It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Allison: Tech 2, Day 0

Thursday we were planning to get all of our tanks from Extreme Exposure and then do a shakeout dive. But first we headed across the street to the Fleetwood Diner for breakfast. Mmm, diner breakfast. After a hearty breakfast, we walked down to Salvo so Kevin could get a reel, then headed to EE. We found our crapload of tanks, and started analyzing. A couple of the mixes were off, so we left those to be fixed while we headed out to dive. We also retrieved the box of lead we had shipped (I love Priority mail flat rate boxes), which barely made it intact.

We went to Ginnie Springs and just as we finished filling out paperwork and watching the video, it started pouring outside. The forecast said there were supposed to be thunderstorms all week :( We waited it out for a few minutes, and it let up a bit, enough to trot back to our cars and drive over to the water. I went to one of the covered pavilions and got into my drysuit forthwith, just in time for the rain to stop entirely. We eventually got our gear set up, while also chatting with some friendly chaps who were diving there, and then headed into the water. The steps into the water are great, they really need some of those at Lobos. After dropping down and making sure we could reach our valves, etc. in these foreign tanks (Al80s), we headed into the cavern. I ran the line, which made Rob very jealous :P

The cavern was really awesome. The water was so clear, it was like air. And the rock was really white, so our lights were reflected everywhere. It was really bright in there. As we swam down the slope towards the grate, you could really feel the flow coming out of it. When it was time to head out, I left the reel, because I figured we'd come back in for it later. Rob didn't seem to agree with this, but eventually gave in. When we got back to the surface, he admitted that he wanted me to reel in so that he could lay line on the way back in. What a dork. The next time in, I swam down to the grate, but gave up just before it, and let the flow drag me back up the slope. Apparently not actually going to the grate and grabbing onto it makes me less cool than Rob and Kevin.

When we were finished playing around in the cavern, we did a couple of drills out in open water, just to make sure we could actually reach our valves and such. Then we packed up our gear and decided to go take a look at the eye/ear before heading back to EE. Kevin had sort of been lobbying for doing a dive over there, but they do not allow open water divers to take lights into the water there (to discourage them from going beyond the daylight zone). I think that is exceptionally stupid, so we took a pass on diving there.

It turned out that we made the right choice, because the brown river water was on top of the cavern entrance, so there probably wouldn't have been a daylight zone. On the other hand, there was a manatee parked in the cove in about 6 feet of water. We so wanted to play with him! So we decided to go for a swim. Brrr, getting into the water in just a swimsuit was pretty chilly. But we warmed up after swimming around a bit. We played with the manatee for a while. He didn't seem to mind us at all. I just want to say that I would never harrass a marine mammal. But I heard a rumor that the no petting rule doesn't apply when they have come into freshwater ;) Kevin and Rob showed off their manhood by free diving down into Devil's Eye. I didn't feel the need to participate.

After that, we headed back to EE to get our tanks filled and pickup the ones we had left earlier. They have a totally sweet system for filling tanks in the back of your car -- they have some really long whips, and then they chain tanks together with shorter whips. That was awesome, we didn't have to touch our gear except to take a regulator off. Of course after they filled our tanks, Rob remembered that his valves had been nearly impossible to turn, and asked if they could do anything about that. Andrew replaced the o-rings on the two posts, but in order to do anything to the isolator he had to drain the tanks. Hehe. So in the end, Rob had smooth as butter posts, which seemed totally unfair to me, since he already has the advantage of being zen-like in the water (it's all the kung fu training, I think).

From there, we headed down to Williston. We asked Doug at EE if there was a good place for BBQ, and he suggested Newberry's Backyard BBQ, which was more or less on the way. It was an excellent suggestion. We shared the feast for two, which was basically a giant plate of some of everything. Mmmm. Rob wanted hushpuppies, which they didn't have, so he had to settle for corn nuggets. They were a hit. From there, we headed down to the Williston Motor Inn, which is, I'm pretty sure, the grossest place I have ever stayed. It was actually fine, in terms of being clean and bug-free (which in the land of giant cockroaches in all I really ask for). The crowd there was sort of colorful. The motel was completely booked, which we were pretty shocked by, but the guy at the front desk told us it was because the watermelon harvest was in progress, so there were a lot of people in town for that. Those guys like to sit outside of their rooms and drink beer, play cards, and chit-chat into the wee hours. However, the very effective air conditioner in the room drowned out the noise at night, so it really wasn't a problem.

Rob was disappointed to find that our room did not get wireless. I guess it was too far from the office. Kevin, who was in the first room from the office, had a fine signal in his room. So we just had to survive on Law and Order re-runs and Edge service for our entertainment. We made a quick stop on the Winn Dixie, which was literally a one minute drive, to get some supplies. However, once we were there, we realized that we would really need to come by in the morning for breakfast and lunch stuff (since we were without a fridge), so we just got non-perishables and left everything else for the morning.

No comments: