Saturday, November 8, 2008

Today's Dive and Other "Fond" Memories!

Well. Jeff, David and I headed toward las cuevas for our usual dive. It has been a few weeks for Jeff and two weeks since David and I had a record setting 11 minute dive in what I call diarrhea water very similar to what I left behind in Washington's Puget Sound. We looked at the water and there were some waves, but not anything different than we'd done before. Some other divers said there was some surge and they stayed inside the first hole. We headed out the first hole and then out the second into the open! You go through tunnels under the reefs to do this. There was some fun current pulling back and forth, but not anything unmanageable. We saw a couple nice eagle rays and opted to come in with plenty of air because of the surge (thankfully) and not knowing how the tunnels would be getting back. Also David's hose unscrewed and he sunk like a rock until we screwed it back together and he could inflate. So we came back in after 50 minutes or so. David is the first to try to go from hole 2 to 1 in one of the tunnels that is an arm span wide. He can't go against the current and is sucked out and looses a glove in the process. The other holes are 1) wider nothing to hold on to to try to get out and 2) a very narrow one you squeeze through that would be really bad and not work. The only other option is up. We went up into breaking waves probably 5 feet with no space between sets. We take a long time and David and Jeff and I are all together for a bit trying to cross. The problem was that you could pull yourself forward but then you'd be sucked about 4 times that distance out and there wasn't a break between! The guys make it but I am having real trouble. I was right behind until I grabbed the wrong rock! I could see fins, I could feel safety and then I was totally screwed - the rock broke off and I was sucked way out to sea! I dropped and tried to gain some ground and then tried the "grab a rock and hold on, pull to the next and hold" etc etc only to be sucked and sucked and sucked out. Then Jeff comes to the rescue (he figures we'll both just drift out to calmer water and get rescued when David calls a boat). He blocks from behind so I don't get sucked out so far and we both manage to get across reef 1. Now we are in calmer water, but not calm enough. We drop to the bottom where it is usually calmer. Then we get through the crack in the reef to safety and live to dive another dive - but NOT TOMORROW. We are all resting and reflecting on a dive gone wrong!

This isn't my first "mishap." Another top 3 memorable dives was diving the Diamond Knott wreck in 47 degree water in the Straits of Juan de Fuca in Washington. This is a deep wreck where you can go to 140 or so on the bottom, but the top is too deep to do a safety stop on (85 feet or so). What you do it hold onto the boats anchor line and work your way up. I forget whether we tried to hold onto the anchor line and were doing the "flag in the wind" "hold on for dear life" bit that didn't work in the current or whether the current broke the line and set the boat adrift but either way I know we stayed deep too long and needed a long safety stop that took us 3 nautical miles out to sea. In fog and huge swells we were very lucky to have been found at all - holding my dive buddie's lemon fins (mine were black - I like it stealth) as high above our heads as possible. Another memorable dive was with Jeff and Bob at Sunrise Beach in Washington. They were doing their dive and I was solo since I was photographing. I hear a boat above. No biggy. But it keeps getting closer and passes overhead, then comes back closer, passes over head making finer and finer passes. I watch what the fish are doing and they are pulling in tight against the rock. I do what they do putting the camera down for the only time ever in 14 years of diving. I had a lot of air so I just hid while I was being hunted! Jeff meanwhile surfaces away from the boat, yells some things and the boat takes off. I was on the fish finder I believe and watching the giant lead down rigger balls and steel cable whizzing by my head was absolutely NO FUN. And then there was the time I was actually brought up by a fisherman. Hooked on the top of my mask to I couldn't see it, when you swipe with your knife your head goes back and you can't cut it. Holding onto pilings doesn't help with fishing line and an excited fisherman. I was probably the largest thing he ever caught. So today we reflect on stupid things we've done and try to stay out of trouble.


Jeff and Katrina Kruse said...

Katrina made thing sound easier then it realy was. We got hammered but got out easy with only a few cuts and bruises. It could have been a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

That was me @ sunrise beach. Hope you have better dives in the future. Bob

Cassie said...

Wow! Those are some crazy stories. Being hooked by a fisherman?! That has to take the cake though. They should have a movie with a scene like that, I can just imagine. Anyhow, be safe out there.

Anonymous said...

Cassie - At first I didn't know what was going on...I was being pulled up by my head!

Bob - When are you coming here? I promise not to kill you at the caves. By then I may break down and get booties and real fins. I just love diving barefoot in my snorkel fins though! katrina

RJ Giddings said...

Ah, Jeff...Puget sound hasnt changed...Hopefully PR is warm! And clear!


Jim Giddings