Sunday, September 16, 2007

A sunny day at Hyde's quarry

It was a rainy morning and chilly Saturday when we got up to go to weight watchers. We attended our meeting and then headed to our favorite farm market in Pennsylvania and then went home to get the gear and the kids for a day of diving at Hyde's Quarry. Meghann is working on getting enough dives to start her Dive Master training over Christmas. The day ended up clearing and was sunny with a bit of a wind and an air temperature of about 62 degrees, the water was in the 60's above 15 feet, then probably around mid 40's below that.
Getting together all the dive gear after so long proved challenging but we managed to find everything. I'd forgotten just how much work it was just to get everything together and get suited up for the dives. I'd taught scuba in the pools at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree with Mark, but we used their gear and all I needed of my own was my warm water wetsuit. I haven't been in anything deeper than the pool in a little over 4 years. I had done a lot of diving in the past so I have a lot of wetsuits in a lot of different thicknesses and varieties.
This is me while I chilled for awhile on the surface in between dives. They've added a school bus, car, sailboat, concrete culverts to swim through, and some other little things to look at in the water. As you can tell from the hood and the thickness of the wetsuit, we were at a cold water location. Since the water above 15 feet wasn't too cold, the thick wetsuit was plenty warm for that area, but as soon as you dropped below the thermocline, you knew it immediately by the temperature drop, no need to pick up the depth gauge and look!
Meg has an underwater housing for her digital camera and took this good picture of Jon underwater. He hasn't been underwater for the same 4 years I had been away, and he did fine getting back into it. His comfort level seemed very good and it made me proud. Jon and I took our initial diving classes together back in 2001, and we were both apprehensive in some ways back then, we helped each other a lot, I had been very apprehensive about learning to dive and he even held my hand when I needed it. It's hard to believe that's been 6 years ago already!

The fish at Hyde's quarry are trained to come around when there are divers in the water, especially to the training platforms. When I was doing assistant teaching and safety diving, we always used to bring ez cheeze to feed the fish so that the divers on their check outs would be distracted and get comfortable with being underwater while using the fish as a diversion. The fish followed us as we swam to and from the various things underwater. You can see us swimming ahead. That's Mark in the lead, with Jon to my left, and I was on the right wearing Jon's blue fins for this dive. Here's a good one of Meg after our two dives as we were unsuiting and getting the gear unhooked and put away. :) Diving is definitely a gear intensive activity and it took awhile to get organized. It was nice to have 2 cars there to carry everyone and everything. I used to leave the tank mat in my jeep all the time and my gear pretty much stayed accessible all year long. But those days have been replaced by the business and Civil War reenactment and all the other things that we now do when we used to be diving.
Here's Jon switching dive shoes with me. I'd been using my good fins and big boots that I had when I was diving every week and my legs were hurting. Jon and I traded fins and boots and I was a lot happier the second dive. The good fins take much more leg muscle strength than I had after being out of the water for 4 years, I guess I'll have to use my split fins like Jon's the next time I get into the water until I build up my legs again. I ended up getting horrible leg cramps while I was diving, probably from lack of activity.
This shot is photographic evidence that my son was being a pita underwater, riding on my back as we dove. (And yes, it's harder to swim with another person on your back! Meghann got this one so I could prove that Jon was doing this even once we got out of the water and he started acting innocent. I did so many dives as the "watcher of the students" that pretty much nothing phases me, so it was no big deal, but Jon thought he was really doing something evil.
Here are Jon and I sitting in the back of his Element eating our lunch between dives. Diving makes you hungry and tired and after id had been so long, it really kicked my butt! It was so much fun though, and I'm glad that we went all together, it was nice to dive with Mark and Meg and Jon again. It had been way too long.

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