The Dives

This total lack of any bandwidth has put me in a blackout with the outside world. I suppose all the smartphones and PC have drawn down an inadequate system and rendered it useless. I used to be able to make calls here and go online.

I had a heart to heart with the manager and he was unaware my wireless node was down. He apologized and said he will boot the system.

Yesterday I finally got to make my dives.

We met at 6:30 AM (ugh) at the dive shop. We loaded our personal equipment into push carts.

Everyone checked behind each other to make sure no one forgot anything. I like that about diving in that there is a culture of looking after the other guy no matter how obnoxious.

I paid for my boat ride ($160) and an extra tank of air. I brought one tank of my own. We rolled the cart to the dock and loaded the boat.

I was a bit nervous because this was my first long tip off shore since the only time I was ever sea sick. God help you if you ever get seas sick. Plus I didn’t know what to expect 26 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.

We were well loaded for this small boat. The captain could only push the speed to 13.7 knots. There were six people and lots of dive equipment on board.

A few miles out our youngest passenger became seas sick and started hurling over the rail. Some people make the funniest sounds when they puke.

After 90 minutes or so they killed the motor and the dive master grabbed the anchor and dove down to the wreck. He had to secure the line onto the wreck so the boat wouldn’t drift. A few moments later he surfaced and we began entering the water one by one grabbing onto the drift line and working out war forward to the anchor line.

I was the second one in the water and took a quick look around for any sea monsters. The water was warm and the visibility was good at about 60 plus feet. I could see the wreck below in around 80 feet of water.

The waves were around 2 feet and there was a surface current so working to the anchor line took some effort.

Soon we were all together and we descended down the anchor line. At 45 feet the current stopped and the visibility improved. Below me was a WWII tanker that had been sunk decades ago to provide an artificial reef. I can say it was a success. There were many varieties for fish, some familiar like the barracuda and tuna and many I didn’t recognize. There were star fish, blue fish, crab spiders, sea cucumbers, and many turtles.
We dove through the decking and into the various compartments of the ship. Most of the overhead decking had been removed so vertical escape would not present a problem should an emergency arise.

One of our divers was a master diver and he had backup air so he dived alone. Three of us and the dive master hung close for safety. We constantly asked each other about air (hand signals) and personally I was doing great. My breathing was slow and controlled and I wasn’t consuming much air at all. I was very relaxed and was enjoying my new environment at 70 feet. I had obtained neutral buoyancy and could hover about 2 feet over the ocean floor.

I found a turtle and moved in closer for a look. A few minutes later I turned around and I was completely alone in what was the boiler room. I looked again. I looked up to see if I could find any bubbles. Nothing….not a soul in sight. I move around a bit and still nothing…until I spotted the lone diver.

Dive instruction says if you get separated from your buddy you are to look around for no more than 2 minutes and then surface. I hated this because I was having such a good dive and I had so much air left. I thought about asking to buddy with the lone diver (hand signals) and about that time I felt a tug on my fin. It was my dive master less two divers.

We stayed down 45 minutes after doing our 3 minute decompression stops at 15 feet.

I came to find out that the two other guys gulped up all their air and were done at 30 minutes.

The second dive was an hour later and I had one issue at the bottom when my tank became loose. I signaled to my buddy and turned around and he tightened my strap.

Far too soon it was all over. The second dive was only 38 minutes and at 60 feet. We did the first so deep and long that that 38 minutes was the maximum time our dive computers told us that we should be down.

I got on the boat, the guy was still heaving over the side and we took off our equipment and talked about the dive all the way back to shore. We docked about 3 PM.

We loaded our equipment and met at the bar next door for cold beer and more stories.

When I got back to the RV Gigi and picked had picked up some hamburgers and corn. I grilled them both while I rinsed me and my dive equipment and the campsite.

This was a fun day.


Anonymous said...

While I am amazingly intrigued by your adventures in diving...I also could hypervenalate just thinking about THAT!! I mean how freaking cool and how freaking scarey at the SAME time!! I'd LOVE to see what you saw...I!!...but being 2 feet from the OCEAN FLOOR and the whole breathing thing...OH MY...I know I could not do it. So...I will once again live vicariously thru you. Thanks for sharing. :)

Reggie Hunnicutt said...

Teresa, I found it surreal myself when I was down there. Totally unnatural yet very comfortable. I was floating around this big room with fish thinking, "I will remember is amazing".

Ken said...

Sounds like a VERY successful and fun dive.
Pretty soon you'll be ....a real diver guy.

Slow and steady!

terri said...

I almost felt like I was there. And like Teresa, I usually can't imagine wanting to dive, but after reading this, it sounds very calming and peaceful. What a day you had!