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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kevin: Tech 2, Day 3

Go deep go dark

Day three dawned just like the other two days. I know I tossed and turned most of the night just by looking at the bed sheets. Pretty much all the bottom sheets had been bunched up into the corner of the bed. After dragging ourselves out of bed we went through the same routine that we had done the last couple of days (meet at 7:15, get lunch at the Win Dixie then head over to the divesite).

Our tanks weren’t quite ready yet so we sat down to talk more with Dean about deco and various questions we had. Dean is a wealth of knowledge. Soon enough we got all our tanks analyzed and bottles placed down by the docks and geared up to do the first of our two dives.

I think we had all forgotten or at least blanked out how dark and nasty it is at the bottom of 40 fathoms. All light is filtered out and the bottom is covered with tons of light fluffy silt. There is random junk laying about that Hal Watts has thrown into the sinkhole over the years including several boats, cars, tonka trucks, & sattilite dishes. Lines to various places snake off in seemingly random directions and the bottom sharply slopes down to what we were told was 220 feet. To say the site is small is an understatement. After about 15 minutes we had seen all there was to see and were left wondering what else to see.

On the way back I checked the pressure in my stage and seeing it was at turn pressure made the dubious decision to switch off the stage. Of course it was just after switching off the stage that I mentally processed the WTF looks I was getting from my team and realized it was a boneheaded move. At this point there was just a few minutes left of bottom time so I just elected to continue on back gas. It was a good reminder of how focus has to be maintained throughout the dive.

Deco was uneventful with the exception of Dean stepping in and letting us know that he wanted us to do 36 minutes of deco at 20 feet.

During the debrief he let us know that we had seen in one dive everything there was to see at the site and that if we wished we could save the second dive for when we got back to Monterey. Not an easy decision as on one hand we could avoid going back down but we would be sacrificing all the gas that we spent much of the morning figuring out how to fill. In the end we decided to nickel rocket it and do another dive.

Rob led this dive and we pretty much bummed around taking our time looking at the sites again. Everything was pretty relaxed until we all suddenly saw a lot more lights bobbing and jumping about. After looking about trying to figure out who was doing the disco impersonation. As it turns out it was a bunch of other divers…. diving air…. And single tanks…. To 140’ feet…. And beyond…

Needless to say after seeing how wide their eyes were we elected to stay well out of their way. After they passed by we followed the clouds of silt back to our upline and started our ascent. Deco was uneventful again with another 36 minutes of deco at 20 feet. With that much time at one depth things just seem to slow down. Everybody start to get in to a nice easy groove, fin movements slow down and eventually stop and nothing…. Happens… for… minutes… at…a… time. A small fish wandering by becomes a great source of amusement.

With the second dive over and after a debrief with Dean we had completed the Florida segment of our class and it was time to party! Well as much partying that 3 exhausted kitties could handle. Which as it turns out was not much. Rob made the loud announcement that he stank that that shower first was non negotiable and Alison was making some type of statement that ice scream had been promised (a fact that neither Rob or I remember) so we hightailed it back to our motel rooms for a quick show before heading out to find the closest Chilis… which happened to be 30 minutes drive away!

At Chilis there was smiles all around as Rob finally got a 3G signal and we got an onion ring/jalapeƱo appetizer. Rob in his joy of surfing his iPhone almost missed getting any of the tasty dish as by the time he looked up Allison and I had already hovered up half the dish. As we didn’t have to get up in the morning, we elected for adult beverages. With the young-uns going for margaritas and the aged one (me) going for beer (2 for 1 special yay!). The meat & BBQ motif of the trip continued with Rob ordering the ribs.

Afterwards we headed back to our respective motels with smiles on our faces and sleep on our mind. I literally do not remember my head hitting the pillow.

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