Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dive 195 - Cooling it Under the Ice

My first dive of 2012 took place today, under a 7/8" thick layer of ice.

As you can see, Union Lake hasn't frozen over completely yet, but there's a good 7/8 inch thick layer along the shore that extends into the lake for quite a distance.

So we geared up. Then we crashed our way through the ice like human icebreakers and got in. The ice isn't thick enough to walk on and we bashed our way through from the shore to make a path, including whacking the ice with our tanks to break it up.

Our bubbles tended to stick around, trapped under the ice:

On our way out, we passed by Bones, who always lets you know you should check your breathing gas supply before proceeding.

Someone had sunk a new boat so we went to take a look:

At 17 feet, the water was a cool 34 degrees. The lowest temperature that appeared on my gauge during the dive was 32 degrees.

Fingers were getting a bit cold, but I looked like the Michelin Man in my dry suit. I had my compression long sleeve shirt on, a heated vest above, then a WebFoots under suit and a 4th Element Arctic under suit suit on over that. It was pretty tight squeeze but I managed to fit in the suit and get it closed.

Unfortunately, the underlayer restricted movement and even worse prevented air from leaving the cuff dump, so on one occasion I ended up bumping against the ice as I was ascending as the air expanded and couldn't leave the suit, pulling me up as it expended. A decent bump but the ice didn't break nor was any damage done. Next time I won't wear the Webfoots and that should create some space for the air to move.

Being under the ice and snow was pretty cool.

Then we ran into a problem.

Chad's inflator stuck open and he was busy dumping air as his wing kept filling.

Shutting down and reopening the valve didn't help so we shut it down and called the dive.

Short, at only 20 minutes but still a lot of fun.

Sometimes, you just have to get out there and break the ice:

My first ice overhead dive and it was a great first as an ice dive and as the first dive of 2012.

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