Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 7th, 2016 - Three years and counting

On April 20th it will have been three years since I've been in the water. That's a long time considering the diving pace I had been going at for the previous 9 years. But, there's a break on the horizon. On May 1st we leave on a cruise to Bermuda. On that cruise we have booked a two tank dive. It's on the third day of our time there, after two days of riding our motorcycles. I've never been diving in Bermuda but the pictures I have of the water there are fantastic.



I have no worries about jumping back in.I bet I can still assemble a scuba unit with my eyes closed. Because of the nature sport and my love for it I had ingrained it in my memory. I may not remember all of the fine technical planning and theory details but the mechanical portion is second nature.

There, at least one person gives me credit for my expertise at something.

I really miss diving and the arena I was in.Working aboard a live-aboard dive boat with Scouts was amazing and fantastic. Trying at times and challenging, it was great. I sometimes have trouble believing that I was actually responsible for the well being of twelve divers at a time, most being youth. There were very few times when I had to take action and I like to think it was because of good preparation, education and execution on my, and the boat crews, part.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

High and Dry!

I was going through some SCUBA stuff and realized that it's been almost two years since I've been in the water. I really, really miss diving. I especially miss spending time living on a dive boat for weeks at a time with two of the greatest people I've ever known.



Granted, I've been sidetracked by a greater responsibility...raising my Grandson David. Because of this I do not regret leaving diving...it's worth it.

I don't know if I'll ever return to diving, in any capacity...as an instructor or just as a recreational diver. I hope to get in some ocean boat dives this summer (and maybe some quarry dives, brrrrr).

I also miss messing with the gear. There's something about checking and double checking equipment on which your life depends...and knowing what you're doing. I plan on getting out my gear and going over everything for old times sake, and just in case I do go diving this year.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Long absence....

It's been a long time since I've posted anything here. It's been a long time since I've been in the water. I came home from Florida back in April - May (?), shelved my gear and haven't looked back. I've wanted to pull the stuff out just to play with it...more out of habit. SCUBA has been a big part of my life over the past ten years. I'm hoping to get back to the Conch Pearl for a few weeks this March but that's up in the air. If not March, maybe August.
I don't have much interest in recreational diving anymore. I've pretty much done all the diving I'm going to get to do. I don't see any influx of money that will allow me to travel and dive in any new places.
I still need to enter the last few dives from my computer. That should be fun. I can usually figure out the sites from the information in the computer and pattern of previous dives. I think it's only three dives, but every dive counts.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

SLSU040713A – Friday April 12th, 2013


Day 6 – a day of good stuff

 

I was up early, like always, but this time I had a new purpose. I was listening to the weather radio to see if the winds had dropped and changed direction so that we could get in some diving at a new location. Yes! With news that the weather had changed in our favor the crew was awakened early. This time less gently. I usually play ‘quiet’ music to wake everyone. Today it was my ‘motorcycle’ mix, rock n’ roll played loud. The crew was up and moving. We had a quick breakfast and it was off the ball, out of the harbor and out to sea. We were headed east to Looe Key, a great dive spot. It takes about three hours to get there so time and weather had to be in our favor.

We arrived at Looe Key to find great conditions; at least great in comparison to our previous dives. There was no current, little surge and visibility was about 50 feet. We did three dives with a lunch break between dives two and three. The dives were great…the crew saw lots of animals; sharks, rays, etc. There were even three Golioth Groupers that had started hanging under the boat at the end of dive three…very cool. We’re lucky if we see one but to see three at once is really special. Other things happened during dive three. When Jenna jumped in to do the conditions check she found a Sony underwater digital camcorder. Sweet…pirate treasure! I also had a great encounter with a very large, old loggerhead turtle. I was out in the sandy area of the reef, face down poking around in the sand looking at shells and stuff when I felt someone pushing down on my leg. I thought it was a diver but when I turned I saw this large turtle holding down my leg! It was freaky!!! I startled the turtle at first but then we swam around in circles together, the turtle pushing against my outstretched hand. Again…very cool.

Since conditions were just right we stayed out on the ball for dinner and a night dive. For the night dive we enter the water at sunset so that it isn’t quite dark underwater to start and then it gets dark during the dive. Another bonus was that the three Golioth Groupers were still under the boat. We split into two groups for the night dive. Jenna took one group, I took the other. It started as a led dive but about a third of the way into the dive we give the divers the opportunity to go off into the dark on their own. About half did. The others stayed with us.

At the end of the dive most of the divers blocked their lights so that it was totally dark so that they could see the bioluminescence in the water…glowing organisms. I was the last one out which has advantages. Once I turn my light off it’s dark. After you let your eyes adjust for a few minutes you can see a whole new world of glowing critters, blobs and strings floating through the water.

We dropped the ball and headed for the anchorage behind Key Lois…Monkey Key. Most of the crew stayed on the deck for the ride in.

SLSU040713A – Friday April 12th, 2013


Day 6 – a day of good stuff

 

I was up early, like always, but this time I had a new purpose. I was listening to the weather radio to see if the winds had dropped and changed direction so that we could get in some diving at a new location. Yes! With news that the weather had changed in our favor the crew was awakened early. This time less gently. I usually play ‘quiet’ music to wake everyone. Today it was my ‘motorcycle’ mix, rock n’ roll played loud. The crew was up and moving. We had a quick breakfast and it was off the ball, out of the harbor and out to sea. We were headed east to Looe Key, a great dive spot. It takes about three hours to get there so time and weather had to be in our favor.

We arrived at Looe Key to find great conditions; at least great in comparison to our previous dives. There was no current, little surge and visibility was about 50 feet. We did three dives with a lunch break between dives two and three. The dives were great…the crew saw lots of animals; sharks, rays, etc. There were even three Golioth Groupers that had started hanging under the boat at the end of dive three…very cool. We’re lucky if we see one but to see three at once is really special. Other things happened during dive three. When Jenna jumped in to do the conditions check she found a Sony underwater digital camcorder. Sweet…pirate treasure! I also had a great encounter with a very large, old loggerhead turtle. I was out in the sandy area of the reef, face down poking around in the sand looking at shells and stuff when I felt someone pushing down on my leg. I thought it was a diver but when I turned I saw this large turtle holding down my leg! It was freaky!!! I startled the turtle at first but then we swam around in circles together, the turtle pushing against my outstretched hand. Again…very cool.

Since conditions were just right we stayed out on the ball for dinner and a night dive. For the night dive we enter the water at sunset so that it isn’t quite dark underwater to start and then it gets dark during the dive. Another bonus was that the three Golioth Groupers were still under the boat. We split into two groups for the night dive. Jenna took one group, I took the other. It started as a led dive but about a third of the way into the dive we give the divers the opportunity to go off into the dark on their own. About half did. The others stayed with us.

At the end of the dive most of the divers blocked their lights so that it was totally dark so that they could see the bioluminescence in the water…glowing organisms. I was the last one out which has advantages. Once I turn my light off it’s dark. After you let your eyes adjust for a few minutes you can see a whole new world of glowing critters, blobs and strings floating through the water.

We dropped the ball and headed for the anchorage behind Key Lois…Monkey Key. Most of the crew stayed on the deck for the ride in.

SLSU040713A – Thursday April 11th, 2013


Day 5 – the wind’s a blowin’


The crew had a slow wake up, still on the dock for their mid-week break. Half of the crew slept on deck rather than below decks where the air conditioner was cranking away. It was chilly down there. It was a slow morning; we had a full, cooked breakfast for the mid-week break, we were in no hurry because we knew it was very windy out on the ocean and we also had to drop Ken and Mitch off at the military hotel in town.

Breakfast was great; pancakes, sausage and eggs all served on dry land…no motion of the ocean. While clean-up was going on Jenna and I ran Ken and Mitch into KW and stopped at the grocery store for a few items. When we returned the crew was ready to go. Regardless of the impending ocean conditions, they wanted to go out and at least take a look.

We left the dock, put up the sails and headed out. As promised it was quite ‘sporty’ out on the ocean. The water had a milky color to it which indicated that we were in for bad visibility. We made our way out to Wreckers Reef, took a mooring ball and discussed the situation. From the surface our assessment was maybe a little surface current, lots of surge and maybe 10-15 ft. of visibility. It was decided that I would hop in and take a closer look so I got into my gear and in I went. Our surface assessment was spot on. Now the decision had to be made…should we let them dive or not? It’s not just the diving conditions; if they got disorientated (lost) and were far from the boat at the end of the dive a surface swim would be extremely difficult in these conditions. Also, if any sort of assist or rescue needed to be done it would also be treacherous. After some discussion it was decided to let the crew dive. Only seven divers wanted to go, so in they went. For the most part everyone stayed close to the boat and the dive went well. On the surface the Conch Pearl was rockin’ and rollin’. I think we got the better deal being under water.

After the dive we headed in to Key West Harbor, past a large Royal Caribbean cruise ship, to get fuel, then further into the harbor, to anchor near the mangrove shore so that the  crew could go snorkeling and swimming. It wears me out watching these young men go, go, go. I can dive all day long but when it comes to jumping, swimming and ‘fender rodeo’ I get worn out just watching. When all the fun was over the crew started ‘yo yo’ fishing. Tonight’s contest turned into seeing who could catch the most pin fish. The fishing was interrupted by a great spaghetti dinner then it was back to fishing. The crew finally settled down when the sun was gone and then suddenly everyone was gone and in bed.

Out of Order

Because of events and limited bandwith the next few posts will be out of order and there will be not pics. I will try to post a page of pics later today when we're back on base.