz Tribe

Video by Krystal Janicki

Last week, I posted a picture of my single tank setup on Instagram Stories with the caption “Single tank today.” One of the comments I received was “So, just doing an easy dive today?” Since I have a dive locker containing multiple sets of doubles filled with trimix, deco gas, stages and a rebreather, this is a legit question. 

My initial thought was, “Yup, just an easy 40 ft dive with one of my regular dive buddies, pretty much a ‘Sunday Stroll’ of scuba diving.” However, the dive turned out to be anything but “just an easy recreational dive.” It was a new dive site, and the current gave us a narrow safe window to dive. 

Photo by Ron Devries.

Even though it was slack tide, the current was significant throughout our entire dive, and I called upon almost all of the skills I’ve learned since I first became a GUE diver six years ago. To wit: situational awareness, managing my breathing and exertion, gas management, monitoring my buddy, buoyancy adjustments, and propulsion techniques (yes even the flutter kick). But, oh was it so worth it! Current equals life, and our hour-long diving window passed in what seemed like a blink of an eye because there was so much to look at in a relatively small area; four Giant Pacific octopus, grunt sculpins, rockfish, lingcod, and cabezon! 

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The Best part? 

Because my buddy, who is also a GUE diver, and I were on the same page with standardized training and techniques, at no point during the dive did either of us feel uncomfortable or concerned about buddy separation. We both drifted in the current dodging the pilings as we captured videos, peeked in nooks and crannies for critters, and played with tires. It was truly a great display of team diving!

Photo by Ron Devries.

A recreational dive does not always equate to being an easy dive. Some of the most rewarding and challenging dives can take place within recreational limits. In fact, this dive drew more on my bank of experience than my last tech dive I did. Just because we didn’t have to do gas switches and bottle rotations, doesn’t mean our capacity wasn’t occupied with other parameters. Because of the current, I greatly appreciated the more streamlined single tank, which turned out to be the perfect configuration for this particular dive; the right tool for the right job!

Solid foundational skills contribute to greater enjoyment of all dives, regardless of the depth. A switched on, unified, team makes a dive in challenging conditions just another day of diving, rather than calling the dive or coming back and thinking, “Phew, that was a close one.” It all starts with the development of foundational skills and team diving.

GUE instructors don’t look at teaching as simply training divers, we look at it as developing our future dive buddies. Let me tell you, it is so rewarding to have a student of mine show ME something new for a change—recreational dives CAN be challenging! To me, this means I did my job as her instructor. 

Thank you for an amazing dive Krystal Janicki! I was kind of hoping your three-fingered lobster glove would blow away in the current so you can sign proper numbers, but I’m still proud to have contributed to your diving education.

Liz Tribe is a GUE Instructor based on Vancouver Island, Canada. She has been diving since 2007 and accumulated most of her early diving experience in the cold, high current northern region of the Island. Before discovering scuba diving, Liz actively competed in the Equestrian Hunter Jumper circuit throughout North America. Liz is a Digital Marketing Expert for Ford of Canada. She enjoys using her professional skills to help promote diving in the Pacific Northwest region and build a vibrant local dive community. Find her here.


InDEPTH’s Guide To U/W TikTok




Compiled by by Grace Winfree. Lead image by Georgina Brown.

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