Saturday, January 31, 2009

Interesting Dive Log Website

I found this little gem one day just wasting time on the computer.

I haven't signed up yet. But only because I have so many dives to log it seems like a huge project. But I can see the benefits of this website.

It would be great for those just starting to dive. :) And it is free. There is a place to look around before you sign up too.

So there it is. Check it out. Let me know what you think about it and if you sign up and what it is like :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Being Prepared

I think divers have to always be on their toes. Always thinking ahead to what might happen. What might go wrong. By doing this, it helps you prepare for the dive.

It isn't a sport for those who are lax in doing what needs to be done to prepare.

But sometimes you don't know what it is you need to prepare for.

This post is about one of my very first dives AFTER my certification, about 10 years ago.

We headed down to the home of Superman! Metropolis (Illinois to be exact). They have a nice, large diving site down there called Mermet Springs. We were staying the weekend just for some diving fun, just the two of us.

The first day was great (we got there on a Friday). Lots of room and the weather was warm and the water was cold. Too cold to go too deep. (I like it like that, when you know how deep you are just by the temperature :)

The second morning was crazy. There were classes (large ones) every where. The heat was majorly intense (90*). We still had to wear our 8 mm suits because the water was so cold. With hoods. And gloves.

My poor hubby just can't stand getting so hot. He was ready to get in and saw a gap in the line of people getting in, so we went.

We got in and went right down to the school bus they have close to the main dock (we wanted to get out of the way of the classes). The bus sits at about 20 or 25'.

The next thing I know, he's asking if I'm ok and I'm shaking my head no vigorously. I KNOW there was a look of panic on my face.

I was getting ready to puke.

Here I am, 25' down, thinking, OMG how am I gonna do THIS?

I tried to calm myself down as I debated whether to head for the surface or just try to stay. I kept thinking back to my training and any stories I had heard about puking underwater and what to do.

I knew what had caused it. The massive sudden change in temperature. It hit my body like I had been dumped into a tub of artic ice, fully submerged.

As I stood on the top of the bus, debating, I began to get a bit more acclimated to the water temperature. The rushing nausea subsided bit by bit. I was NOT going to get sick :) Yeah for me!

I swam around a bit checking out the bus and trying to get my mind off it. It worked. We were able to continue on a nice shallow dive with no problems.

So my question is this. How do you prepare for that?? No one had ever told me about how that sudden change might affect my body. Maybe it doesn't happen to others. ?

Over the next few years, I asked others about puking underwater. All said it was possible, you gotta keep the reg in your mouth, and then you gotta have it serviced right afterwards for a good cleaning.

I would prefer for it just not to happen.

And I learned how my body doesn't like a fast temperature change, so I have subsequently avoided that.

Any other comments on if this has happened to you and such would be great. Tell me a good story :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Ocean

A Humorous Yet Thoughtful Poem

The Ocean is a Woman

The ocean is a woman and I can prove it.

Depending on the season, it's calm, fluid and captivating

or rough, angry and roaring.

Men continue to try to conquer it and out manuveur it.

They explore it and dive to the depths.

Which leads to land being a man.

Just look at the continent of Africa or South America.

Or the best example, the state of Florida. Need I say more?

The ocean is a woman and mother of all.

It heals, inspires, and nutures us

Yet dares us to walk on it.

(Once again, men invented surfboards and boats.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why Did I Start Scuba Diving?

What made me think I could do it? What made me even want to do it?

I asked hubby the other night because I really didn't know.

He said it started when we got married in Jamaica. We saw them going out and thought we would like to try it and were kicking ourselves when we got home.

I said, "Yes, okay, but what made us even think about doing it?"

He replied, "We're adventurous." (yeah that is me jumping into the water)

Which is true. I love doing different things. I love trying new things, to an extent. I still go to McDonalds and order the same thing over and over. I rarely try new food. I know what I like. I hate the changing of plans or rituals. But I do like to experience different things. And I am awfully dog gone curious.

I wondered what was down there. What did it look like? What could you see? What was there?

Nowadays I am much more comfortable down under than floating on the top. You can't see anything from up there. I would rather see something scary and face it head on than not know it was there.

So I guess it was all about the unknown. And I could make it known, so I (we) did.

But I had a lot on my side before we ever even started. My whole life we had swimming pools. I spent my summers swimming and was never afraid of the water. We canoed and swam in rivers. I went on cruises with my family when I was young and saw the vastness of the ocean. We visited beaches.

Water is very comforting to me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Fight with Myself

I am a toucher. Now mind you, I don't want to touch coral, or break it off, or damage anything ever. If there is a sign posted, or a law, that says DO NOT TOUCH, I won't.

But what about when you can? And want to?

I love have my picture taken with various creatures. I think it all started when I was 8 and they had a bobcat at the place where we bought our family car. I got my picture taken hugging it. Not the car, the bobcat. (The poor thing was so drugged it could barely open it's eyes as I look back to the pic.)

I also am a big proponent of protecting marine life. Do no harm. Protect the ecosystem, etc.

I have had my picture taken with the porcupine puffer, a sea cucumber (I am actually snuggling with it), and several starfish. I have had my picture taken while petting/scratching manatees. None of the animals were harmed. I have been one on one with sea turtles and never touched them due to the laws.

I have also petted dolphins at Sea World. I have had clams opened up and killed to get the pearl (at Sea World.) But I don't eat fish (well, except tuna) but only because I don't like the taste of any of it.

So I struggle with myself. Get a cool picture with an odd animal or get one of just the animal. They just seem so much better with a person involved.

I would imagine a lot of you have a lot to say about this subject. But please be kind - as I said, I fight with myself.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Scuba Diving is a Small World

I went to a meeting the other night for NEA. I arrived an hour early and just sat working on my computer (or "Pewter") as my 3 year old niece calls it.

As I sat there, FINALLY someone showed up. He had on a scuba diving jacket from a "rival" dive shop. (Yes, here in my city, they are all rivals and none of them like the other. Strange. It isn't the instructors or the students. It's just the dive shops in general that can't get along, but anyway . . .)

I immediately struck up a conversation. It is so rare to find a fellow diver and it tends to be a unique sport. I asked him about his shop and which one it was exactly. From there we proceeded to talk about local dives (Rolla, Dive Stop, and Mermet). Then we talked about the divemaster class. He is an instructor, so he had been through it. He asked how far I was and I explained the 2 measly things I still had to do.

Then, we spent the next 10 minutes talking about the equipment exchange. Everyone seems to have their own horror story. And everyone wants to hear everyone elses! It really is a small amount of people that you meet that can relate to that particular experience.

Personally, my story will be a long one, so that will probably be the next post, as I came home from that ordeal and wrote it all down and have been dying to get it on here. So stay tuned!

Anyway, I enjoyed getting to chat with someone about diving and share experiences. I am ready to hear about your scuba experiences so feel free to comment!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


My pond is frozen over. The larger pond down the way is frozen over. No watery waves or ripples to see anywhere. Just ice. How my poor fish do it is beyond me. I guess they don't get miserable in the cold.

It all got me to wondering when spring will REALLY arrive and how much longer after that it will take for the water to warm up.

I don't remember ever diving in April. May seems a bit early too.

The water needs so much sun to warm up. And then there is that period where the water turns over - murky, cloudy, ick.

We have dove well into September though. Some of the braver souls around here dive in October and cut out pumpkins - weirdos! :) I think I might be fine IN the water at that time of year but coming out to frigid cold really doesn't excite me at all especially if you already got chilled in the water.

I talked to a guy once who went ice diving. YIKES! Not only is it cold, you have to deal with getting lost under the ice. Not my idea of fun.

I'm ready for warm waters.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's Time to Finish the Story

Way back in the early days of this blog I started to tell the story of getting my Open Water certification. I never finished the story. So, here is the rest of it (or the more memorable parts). Finally. (here is a link to the first part of the cert. - here)

The second day (after I had spent all night warming up) started out ok. One of the final dives in that frigid water was to practice our CESA (controlled emergency swimming ascent), which is actually called something else by SSI.

The bottom of the mine is silt covered. Over rocks. CESA's take a long time. The instructor had to do each student individually, and sometimes more than once to get it right. To keep myself occupied, I began sifting through the rocks on the floor, looking for interesting things. (At this point I should mention that I am a true rock hound and this was quite enjoyable for me.)

As students went up and down, they began to really stir up the silt and the visibility went down to about 1'. Realize I didn't know this at the time. I didn't understand about silt getting stirred up. It was only my 4th time in the water.

I'm very patient. I was enjoying the rocks.

The next thing I know, I look up and can't see anyone. Anywhere. I figure I am pretty much alone. Then I noticed how cloudy and murky the water is. I can't see a thing.

Honestly, my very first thought was, "Oh my god. We had an earthquake. I am going to be trapped in this huge rock mine AND UNDERWATER!" But, I didn't panic. I checked my air. I stayed where I was.

The instructor found me. It was my turn to practice. Guess there wasn't an earthquake.

The next dive was the last. We went on a short tour of the mine, just working on buoyancy and such. The highlight was that they presented us with our certification patches UNDERWATER at the end of the dive. I liked that, but I wish I would have had a picture of it.

Since that time, we have never gone back. We just don't enjoy cold water dives. And there really isn't that much to see, even though the vis for the most part is great.

It was an experience to dive Bonne Terre Mine, but I am glad it is over and don't have to go back. Once is enough.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Where Do YOU Practice?

I'll admit it. I filled the tub with water, got my mask, and practiced breathing through the snorkel and taking the mask on and off when I got my first certification. Does anyone else do this?

I practiced the equipment exchange in my pool. By myself (kinda). I had my gear on without a tank. Hubby handed the reg back and forth (taking breaths) from outside the pool. I traded masks and bc's with him while I was underwater.

I practice hovering while students are on the platform waiting for their turn with the instructor.

I practiced the 15 minute tread in a pool 4 feet deep - talk about hard! Gotta kick sideways!

I also practice holding my breath incase I ever have any desire to do any free diving (which seems kinda silly to me when you got a tank handy).

I'll never forget the anxiety my mom had when I told her about the equipment exchange. I thought she was going to hyperventilate. She stated, "Well at least he (hubby) is going to be with you." It turns out he wasn't, but that is a whole other story.

Practice. It helps me. Repetition helps me. Knowing what I have to do helps me. Scuba is a sport of planning. I love it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great Winter Dive Trip

photo thanks to PD

I'm beginning to think more about scuba again, as you can tell from the blog frequency. I don't know if it is the new year or if it is that spring is on it's way.

I was going to write about my most favorite dive. But they all tend to run together. Except for one, that wasn't even a dive. It was a snorkel.

A few years back we had the opportunity to go to Florida over spring break. We are older and didn't want the whole spring break crowd thing. We went to see the manatees.

They stole my heart. I don't think I ever adored an animal before until after I had seen a manatee. What an amazing creature. But here is the whole story.

It ended up we left early - the night I got out of school, rather than wait till the next morning. We had lots of driving to do (17 hours) to get to the Crystal River/Homassas area in Florida. We had prearranged everything through American Pro Dive Center (great place and I would recommend them for any visit to the area)

Except because we left early, we didn't have that night arranged. We drove and drove and drove. We got stuck in the Tennessee mountains behind a bad tractor trailer accident. I tried to sleep but in the upright position, it just wasn't working. Finally I looked at hubby and said, "I gotta lay flat." It was 2 in the morning and we had to find a hotel. It wasn't much and it wasn't clean but at that point I didn't care. He got us up after about 5 hours and we headed on down in bright sunshine and warm weather.

I have to say I got a little nervous when I started seeing all the pools and such enclosed in fences. We were going diving. Alligators live in the water. I am much more afraid of an alligator than a shark.

We had rented a "bungelow" (which was a trailer) which was not what we expected but it was right on the water (Homassa River) and it was quaint and clean. It was a small park like setting with boat docks right there and a restaraunt/bar dock maybe 200 yards away. The weather was beautiful. The water was beautiful. The scenery was beautiful.

After getting unpacked we headed out to explore the area and ended up sitting down on the dock drinking beer with our feet hanging over. I said, "Wouldn't that the be coolest thing if a manatee was right here?"

And not 30 seconds later, there it was. RIGHT THERE! below our feet, nibbling on the algae and growth of a pontoon boat. We were in awe and shock and amazement. It wasn't scared. It didn't run or hide. It just kept eating while we stared, slack-jawed. Neither of us had ever seen one except in pictures.

That one moment was spectacular.

The next morning we were so pumped - we were going on the manatee snorkel with the shop. We watched a video about what we could and couldn't do (Florida laws) and headed out. It was a small amount of people, maybe 10, plus the guide and the boat driver.

We actually got to snorkel with them. I petted and scratched a momma and her baby. They were such amazing creatures. So calm and gentle. Yet powerful.

We did other dives down there - King's Cavern, Rainbow River, and a couple others that were fun but nothing compared to being with those manatees.

There are a lot more stories as this ended up being over a week long vacation, but the manatee encounters were truly the best and the highlight of the trip.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Strangest Dive

I have to say that one of the strangest dives I ever did was at a place called the Dive Stop in Missouri. We (four of us) were working on completing our dive map for our divemaster project.

Two of us had gone out in search of "other things" to map on the bottom.

We were over by the main dock and above us we see, in the water, a wedding party. No lie.

Now they weren't actually getting married at that moment. They were doing a trash the dress shoot. (Where the bride gets in the water with all her wedding attire on).

The poor girl was freezing and looked like she could drown at any moment because her dress was so heavy. Her dress was a long full strapless one and the water temp at the surface was about 65. Brr.

Well, we surfaced to check things out - just in case there was a problem.

The next thing we knew, we were asked to be in the photos. I did my best to look cute in all my cold weather gear - ha ha!

I didn't have MY underwater camera with me and I would doubt the photos came out very well. The water was murky and dark, even just below the surface.

But I have to say it was one of the weirdest, most unusual things that ever happened to me on a dive. The photo at the top is just before she fell in.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

SCUBA Pictures Sea & Sea MX5

I thought I would share some scuba pictures. These were taken in Jamaica on the north coast. With an Sea and Sea MX5. I was feeling reminiscent :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

SCUBA and the Economy

money photo courtesy of penywise
scuba gear photo - jdurham
For more FREE scuba photos, check out jdurham on

I have to admit. I am a bit worried about our sport and its continuation to grow. Scuba is a very expensive sport due to necessary equipment. With the depression (can I say that word?), people will not being looking to spend money for fun and enjoyment. And if they do, it will be much cheaper things, like movies, Wii, etc. But maybe I am wrong.

In the last few years, meaning 2 to 10 or whatever, the increase in the number of people who have learned to dive has grown A LOT. When we started diving, there weren't many people going out on the boats at our favorite resort (Couples).

A few years later, it was hard to get a spot on the boat sometimes. They had too many people taking their discovery dives to take certified divers. While inconvenient for us at times, it was great for the sport.

Now, as we are (yes still) getting ready to be divemasters, I WANT people to be knocking down the doors to learn to dive, because then I get to dive too! (not that I can't dive anyway, but it just gives more meaning to diving)

Our favorite resort doesn't seem to be fairing well in the current economy either. They are really pushing hard and have extremely low prices right now. But who can go? I'm worried that any minute the bank might close!

I guess those with lots of money will still be learning to scuba dive. But maybe not so many middle class like me anymore. Maybe I am wrong though. And I hope I am. Maybe a lot of people are making "learn to scuba dive" their new year's resolution!