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New Diver
Silvertongue - 10/23/2009 4:37 AM
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Category: Personal
Comments: 1
New Diver

So, my main dive buddy Chris went and got himself a job to pay the bills....sadly it JUST covers the bills and has him working 6 days a week. Having just gotten back from Afghanistan in October, I had a whole summer of, oddly enough, both time AND money to spare....and Chris working. What to do, what to do? Unfortunately, my girlfriend is medically unable to join me so I said what the hell and took her 14 year old daughter Laura down to the dive shop. (the nice thing about enrolling a minor is I got to go along and play in the water with her for free) Well, she took to it like she was born with webbed feet. Her open water was at Gilboa Quary in Findley OH. At the end of Saturday morning she was officially a certified open water diver, and enjoyed it so much we decided that, since her gear was rented through Monday, we’d fill up our tanks before leaving Gilboa and head up to Higgins lake MI (kidnapping Chris on the way) and enjoy a wet Sunday afternoon. (a feat made easier since HIS girlfriend was in the same class as Laura)

Well, Chris, Laura, Sheri and I hit Higgins Lake in our usual fashion....hours behind schedule, but we had beautiful weather and full air tanks so who cares. As we hauled out our gear and began setting up Sheri opted to sit out the first dive so Chris, Laura and I got our gear ready and began the "death march" nearly a 1/4 mile through shin deep water to the drop off, a boring task in a bathing suit, a pain in the ass in full gear. What followed was damned near textbook diving. We did our surface checks to make sure we were ready to dive, went over our signals and goals/limits etc and went down. I was really impressed with Laura’s diving, her bouyancy was near perfect and even though I was in the lead it never took me more than a second or 2 to locate her when I looked back. She didn’t seem to have any problems with the sounds of boats and jetskis passing over head (something she never had to deal with at Gilboa) Even though it had been probably 2 years or more since Chris and I had been to this site, the yellow rope marking the local sights was there. We followed it to the right, past the old row boat and on to the cabin cruiser. The old boat, sitting in 40+ feet of water was inhabited with fish, as usuall. Chris and I let Laura check the wreck out for a bit then towed her off back down the rope. Passing out entry point we headed farther on down the line to the pontoon. I guess the 3 days of long drives, loading/unloading vans and such got to me because I got the air sucking dog award for the dive, hitting our 1500psi limit before the other 2 (even though the midget was only using an aluminum 63. Back up the rope we went, to our starting point then reverse compass heading up the dropoff to our safety stop where, once again, Laura’s bouyancy impressed as she just sat there at 15’ like she was a piece of fruit stuck in jello. After our computers all agreed that it had been 3 minutes we finished the trip up the dropoff and tried to make it as far in as we could before bobbing to the surface. The second worst part of diving Higgins the post dive death march (the first being the same no matter where you dive: packing up and leaving)

Now it was Sheri’s turn...she was ready (Laura, however, was severly pooped and took her turn at sitting out) This trip...not so textbook....when we got down to the yellow rope Sheri got a reminder of the importance of THOUROUGH buddy checks at the surface....yup, Mr wonderfull here had managed to secure his gage hose under the cumberbund of my B.C. after attempting to double check my compass bearing at the rope I realized I couldn’t get my gages far enough up to read them and had to have Chris help readjust me at depth. After that it was business as usual. Despite her worries Sheri’s bouyancy was great, again, as if she’d been at it for years. Sadly, I did opt to cut our trip to the pontoon off. We had stired up too much silt on our first trip that visibility, in that direction, was non existant at best. I decided not to mar a new diver’s first, post certification, dive by getting her lost disoriented and possibly separated from us, so we turned it around and headed back out, we still spent about 15 minutes at depth, probably a good 1/2 hour over all and a good time was had by everyone (and Chris had finally gotten back in the water)


UWnewbee - 10/28/2009 2:26 PM
Wish I was that age again,,, luggin the gear never bothered me cause it was small and there was Always someone else to carry the BIG stuff! Now theres just Me! and all the big stuff.