Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dive #6 and #7, first dives with Kevin

This weekend Kevin and I went up to Turkey Ridge Quarry in Cedar Falls. This is the same place we both did our checkout dives, but our first time diving together in open water, and our first time diving without an instructor with us.  Yep, as certified divers, we were on our own.
                We almost didn’t get to dive, as we got to the shop to rent equipment (they won’t reserve it- they told us to just come in in the morning) and there was a HUGE beginning class, and we were told there were no regulators left.
                Well, we had drive all the way to the shop (it’s about 20 minutes), so we figured we’d use the time wisely and try on wetsuits. They had a sale last weekend (when I got my computer) but we decided not to get wetsuits, got home and immediately regretted the decision.  We would have saved about $30. Oops.  So we spend a good amount of time trying on wetsuits and Kevin and I both find a suit that fits us. I was quite pleased as the one I got was a size  8  J  In the pool class they had me in a size 13/14 (huge!) based on my weight. No idea what they were thinking.  There were two styles, and both of us preferred the less expensive style, which was a nice savings.  I think the prices must have gone up recently, because the price on the wall was $15 more than the price on the tag of my suit, so that was disappointing to have to pay the higher price (though it was clearly marked).  The shop was really helpful, and we spent quite a lot of time there.  We also bought a little beanie hood for me, a dive flag and line, as we’ll need to tow it next week in Wisconsin.
                As we were checking out we said something about how they must have hid all their regulators to trick us into shopping more. The store owner’s wife (also an owner?), said “we should have regulators” (it was a sales associate who said they were out) and went back to look.  Sure enough, all the regs were rented, but there were two on the workbench.  She texted a bit with the owner, and determined there wasn’t really anything wrong with them; one had a console that was different from others so he wanted it separate from the class’s regs (but no big deal, as Kevin disconnects the console for his air integrated computer), and we never heard what was wrong with the other one.  So we were able to get rental equipment after all!  Kevin rented a Halcyon Backplate and Wing BC to try, I just went with the standard stuff. It cost less than $100 for us to both rent gear and one tank each, so not too bad.
                Then we drove up to Turkey Ridge, stopping at ScubaToo to get the gate code and register our C-cards. (And eat at Panera!)
                 When we got to the quarry we went to the dock that Kevin did his certification dives from, not the one I dove from. That really doesn’t make a difference, but we found 1) it is easier to drive down to his dock, 2)there is a little platform to stand on while getting in/out of the water, and 3) that side of the quarry is deeper.  I’ll bring up 2 and 3 again, briefly.  We got our gear together, and put on and MAN it was hot in 90+ degree weather wearing wetsuits while Kevin fiddled with getting the harness of his BC just right.  I ended up standing waist deep in the water waiting for him.
                To get in the water, Kevin climbed down the ladder and then stood on the platform mentioned as #2 and put his fins on.  That looked like the easiest way to do it, but I knew I needed to practice my water entries. When we go to Cozumel, I’m going to have to jump off a boat!  So I did a giant stride into the water. Like my first dive during certifications, my mask flooded. I really hate that, but handled it okay this time. I still hate entering the water though.  Really, I understand why you do it the way you do (in case you –are- negative), but I feel like just getting to hold my breath like a normal person and jumping in the water like I was swimming would make me a lot more comfortable.
                Once in the water, we set to swim out towards the middle and start our dive.  About halfway to the middle Kevin realizes his straps are too loose. We turn around and swim back to shore…  I wait in the water, he gets everything fixed, and we swim out again.  This is just surface swimming, but with fins on (and heavy gear), it is exhausting.   
                Once everything gets adjusted we go back in again. As much as I’ve had to say about getting ready to dive, there isn’t much to say about the dive.  Kevin and I planned to dive 30 minutes, and didn’t really have much else in the plan. The quarry is only 25 feet or so…  So we swam around, saw some fish. Visibility seemed decent, maybe 7 to 10 feet at times, but then just as I’d be thinking that, we’d run right into a fallen tree branch, and I realized I didn’t see it until we almost hit it.  Kevin and I didn’t really hold hands, but I held onto his arm the whole time. It seemed to work very well for the low vis, and I kind of ‘steered’ him, trying to keep us out of weeds (he said I pushed him into them, oops. Well, I stayed out of weeds.)  No crashing down into the ground like on my first dive after checkout. I think it went really well.  We practiced hovering a bit, and that went well near the ground, but our safety stop was pretty awful bouncing up and down… Need to work on buoyancy a lot more!
                After about 28 minutes we got out of the water and took a short break. The second dive (also 30 minutes, we just had one tank) we practiced towing a dive flag (Kevin towed) and I took the camera.  My giant stride in went much better.  The flag is apparently a lot of work.  This time we stayed on the deeper end of the quarry (got down to 25 feet- brr cold! We mostly stayed at about 17 ft where it was warm) so there was nothing to see, since we weren’t near the ground. Saw a very few fish, but mostly just swam while Kevin wrestled with the flag and I took a few pictures.  It wasn’t even windy, so I think the dive flag could potentially be very difficult.  We are going to Wisconsin this weekend to dive again- and a flag is required, thus, why we practiced with it.  At the end of this dive we flooded our masks and cleared them. Kevin made me do it twice because he said I barely go any water in my mask. Well, I got it up my nose, that should have been enough. The second time I fully flooded it. I did make him hold onto my BCD while we did it, but we did it neutral, not kneeling.  I did notice I’m breathing out my nose more when I swim, so I think that is progress. Next time we dive I might want to practice taking my mask off. We also should practice an air share.  
Underwater self portraits are hard.
Overall, a pretty good day of dives.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

Love the first pic of you and Kevin. You should frame it!