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.

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