It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kevin: Tech 2 - Day 0

The previous night we all agreed to be up and have nice leisurely breakfast around 9am but R&A were knocking at my door around 8:45. Apparently they had gotten up early and were all packed and ready to go. So after quickly throwing the rest of my stuff in the car, we walked across the street to have breakfast at the Fleetwood Diner. Being in the South we elected to try some southern style dishes with Rob trying the grits and me trying the Biscuits and Gravy. While

Afterwards we stopped by to visit Salvo before heading over to Extreme Exposure to analyze and pickup the silly amount of tanks we had reserved for class. After going through three sets of doubles, 12 al40s, & 6 al80 stages we separated the gear into two piles. Stuff that was ready to go immediately and tanks that needed a bit of tweaking before we could pick them up. While they tweaked tanks, we headed over to Ginny springs to do a shake out dive.

We geared up and headed to the water to check out the Cavern area. After a quick set of drills decided to do a couple of dives in the cavern. Allison got the joy of running the reel the first time and learned the fun of trying to make tie offs on round smooth rocks while in some flow. She did great though and got us to the main line. The two swam around a bit exploring the nooks and crannies of the cavern area as well as descending down to the grate at the back of the cavern to experience the full force of the flow.
On the way out, Allison indicated that we should leave the reel in place for our next dive. This turned to be an interesting discussion point as Rob wanted to run the reel next. No matter as we just jumped back in removed the reel, and then handed it to Rob to run to the same place. We looked around some more and admired the scalloped walls and looked for fossils of ancient sea critters in the rocks.

On our second surface debrief, we found that Allison had yet to go all the way to the grate, so there was nothing left but to do one more goal oriented dive to get her to the grate. I think she got within a hands reach of it before the flow pushed her back away.

Rob was marveling at the clearness of the water, and Allison managed to find a cool little fresh water flounder. I think they had a good time and I believe I managed to set the hook deep as there was some discussion on when they would be taking cave. ☺

After getting out of the water we decided to head over to the spring run to take a look at Devils Ear from the surface as we were unable to see it last night. As it turned out all the rain had raised the river water high enough to submerge the marker bouy. We once again spotted the Manatee in the water and after a brief discussion on the coldness of the water, we decided to get our swim suits and jump in the water with masks to take a closer look. After a bit of complaining and toe dipping we made it into the water with our masks. Swimming with a Manatee or “Sea Cow” was one of the coolest experiences that I have ever done. They are so graceful looking and calm in the water. The Manatee seamed to be totally unconcerned with our presence and swam around us and let us get incredibly close while he placidly munched on underwater flora.

While Rob and Allison spent time admiring the manatee I also spent some time swimming over Devils Eye and practicing my free diving technique by swimming down to the bottom. I went over to Devils Ear planning on doing the same, but the dark brown river water covering it made it a way to spooky experience, so I quickly retreated back to the crystal clear water of the spring run.

After the Manatee had finally left, we got out dried ourselves off and went back to EE to pick up the rest of our tanks. The mixes were spot on (Thanks Doug and Andrew!) and we were ready to head on down to Williston where we would be spending the next four nights at the Williston motor lodge. Doug from Extreme Exposure gave us a great recommendation for a BBQ place in Newbury so we stoped there to have some dinner. Rob was really wanting some Hush Puppies but the restaurant didn’t have any so we got on their recommendation these corn nugget type food that were A) deep fried, B) contained some type of honey and C) were delicious. The group settled on this BBQ mixed platter and quickly devoured everything on it.

After dinner we tried to slap our selves out of the meat induced coma and continue the rest of the way to Williston to the Williston Motor Lodge. We got our room keys and our TV remote controls (yes it was that type of establishment) at the check in. And were informed that it was watermelon picking season and the motel was filled with transient workers. It was the strangest experience to see a completely full motel, yet only a half dozen cars in the parking lot. Apparently after working out in the farm all day, they would sit out on the front and party most of the night. It was definitely an odder group of characters than we were used to.
The rooms themselves were moderately clean though old. Creepy crawlies where not in great evidence so one didn’t have to shake too many roaches out of the dry suits each morning.
Robs internet withdrawal state was creeping up amber due to the fact that their room was not getting wireless signal to it. Mine dropped to green due to the wicked strong signal I was getting.

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