I celebrated my 2nd anniversary of OW certification by taking a trip out to Dutch Springs today.
Jackie was there with two classes; ably assisted by Larry, Chris and Greg. Keith showed up for some CCR dives, too.
Tim ("Scout") had camped out; not sure if he was able to finish his class today or not. And I was aiming to hook up with Frank ("Cynwydb") for some dives.
I arrived at Dutch about 7:20. A gorgeous day, absolutely no traffic. I wasn’t sure what it would be like after Hanna came through yesterday, but the skies were clear and the temperature very nice. As Chris said, a "top ten" day. I hung out with Jackie, Chris and Greg while we waited for the gates to open.
The gates open, and in we went. Larry is on staff, so he was able to enter early and got a head start at setting up for the classes, and made sure that everyone had a good parking spot. Tim stopped by as I was setting up. He had been chatting with Frank and confirmed that he was looking for me. Sure enough, about 5 minutes later, as I was setting up my gear, Frank introduced himself.
We geared up and were in the water by 9. Our first dive was the deepest. We started out at the pump station and toured that cove for a while before heading out around the point for a leisurely swim back to the student platforms. We passed Jackie, Chris, and Greg and their students by the van. They looked like they were having a good time. When we got to the platforms, we practiced shooting a bag and then hung from the bag for a safety stop. Better than a 50 minute dive, and we both had "enough" air left.
Our second dive lasted over an hour. A leisure dive out to the tanker then to the Cessna and Silver Comet before swimming along the north wall of the student cove. We ended at the platforms and practiced shooting a bag again.
Frank needed to get his tanks filled, so we had an extended surface interval and ate lunch. We were all set for Dive Three, Frank was zipped into his semi-dry and I was getting into my dry suit. Disaster struck (well, not really). My neck seal tore. Geez, I feel like I just got this dry suit ... but it has been 15 months, and I do have over 100 dives on it (good guess, Chris ...), so I can’t complain too much. Luckily I did bring my wet suit. So I was able to dive. But poor Frank, he was stuck (somewhat literally) in his semi-dry while I got out of my dry suit and into my farmer john.
Disaster averted, we continued with Dive Three; another hour under water. This time we went to the school bus (okay, slight detour to the Hell Diver; it was so silty, I actually crashed into the bottom without seeing it coming; or as Frank observed, it was just that the silt got so thick that we could no longer fin through it). From the school bus, we went to the Cessna, then around the island (dropping down to show Frank the crane) back to the Cessna, then to the school bus and out. Again, we practiced shooting our bags, and finished the dive with "enough" air.
Greg joined us for the fourth dive. The classes had gone well, Jackie, Chris, and Larry were relaxing and re-hydrating. We were running out of time before the staff were going to kick us out, so we decided just to go out to the tanker and back. Another nice dive, pretty cold out by the tanker (I am spoiled diving dry ...); we did our safety stop on the way back, swimming through the shallows. Lots of fishies kept us company. I kept offering them my octo, but it seemed to scare them away.
So, another day of kamikazee diving is behind me. Only four dives this time; but 3.5 hours underwater; that was a good day in my book.
Made my obligatory stop at The Spot (coffee shake, this time) and headed home.