Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dive Report - stating the obvious: 41 degree water in a wetsuit is cold!

So last night I went Scuba diving with my fellow DIR scuba divers in Union Lake, Michigan. All of them wore drysuits while I continued on with my humble Henderson Hyperstretch 7mm Farmer John Wetsuit. Some of the divers were looking at me quizzically at my sanity to dive wet, some admiringly at my endurance and fortitude, and others pityingly as they adjusted their drysuit seals before we proceeded in.

The water was a balmy 41 degrees Fahrenheit. i.e. as soon as I stepped in the reaction was "Yeouch that's cold". followed by "I really need a drysuit for this". Thankfully with the wetsuit it was bearable and I went on with the dive.

Visibility was very good for Union Lake with the viz exceeding 6 feet. Plenty of sunken boats to see each of which had a story many of such I suspect most likely had alcohol involved in one form or another. In addition to the boats there was other assorted stuff on the bottom, including the remains of a Model T Ford.

The downside to wearing so much neoprene is that after the suit compresses as you descend, on the way back up when you ascend to about 15 feet, the bubbles in the neoprene expand and make you very buoyant very quickly, which makes it hard to maintain your depth.

On getting out of the water I experienced the other significant downside to the wetsuit - it was darn cold. The ambient air temperature was similarly in the low 40s and I had a little shivering going on as I fevereshly jumped in my car, set the heater to full blast and changed. Luckily I followed the advice of both Terry and Lagniappe's keeper and poured a thermos of hot water into my wetsuit after I left the water but before I started to change - it helped a lot.

Not a bad dive, but as is the case for this time of year, getting out of the water in a wetsuit simply sucks. On the plus side, the diving practice is paying off and I'm getting better at my buoyancy control - if I cna hack it in the 40s, the 60s and 70s water temps of summer will be feeling positively tropical.

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