One of the most difficult things I’ve found about being a scuba instructor is making sure that I find and keep a balance between doing enough diving purely for fun and putting aside time for teaching. A few weeks ago I got a call from one of my former students who reminded me that I was always talking about taking a day off and going diving. So we got our calendars out and picked Friday, June 29th as the date of this year’s day to play hooky from work (yeah I took a vacation day) and heading up to go scuba diving for a day at Dutch Springs. So this weekend was all about the FUN DIVING! How do you know? Because you won’t see any underwater photos from me this weekend, since I left the camera at home 🙂
I typically come up to Dutch Springs to teach my Advanced Open Water class. The visibility at Dutch is consistently better than at Hyde’s Quarry, they have multiple attractions, it’s a big place, and there’s plenty of infrastructure (including food, restrooms, showers, air fills, and electricity). The only down side is that it’s a SOLID 3 hour drive from my house.
Friday morning, I headed out to my buddy’s (and former student) house with a car packed full of scuba and camping gear and made our way up to Dutch Springs. We met a couple of other friends up there and hit the water. We got in some really nice relaxing diving this weekend. The warm clear waters of the Caribbean it ain’t, but then again this wasn’t my first rodeo diving quarries in this area, so it was pretty good for our local diving.
Water temperatures this weekend were in the 70s at the surface. There was a thermocline at about 20 feet that dropped the water down to about 64 degrees. Another thermocline at 38 feet dropped the temperature down to about 55 degrees F, and down near 80 feet the water was about 46 degrees. I was diving wet this weekend (vs a dry suit) and I gotta tell ya, I was missing it.
Our first dive was down to the pump house (no, we didn’t see the helicopter) down to 80 feet. It was 46 degrees down there. We got to explore and just take our time looking around. There was a stairway and some secondary structures that I had never really taken the time to look at before.
Our second dive was spent starting from the student platforms and taking a leisurely “stroll” across the line, seeing the fire truck, the van (which I refer to at the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine), and the boat.
Several of our divers were wearing our crocs from the “I have stopped trying” collection. Crocs: Not so great for looking cool, but fantastic for going from wet to dry environments.
A couple of us went ahead and camped out at Dutch on Friday night. I’m usually not a big camping guy, but it was really relaxing. It was so odd to have the run of the facility as they shut down for the day. The lightning bugs were out, we grilled up some tacos, we picked a primo spot for some Saturday AM diving and we hit the sack.
First thing Saturday morning we hit the water. If I’m not mistaken we were the first ones in at about 8:20am. Our first dive we followed the line from the fire truck, to the boat, and all the way down to the tanker, a deep dive taking us down to over 70 feet and right back to 46 degrees. It was pretty sweet to be the first ones in and having those huge smiles on our faces on our way back to our setup.
Our second dive we got a chance to check out the helldriver, the school bus, and we swam along the wall along the way back. Last, but not least, we practiced some of our underwater navigation to shoot straight out to the Challenger 600 airplane.
We finished up and were back home by 5:00pm on Saturday. In my Open Water classes, I highly encourage my students to wash their gear after every dive outing. I imagine that some of them think I’m full of it, but let this photo be proof that indeed DWF actually washes his gear after dive outings…even when he’s exhausted.
This was a great weekend, and I’ll try to do it more often. Thanks so much for those of you who came up to share some diving with me. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, next time maybe YOU should come with us!