Friday, June 07, 2013

Wednesday Funday - Dives 236, 237 and 238 at Portage Quarry

I was invited on Wednesday to tag along to Portage Quarry for some practice dives.

So we got up early loaded up the dive truck and headed to Ohio.

Surface temp was in the sixties and bottom temp hit 50.

Keith brought his scooter along.

I do want one.

First, we headed to the Hansa HFB 320 Jet sunk in the quarry:

The fuselage is carefully marked Portage Quarry Air Force:

The right engine nacelle at the rear of the plane.

The entry door behind the cockpit - a tight fit in doubles but we managed to get in.

Rear close-up of the engine nacelle.

And the pilot, still strapped in and trapped in his watery grave:

Just kidding, but that dummy does cause a double-take when you first see him inside the plane. We thoroughly explored every bit of the aircraft and then decided to swim off and around to see whaht else we could see. Turns out it wasn't much.

The visibility below 18 feet was pretty terrible and there was a very strong thermocline, the area where the cool water and warm water meet was actually visible with a fog-like haze hanging in the water. First time I've seen it that thick.

Swimming through was like navigating in fog - your dive buddies would disappear in a few feet of distance.

We then had a surface interval and Keith showed me how to work the dive reel and the protocol for doing proper tie offs and tension twists. I then spent some time practicing with the reel on land and am a lot better as a result. Thanks Keith.

So we suited up and for Dive 237 we headed to the Portage Quarry Silo to meet and feed the fish.

Of course we had to check ourselves out in the mirror at the silo and I did a decent self-portrait:

In the silo, its rather dark but still plenty of light, and we practiced getting in and out of all the entry holes. Here's Tim in the silo:

Then it was time to meet the fish at the top of the silo:

Keith and Tim had brought the secret to causing a fish feeding frenzy - cans of Cheese Wiz!

Who knew that fish go crazy for artificial pressurized cheese product?

More and more fish kept arriving, demanding cheese wiz:

That was fun, I need to remember to bring some Cheese Wiz next time.

For Dive 238 Wes decided to sit it out and Tim and I decided to get scooter towed by Keith across the quarry to see the car pile.

Basically Keith Drove the scooter, I was behind him holding his legs and Time was behind me holding mine. Not as easy as it sounds. Ever played crack-the-whip? Well, Keith would turn in one direction, Tim's body would be the other way and I'd be twisted until I was almost halfway up and halfway down - not comfortable at all. Eventually the tension got to be enough that either Tim let go of me or I let go of Keith and we had to stop and get back in line and start again.

We made it to the other side but the viz was so bad we couldn't see the car pile and ended up following a cable that seemed to go on forever as we fruitlessly searched for the pile we knew was there. Then, after we had had enough of the lousy viz and unsuccessful search, it was a very long underwater swim back to our entry point.

Dive 238 was quite the workout.

It was a great day diving with a great bunch of people.

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