It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pretty in Pink

Team Kitty (Rob, Kevin, and me) did some skills practice dives for our upcoming Tech 1 class at the Breakwater today. Since we were doing skills, Rob did not bring his camera, so no underwater pictures today :( Instead, you get to see some topside pictures that Nils and Ted (who were also diving the BW) took. I recently bought a new-to-me used drysuit that I was trying out. It is a hot pink (yea, it's hot) TLS350. When I tried it on, I was delighted by how lightweight it was. It also fits me better than my current suit (which is too long in the legs, too long in the arms, and too big in the shoulders and arms). The new one is just a little floppy around the waist and butt (though the bubble butt seems par for the course with DUI suits, even custom ones). The color is a little too, umm, something. As I told Ted, it looks like I am trying to make a statement, like I LOVE PINK. Actually I do like pink, but in much milder shades. Ted said it looks like I am flaunting my femininity or something like that. No, it just fit well and was a good price :)

For the first dive, we were planning to do mostly the same old stuff. Maskless ascents all around (with bag shoots), mid-water S drills, and a deeper out-of-gas ascent with a bottle switch. Before we got geared up, Kevin and I both trotted into the water to make sure our suits weren't leaking horrendously (he was diving his backup suit, which I guess he hasn't dived in a little while). After that, we got geared up and headed in. One minor annoyance with the suit was the inflator on it does not swivel, and the inlet points to the right. So my short little argon hose did not reach it, so I had to use the backup drysuit hose on my left post. So I was Argon-less (but I did prime off of the bottle). We took the 40s in, which I have gotten pretty used to walking into the water with. It is nice and small and light, and after carrying it into the water so many times, I am seriously thinking that a 40 would make a much nicer stage bottle than an 80 :) I guess I'd need two though, so I could take one on each dive. Anyhoo, we swam out and just before we descended, we saw a couple of small sea nettles. But they were really nice looking ones, in great shape. We descended, and after I fiddled around with my suit and checked if I could reach my valves in it (which I could, very easily), we each took our turn doing the maskless ascent from about 30 feet. Rob said that during his ascent, when he opened one eye, he could see a dark blur, which was Kevin, and a bright pink spot, which was me. I guess I don't have to worry about anyone losing track of me underwater in the new suit. I noticed at some point when I got to the surface that my elbow was wet :( but it was nothing too major. We went down to 15 feet and did a round of S drills. Then we swam out a bit deeper, and at this point, we saw more sea nettles. Rob and Kevin did an out of gas ascent, and I shot a bag and brought us up. During the ascent, there were suddenly sea nettles everywhere, of all different sizes. It was awesome. We got to 20 feet, and as Rob was switching to his bottle, Kevin started to get all twitchy and was batting at his second stage (he was doing-it-cat). Apparently one of the nettles got him on the lip :( We each switched to our bottles and then moved up to 10 feet, and then we were completely surrounded by them. And they were all really pretty ones with long long tentacles. They looked so pretty against the green water, too bad there are no pictures. When we ascended and I said how cool it was to ascend in all of the nettles, Kevin pointed out that it was only cool if you did not get stung :) After that, we descended and swam in. Actually Kevin and I did valve drills, since we both wanted to check that our suits were not too restrictive for that. Then we swam in. 70 minutes, 35 feet, 51 degrees

We had some hot chocolate and chatted with Dionna and Carol and Larry on the surface interval. I also did the best I could to dry my undergarment using the hand dryer in the bathroom. Actually my undergarment was fine, but the long underwear I wear under that had a wet splotch. Then we had to decide what to do next. The conditions were pretty good; certainly much better than they have been lately in the bay -- no red water! Kevin and Rob sort of wanted to practice running line, so I agreed we could do it. I usually won't agree to two skills dives in one day, but I figured running line would be fun, and we'd actually cover some ground and maybe see some stuff. We did a little practice in the Breakwater parking lot (those posts where they used to have the parking meters are so convenient to tie to), and agreed to just go along the wall, putting placements fairly frequently and switching off every few, and then we'd turn around and reel in, switching off every few.

Nils and Ted were getting out of the water as we were heading down to the beach, and despite my best eyelash-batting, I could not convince either of them to come with us and take some pictures or video of us having fun with line (very cat-like). We got geared up and headed in. We swam out to about the fence on the wall, and then we descended, and I led us over to the wall. We swam out along it until we got to about 25 feet, and then I whipped out the reel and looked for a nice-shaped rock to tie into. It was pretty hard to tell what rocks would be good to tie to at first, but eventually we both got the hang of it. We each did 3 placements and then switched off (Kevin was just watching). After a while, Kevin took it and did 3, I think just to show off :P I did one more and then Kevin signaled to turn. We swam back, again taking turns reeling in, and that was a lot faster than the way out. When we got to the end, I was cold so we just headed in instead of cruising around looking for stuff. It was a fun dive; even though we were pretty focused on running the line, we got to take a little tour of the wall. Plus running the line was pretty fun, even though my hand got a little sore from holding the reel. 51 minutes, 39 feet, 50 degrees

I absolutely love the new suit. It is just so much more comfortable both in and out of the water. I actually think that the ZipSeal neck ring on my other suit was hampering my ability to extend my neck and move my head around. It is much more comfortable in the new suit. I also just feel less encumbered on the surface, because the material is so much lighter (and there is a bit less of it, at least in the shoulders). I was worried about the valve on it (which was cobbled together from piece of the slightly broken one that came on the suit and another old one that Frank had), but it vented really easily. I am sure that is where the leak was coming from on the first dive, but it did not leak at all on dive 2. Now I just have to send it off to get pockets put on it, but I am already sad to have to switch back to my other suit!

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