What Happened On The Way To The Davie

28 07 2007

Saturday, July 28th, 2007 ~

Well…. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a charter in Kingston, and Steve, Leigh, Sarah, and I had finished our surface interval, after an awesome dive on the City Of Sheboygan. Water temperature was 55, with a thermocline at about 70′, Maximum Depth of about 95′, very slight hint of a current, and a bottom time of about 37 minutes.

We were on the descent to the Davie, and I was descending pretty quickly ~ more quickly than normal. I was getting quite the squeeze from my drysuit, and was inflating it, as well as my wing. My stage reg got a bit tight to breathe from, so I looked down at the gauge, as well as checked the valve. After Thursday’s “learning” dive, I wasn’t going to make that mistake again (even though I knew I had checked it on the surface). It was on. I got a couple of good breaths again, then it got tight to breathe again. Then… nothing. There was no gas. Ok… switch to back up. I guess I had grabbed it a bit hastily, and ended up with part of the bungee in my mouth, as well as the reg. No problem, just want to get a few breaths… I was taking in water as well as air… again… So I removed the reg, replaced it again, and hoped for better this time. Nope… still getting water in, and the reg just wouldn’t sit right in my mouth. Steve donated his reg, I caught my breath, and up we went, back to the surface.

This all transpired at 88′.

Steve took the stage bottle down with him (he and Leigh went back down), and didn’t have a problem with it. Upon discussing it later on, he said that he does have a 2nd stage that does not have a pin, and if opened up, will “act funny.” Seeing as I was having trouble getting air out of it, I did open it up. I guess it did “act funny.”

Soo… the first thing I did, was go buy a new mouthpiece for my backup reg. It had one of those Apeks Comfo-bite ones on it before, and I can see now why they are garbage.

I have been diving this back up reg for over a year, and have not had a problem with it during drills and air shares. I guess when push comes to shove, and you really need your reg, the comfo bite is not the best option. Not for me anymore, anyway. That’s twice I’ve needed my reg in the span of two days, and both times, I couldn’t use it effectively (meaning, I couldn’t get it in my mouth properly).

Safe diving…

Quarry Skills Dive

26 07 2007

Thursday, July 26th, 2007 ~

Steve and I headed up to Morrison’s Quarry in Wakefield, QC. I’ve been practising using stage bottles, and Steve handed me his last night. We were going to practice back finning, air shares, and valve drills. We ventured out to the plane, to the tug boat, then down to the submarine, where we met up with Kevin and Jeremy, also working on skills. We milled around while JJ was deploying a bag, and went back to the plane, to work on air sharing with a stage.

Steve called “OOA,” and I donated my stage reg and switched to my backup reg. I then deployed my long hose, stowed the stage reg, and we hovered there for a second. What I didn’t know, was that Steve had turned off my stage. When I put the stage reg back in my mouth, I had no gas. I went to my back up reg, which I had a hard time with, as I had already swallowed some water, so Steve shoved his primary in my hand, to which I was able to stick in my mouth.. Phew…

Ok… a few things to learn from here… I am new to stage diving, and did not know that I am supposed to shut it off when donating long hose. I do know that it is off when not in use and charged. What I did not know, was that Steve had shut it off. He did notice that I was putting the reg in my mouth and was tempted to turn it on, but decided not to. He wanted to see what I would do. Not a bad thing to do, but I think that he should have either shown me that he was turning the stage off or told me that I needed to shut it off myself. Another lesson, was that I should darn well purge that reg before shoving it in my mouth. Afterthought too… It would have been much easier to just reach down and turn on the stage reg. Being half-arsed new to stage diving, it wasn’t my first reaction… something I will practice.

Anyway, once I got a few breaths in me, I reconfigured everything, clipped off my long hose etc., and carried on with the dive. Everything was ok, and lessons learned.

I didn’t feel so bad during our dive debrief with our buddies… Apparently, they had practiced a stage gas donate as well, and also had things to work on.

Next dives.. Kingston and Ivy Lea! The weekend is almost here!

The Back Mine

22 07 2007

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 ~

Steve, Leigh, Sarah, and I took a drive to the ferry, to cross over to Buckingham, QC. We were going to have a splash in the Back Mine. This was an old mine that was eventually flooded, that is listed in dive books as a dive site, but not many people actually dive it. The back road leading up to the side is every off-roaders dream… not exactly great for a dive gear transportation unit, with 4 sets of doubles, stages, gear, and 4 divers. There were bumps, holes, trenches, hills up and down galore! After spending most of the trip across the back road cringing every time the mud flaps and trailer hitch scraped the ground (keep in mind that we were going about 10 km/h), we made it!

There were a couple of campers that were packing up as we got there, who said that they had wolves invade their camp site, the night before. They opened their tent, and were face to face with one, who tried to bite one of them. They ended up sleeping in the van.

We unpacked our van, and gawked at the gorgeous entry point. It’s basically an above ground cave, that you can see right through. The water was very clear, but also pretty chilly. There is often ice on top of this site until late June, as it’s covered by the rock, and no sunlight gets to it.

Another van with 4 single tank divers pulled up to the site while we were getting ready, and hadn’t been there before. They asked about the site, and when pulling out their dive book, Steve realized that what was printed in the book was not correct. It said that there were three chambers and that they went to a depth of 390′! Not so much..

Yes, there are places that lead to deeper places in the mine, but the OW part of the dive only goes to about 110′.

As we were getting ready, we noticed that one of us had forgotten fins (nope.. wasn’t me! ). So we had to take turns.. Leigh and Sarah went in first, and were in for about 30 mins. Next, it was time for Steve and I to go for a splash…

We got in the water, and as we descended, it turned dark as night. With the cave-like structures above, there was no ambient light. My little 10w was a bit dull compared to the 24w camera lights Steve had. We followed the wall to the back of the mine, where there were amazing rock formations, some truck parts, a computer monitor , and a car at the end of it. Apparently, there was a newer model Toyota pulled out of there not too long ago. I am not quite sure how it got there, as there is no entry that you can fit a car through, leading up to the site.

There are a couple of spots where there is chain link fence, that has been torn for diver and hiking entrances. I really don’t know how a car got through it!

While in the water, I found the Owner’s Manual to the Toyota, and Steve found the Pouch with all the car info in it. We captured that on video too….

Well.. seeing as I have a very leaky dry suit, I only lasted for about 29 minutes. Water Temperature was 41, and Maximum Depth was 71′.

It was a beautiful dive, and a great day to do it!