Monday, March 29, 2004

I'm pleased to report that I am now a PADI-certified Open Water Diver. I completed my four open water dives over the weekend at Lake Pleasant on the Diver Down II. I have an unhappy history with cold water, so it took a lot of loin-girding before I could make that first big stride into the 61-degree lake. No rental suit is going to fit perfectly, and mine was a little loose on top - consequently more cold water got in and my body heat never really warmed it up. But it wasn't too bad, as long as I had some task to concentrate on. The first day - dives 1 & 2 - we seemed to spend a lot of time on the surface. Those of us with "floaty feet" laid back and played otter in the sun.

Lake Pleasant is an artificial desert lake, created by a dam, so there's not much to see below. Some people saw bass (there was a bass fishing tournament that weekend, as well as a car show and a boat show), but the most exciting thing I saw was a dead tree, standing where it had grown before the area was flooded. (Several people on the second day claimed to have seen two bass, one eating the other and both dead. That sounds like some Mideaval sign of coming Apocalypse, but since I didn't see it myself I'm not going to quit my day job.)

Sunday morning started out choppy, with the wind raising whitecaps on the lake, but we found a sheltered area near the boat ramp and after awhile the wind died down; visibility was good both days, about 20-25 feet. My "floaty feet" almost kept me on the surface this time, but for the efforts of our fearless instructor Frank pulling me under. By the end of dive 4 we'd stirred up the silt at the bottom enough to reduce visibility to arm's length. I felt sorry for the group that followed us, having to do their dives 1 & 2 in that soup!

P.S. The timestamp is a little under 3 hours west of AZ this evening. The server must think I'm in Hawaii now!


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