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Starting to dive again: NoVa area questions
mellowcalico - 11/06/2012 6:30 AM
Category: New Diver Q&A
Replies: 5

I am not exactly new to diving, but I suppose I am new again. I haven’t been diving in about 8 years but recently I did a couple of dives with my original instructor back in San Diego (so I have the bug again). I am Nitrox certified and took a wreck survey class, but I am looking to take more tech classes (and I would love to dive more wrecks).

Anyway, I live in Northern Virginia now and am looking to start diving here, but I am trying to figure out what kind of diving there is and when it is. I am used to shore dives in Southern California, year round. Is there any shore diving in this area or is it all by boat? And considering it’s seasonal here, when is the "dive season?" Are there any other tips or things I should know? for example, I had a buddy in California warn me that on the East Coast, divers go off boats negative (we always went in positive off a boat and gave the dive master an okay before descending). And what about buddies? Back in San Diego, I could usually just show up on a boat and buddy up with someone there-there were usually a few people on-board who needed buddies or if there weren’t most buddy pairs would take on a third. Do people do that here or do they pre-arrange buddies before going to the boat? What’s the best way to find diving buddies (other than this website).

I am just trying to figure out things like that. Thanks!
lerpy - 11/06/2012 7:59 AM
Hey there, welcome back to diving. I am not in your area, but reading your post I thought I would chime in on one thing and that is going off boats negative bouyant. For me and the boats I dive on regularly the majority of the time it’s as your famliar with off the boat, give the ok, then decend. However on occasions I have gone off boats negatively bouyant, once when diving in Florida, and the rest of the time up here in the St Lawrence. The only time doing it is because A) we are in a current and want to get down tot he site before you are off it, or the other because the St Lawrence is an international shipping channel, the boat captain has to get the divers off quickly and get out of the way of oncoming ships. The first time I did I was a little hesitant, but now that I am famliar I just know in some case I am going to have to go off the boat quickly pretty much decending immediately.

Good luck.
LatitudeAdjustment - 11/07/2012 2:02 PM
There is an active meet-up group in the DC area that is actually a bunch of dive clubs that meet up I think once a week at a bar. Joining one of those clubs will open up a lot of group trips.

From what I’ve seen most of their "shore diving" is a quarry in the south of the state. There are some dives in the Patomic, even a u-boat but thats dark water, Most consider NC their local diving.

You could probably find some year round diving if you have a drysuit or want to venture up to Mount Storm in WV but for the most part the season runs summer into fall with tropical storms blowing out the NC diving a lot, that’s why NC has so many wrecks to dive in the first place.
mellowcalico - 11/15/2012 7:42 AM
Thanks for the info Lerpy and Latitude. I don’t plan on getting dry suit training in the spring (along with doubles and whatever else I can fit in a week’s worth of training), so I will be out of the water for a while. Even though I went diving with my instructor a few weeks ago, I think I might take a refresher course too at a local dive shop. I’ll look into the clubs too!
BoneCrusher - 11/27/2012 10:36 AM
Hey there, I live in northern VA and the shore diving we have around here is in quarries. There are several quarries in northern VA, MD and southern PA. If you go to any of the local dive shops they will have passes to purchase to use a quarry they use for training. If you go to one of the dive shops around Ocean City, MD they will have a boat and offer trips out in the ocean for some boat diving on wreaks. There is a nice quarry south west of Richmond, VA called Lake Rawlings and I believe that you can dive there year round. Most if not all of the quarries have items sunken in the quarry for you to explore.
John_giu - 6/18/2013 7:59 AM
You will find a lot of posts for DUTCH Springs here in Bethlehem PA (not far from Allentown)

It’s at least a couple of hours from North VA, but has over-night camping and some budget motels

and a dive shop close by. The web site has a buddy finder or you can find plenty of people here.

Take your cold water gear if you still have it. Late in the season we dive it in 1 mil wet suits if we stay above 30 feet.

It’s a great place to shake out the old skills.

And it’s much better then the other PA quarries.

Look me up if you need a dive buddy.