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In the warm and cold waters of the Bay August 13, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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Last night (Aug 12, 2009) I headed up to Big Bay Point after work for and evening and night dive with Roger. Matt, along with some students and divemasters in training was finishing an open water class and doing some night certifications, but I was just there do dive and practice.

The weather was clear and fairly warm without much wind, but there were small waves and a bit of current. No problems with that. I entered from the boat ramp because I wanted to gently test the rigging on my new Faber 45 and doing a giant stride entry was a bit much to begin with I thought. It still had EAN50 having been filled for the wreck course in July, so my plan was to swim around with it and breathe it on the safety stop.

Our dive plan was to swim westward from the post box along a newly laid line out past the two ducks (the first one is a decoy on a post, while the second is a bathtub toy also mounted on a post. We discovered that the line continued past the log where the previous line ended to another large piece of wood. Not much else was to be seen.

From there we headed north and deeper to 58 feet, about as much as we could stand in our wet suits  without hoods (62F, 17C), the back eastwards towards the main line. On the way we didn’t see much except a mysterious yellow nylon rope heading down at an angle. Because of the thermocline (dropping another 6C/10F) we didn’t follow it but I’ll try another day. We swam slightly south of east gradually going shallower (and warmer!) meeting the line at around 40′ where the 2 inboard/outboards lie weighted down with rocks. We only found 1, and Roger told me later that some of our buddies had moved one of them deeper to have something more to see at depth (rather than just a skateboard).

The Faber was holding fast to the D-rings on my BC, but was about 6″ away from my body. I would rather have it much closer and will try to tighten it, but may eventually abandon the DIR method in favor of a neck ring. The latter is a very secure connection but the story goes that one might be caught on something and with the DIR method you can free yourself by cutting the line with a knife. Sounds plausible, but I’ve never read nor heard of an accident where someone was trapped by their deco bottle, so it may be mitigating what is a negligible risk.

On the inboard/outboard I tried out my new PADI white balance card (basically a blank slate but it has some coloured areas on it which will come in handy for the Deep Diver Specialty Dive 1). I found out then that each preset on my camera has separate programming for the function buttons, and I’d programmed the quick entry to the white balance function in a non-underwater mode (hopefully some of you at least will understand what I’m talking about here!). It also reinforced that my close-up vision is deteriorating with age and it’s getting high time to do something about it. I’m going to try inserts in my mask to begin with, but if that doesn’t work out will have to shell out for a prescription lens or two. Nonetheless I took some test pictures and will see how they turn out tonight.

With plenty of air still in our tanks (about 1800 PSI as I recall) we then headed off further east at 30′ to the speedboat, which is a fairly long swim. I practiced dropping my Faber on the deck of the boat and picking it up again, adjusting my BC to counteract the weight differences.

From there we headed down to 40′. Here I observed the half-buried log that I’d seen a few weeks earlier while practicing underwater searches. This time I carefully measured it’s orientation with my compass, and found that it was oriented 5°/185°. This information turned out to be useful on the subsequent night dive. We then headed west again and about 2/3rds of the way back to the main line we saw a line anchored to the bottom floated with a plastic jug and covered with Zebra Mussels. How exciting! A new discovery for me at least, as Roger said he’d seen it before but hadn’t known exactly where it was.

Further along we ran into a patch of weeds, also heavily coated with Zebra Mussels, that I’d recognised from the tour around the inboard/outboard, and sure enough, we were there.  As we’d already been there and Roger was getting a little low on air (he was using a borrowed AL63) we started up the slope, although I stopped to photograph the Crayfish that live under the log where conduct our open water training. I noticed that in the low light of the recesses where they live that my camera wouldn’t focus in macro mode. It was fine in the regular focus mode, though. Once again I also practiced dropping my stage bottle and picking it up again.

Finally, we swam underwater back to the dock and exited on the ladder. Iwas really happy with the dive, having had a chance to practice skills and explore a bit making a very familiar and not very exciting dive site a little more interesting. For as long as I can keep doing these short getaways I intend to make plans like these so each dive has a mission, however trivial, and by this I’ll keep from getting bored even when dive the same place time after time. Of course, the occasional student will do that as well, which is one of the reasons after all I became an instructor.

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1. Depth and Colour « Chronicle of an older diver - August 15, 2009

[…] pictures, both taken of the same object at 40′ in the fresh waters of Lake Simcoe on the first dive last Wednesday Night, were taken a minute apart. The first was with flash, and the second with natural […]

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