Diving the Vandenburg off Key West, 120 or so feet. Oct 8, 2011
The exhausting part of divingIt's not the students, it's not the diving itself... it's managing those lines when we are diving the Vandenberg, a 500 foot long wreck, 150 ft deep (100 ft. at the top deck)! So different from the 30 ft. and smaller boats I was used to working on in the Caribbean and Panama! Our boat is 46' long. We trail out a 30 ft long "tag" lin off the stern when we are moored. Midway on this line, we tie a 15 ft. descent line with 28 lbs of weight attached. To the bottom of that line we secure a "hookah", which has regulator attached to a tank on the boat (additional air for safety stops). Then we have to take an 80 ft. line that's connected to the descent line and swim that forward to the mooring line (where the boat is tied off) and connect that at 15 ft. The 15 ft. point is important because after deep dives you always do a "safety" stop for a minimum of 3 minutes to allow your body to decompress (release nitrogen that builds up in tissues during a dive. Not releasing this nitrogen causes "the bends" aka decompression sickness). Well Billy, the dive master on board, tied all the lines, I watched. Then we did our 20 min. 100 ft. dive on the "Vandy", which was of course awesome! Imagine swimming through the spaces of a satellite dish... well I did! The wreck has two on it's deck and we get to swim through them... awesome! Also saw a ray with a "wingspan" of 3-4 ft! Well, to test me, since I had not taken care of lines on the wreck dives yet, they had me untie them all and bring the line back aboard. Oh, and did I mention the sea was really rough, we had squall conditions, and 3-4 ft. seas, lucky me... So at the end of the dive, I descend once more to 15 ft., release the hookah, swim forward to the bow and release the transverse line, coiling it around my arm as the current swiftly carries me back to the stern of the boat (rear). Ok, so I've got small hands and this is a 1 in. diameter line that is 80 ft. long. So that was rough. I finally get it all coiled, but not secured, heft it over my shoulder, but still have to take my fins off to board the boat by ladder. And I let go of the tag line, so the current carries me 10 feet away... struggle with the fins some more.... remember, I've also got an 80 ft. line coiled over my shoulder so I only have one hand to hold the tag line so I don't float away AND to take my fins off. Well, after floating away a few times, I finally get my damn fins off (really need two hands because they are open-heel dive fins not full foot fins) and there is NO WAY I'm getting up that ladder with a fully soaked 80 ft. line and my tank and weights and gear and fins in my hands. Although that is what they expect. So, my challenge is to coil the line better underwater, next time hook it to the descent line (that's assuming I can coil it correctly and secure it underwater!), then get my butt out of the water and haul it all up on board. Let me just say this, my arms are frickin tired today and usually I never use my arms when we are diving! Had lunch and a very hot shower (It's cool and rainy here...) and now it's nap time. I'm pooped! For you non-sea dogs, a line is a rope! :-)
What an AMAZING year, can't believe it's nearly over. I ran nearly 400 miles (50 miles in Oct) Fell in love Moved to a new state and state of being (more running ha ha!) Bought another motorcycle Quit the Food Hole Worked in a backwardass-hillbilly-bar-from-hell Visited a state I'd never been to before (twice) Enjoyed spending wonderful, bonding time with my Dad and bestest friends Carole and Debbie Survived 20 degrees up to 108 degrees in TX Gave up my dog Started taking Bikram Made new friends Struggled and survived Lived in 3 different places Found a new apt in Key West...
I know 2012 is going to be awesome and I am going to kickassandbetakinnamesbeeyatches!
Happy New Year!
PS 2012 was great! I fell in love again... with someone else (wink), had a blast in Key West, traveled to NOLA with my Sis, SCUBAd all over, taught a bunch of people how to SCUBA dive, rode my motorcycle all over, enjoyed the heck out of my Key West garden home, and actually stayed in the same city for nearly 2 years (July 2011- Jan 2013)