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Going Deep
Saturn5 - 5/23/2007 12:00 AM
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Category: Personal
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Going DeepLast weekend was great weather down at Beaver Lake. Went down with my dive shop for a weekend trip. Initially I was going to finish up my advanced course work but there was a bit of a snag with instructors so I just went fun diving. Wound up that Lee didn`t have any dive cons with him for this trip so I offered to help him out in whatever way he needed.

Pretty much I took care of the boat for him and helped his class into and out of the water. I buddied up with one of the guys in the class for a bit during some drills exercises just to even things out some. There were a couple of other fun divers down that weekend too, so we kind of buddied up for some individual dives as well.

Ira had done a whole lot of diving over in the Red Sea, but hadn`t dived here before. One of the dives we started out doing buddy stuff and Dan (one of the fun divers) stayed on the boat. When we had finished up doing buddy drills Lee took the class people and Ira and I headed off to explore a bit. Think we dropped down to around 54 feet on that dive. Got kind of cold down there, especially for Ira. Later we met back up at the boat area and I led the group down to a school bus that`s submerged. Two in the group aborted because she was cold. The rest of us had fun piddling around the bus, then came up with a safety stop checking out and feeding some hotdogs to the fish during our pennance time.
The next day we decided to go back out to the foundations site (where the bus is). The class worked on some nav skills and Ira and I decided to drop over into the channel for some deep time. We surface swam out on course 210 to save air so we could join the group on the bus dive later. When we dropped we found we landed on the 36` shelf right next to the drop off.... What are the odds. We checked each other for good and started down the channel. There were some really cool outgrowth trees along the shelf ledge. We checked with each other about every 10 feet or so and when we got to around 92 feet Ira signaled to go back up. We had planned that he would make the call based on cold for him. We came back up to the shelf and just followed terrain back on course 030 to the boat. This gave us plenty of time at the safety stop level.

We decided that since Adam was the one who wanted to come back to this site because he wanted to see the bus, then he should lead the group on the nav course dive, course 032 from the foundations bouy. We had found the bus at around 37 feet the day before, so course and terrain shouldn`t be too difficult. He swam a bit fast for leading a group, but came right on target... good job Adam. I told him about swimming a bit slower when leading a group and we piddled around the bus for a while. Surface instructions were to let me know when they reached 1000psi, when I got the first to signal I had Adam lead us back to the boat. He swam even faster this time so I kept the group together and we wandered around the safety stop area checking out this really cool, and quite large bass that had staked out it`s territory among some large rocks. When we came to surface, Adam was already on the boat. At least everyone was accounted for... :-)

After mouring the boat back we all went our ways. I met a friend over at the North Dam site for some deep diving of our own. On our first trek out we descended into a forest area and then a bit beyond, finding a shelf dropoff at about 108 feet. I was feeling pretty negative in bouyancy so chose not to drop off the shelf on that dive. Wound up being a good decision because Robert hadn`t taken into account the amount of air he had used setting the dive bouy. That and he breathes air a whole lot faster than I do. I gave him my octo at our safety stop and we played with the fish for a while... at least until we were out of vienna sausages. He then went back on his air and we came back up to our entry point. We checked our computers for dive planning and saw that we were still pretty good for going down deeper again. So we extended our surface interval just a bit to give a bit more margin, changed out tanks and planned our next dive.

On the last dive we planned on following the same path out to the 108 dropoff shelf. At 100` and every 10` after we would check each other to make sure everything was still good. We got to the shelf and I felt very neutral in my bouyancy this time so signaled to go. He signaled to go, so we went. We gradually descended and it started getting really dark really quick. Even the big lights weren`t really showing much around us. We did see a bit of a sloped bottom at about 127 feet and that was good for a visual reference to get rid of some of the vertigo feeling. We each hit 130 on guage and pretty much right away started what we thought was a very gradual ascent. The computer printouts later showed we came up a bit quicker than I had thought to the shelf area. We stopped at the 108 shelf a bit to chill a moment. Then moved up to 60 feet and stopped for a couple of minutes. Then stopped again around 30 feet for a minute or so. Then when we got to around 15 we chilled well past the computer time mark. When our air supply indicated it was time to head out we started back to the entry point, recovered our dive bouy and packed up our gear.

Didn`t really have much to see at 130 feet, it was very dark down there. But it was kind of cool to do the planned dive to that depth. Overall, I think I wound up with some really good technical skills dives this weekend.