Friday, June 27, 2014

Preparing For Our First Dives Of The Season

Our first dives of the season are scheduled for next week. I'm so excited. This will be my first time in the water since our Jamaica honeymoon last September and my foot reconstruction surgery this past December.
I pride myself on being a safe diver. That said I've made it a practice to always test my gear before I getting back in the water after being out for several months.

My goal is to know that I can rely on everything to work before I have to depend on it in the ocean. To do this, Robert and I rented a tank from our friends at Charleston Scuba and took it, along with our gear, to our community to pool.

Thankfully after testing everything, we can say that our gear is in good working order. Although, I really would like to get a longer BCD inflator hose put on my octo. Hopefully we'll have time to do that when we stop by Diver's Direct down in Florida.

While we were at the pool we practiced my entry in and out of the water. Since I'm not allowed to put the weight of my gear on my newly reconstructed foot, we had to be creative.

The first thing I did was call Jupiter Dive Center to see if they would accommodate my need. They said they would seat me at the very back of the boat so I can enter the water easily.

During our practice session at the pool, we discovered that the best way for me to enter the water for this particular dive is somewhat unorthodox. Since this will be a drift dive where everyone goes down at once, putting my gear on in the water is way too time consuming. But if I sit on the back platform of the boat -- near the ladder -- with my fins in the water, I can quickly put my BCD and tank on and fall mask first into the ocean.

We practiced this at the pool and it worked well. Hopefully it will do the same out on the ocean.

So... four dives are planned for the beginning of next week. My diving gear is checked out and ready. I just need to get my checklist, pack my gear bag, get my camera rig charged and ready to go and make sure I have my diving certification cards.

I'm looking forward to this. It has been far too long.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Octopus Eats Shark

Check out this amazing footage of a shark being captured and eaten by an octopus. If you turn the sound on after about a minute and 1/2 in you'll hear some amazing facts about what you're watching.

Octopus Eats Shark by stevanhogg

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Baby Loggerhead

Check out this video taken locally on Folly Beach. The video shows a baby turtle, one of about 70 loggerheads, that made it safely into the ocean on the west side of Folly Beach. The videographer said it was a 7:30 a.m. hatching, after which the turtles made their way to the ocean in the early morning light.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Diving Addiction

Check out my first post on Charleston Scuba's new blog. This post is called "The Diving Addiction."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Amazing beauty

I'm enamored by all the beauty that can be found in the depths of the ocean. This video, shot in the waters surrounding the Soccoro Islands, is mesmerizing. But don't take my word for it; press play and take in the gracefulness of the manta rays and beauty of the white tip reef sharks.

Take a quick break and watch this ~four min. video. Hopefully you'll find it as relaxing as I do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top Seven from Saturday's Dive

Saturday I ventured to Murrell's Inlet to dive with Express Watersports. The drive is easy and typically takes about an hour and 1/2 - - if you go the speed limit. (Let's just say on the way back to Charleston I did, but on the way there I made really good time in the early morning hours.)

It had been about a year since I'd gone diving with this shop. They are definitely good people and have an amazing store with their boat docked directly across the street from the shop. And of course, I'm drawn to their Golden Retriever who has been there faithfully each time I've visited over the years.

Any day I go diving is a good day for me. But some dives are better than others. This day of diving led me to creating this Top Seven. So let's take a giant stride in...

ONE: Enjoy the ride. When it is overcast and the seas have 3-5 foot swells, consider it an adventure; a very wet one but hey, you're on a DIVE BOAT!

TWO: Be flexible. Just because you're expecting to go to one dive site (Bruce's Rush Reef) and end up at another (Tugboat / Airplane) - it isn't the end of the world. (Some friends I've gone diving with in the past have gotten all bent when the dive site changed.<--You know who are you are!)

THREE: Make new friends. Newbie divers (a lot of them) were on this 46 ft. Newton and many were nervous. It was fun talking to them before and after they went on their first ocean dive. Gotta love making new friends with people that share your passion for diving.

FOUR: Spend time with old ones. I was delighted to see Bryan and Crystal on the boat. There is nothing like the unexpected surprise of diving with old friends (from Charleston) when you're in a town away from home.

FIVE: Don't believe everything you hear.: The DM (Dive Master) on this trip must have a day job in marketing or public relations. Why? Because when he surfaced after anchoring us into the site, his dive briefing was... well, let's just say a bit stretched. He said, "There is great viz down there. I could even see the wreck when I first jumped in." Ummmm, yes, you could see the boat but the massive amounts of particulate in the water kinda negated that - dontcha think?! LOL (Most of my pictures looked like it was snowing underwater.)

SIX: Practice makes perfect. I was told that my new underwater strobe would involve a steep learning curve. Never a truer statement was made. With each dive I continue to learn more and more. This time I learned that setting the strobe on F is BAD and will blow out your photos with too much light. Practice makes perfect... Can't wait to see what happens after I've practiced a lot more. 

SEVEN: Look for surprises. As we were swimming around the tugboat, I peered inside to see what critters might be waiting to have their photo taken. Much to my surprise, I found a "fish" I've never seen while diving in the ocean. I think they call it the "shopping cart fish," but I'll have to do more research before I'm sure. (The picture didn't come out as I had hoped but you'll get the idea.)

Check out the photos from Saturday's Murrell's Inlet dive and be sure come back next week to see what I capture when I dive with Charleston Scuba this weekend. (Hint: A photo of me is last in the line up.)

The fins of my dive buddies: Bryan & Crystal

One of my dive buddies: Crystal
Bryan being a ham. You can't quite tell with the bright light but he took out his regulator so he could stick out his tongue at me. LOL
Lovebirds, er I mean, my two dive buddies. (Aren't they cute together?!)
Do you see the "shopping cart fish" that was inside the hull of the scuttled ship?

Part of the scuttled plane.
That's the butt end of a loggerhead turtle hiding in the nose of the plane.
This could have been a cool shot. It is a ladder leading from the deck into the hull of the ship.
Vibrant growth

Do you see the Toad Fish? (Psst - don't touch it, it is poisonous.)
Growth on the barge.
Guess who?!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Plan B

In the world of diving, one must always have a Plan B. Why? Because there are many reasons for a dive not to occur. A month ago I was excited to do my first dive of the "season," only to have it called off due to turbulent seas.

This weekend my dive was called off because not enough divers had signed on to go. It takes so much gas to dive off the coast of Charleston, you have to have a profitable balance of divers to even take the boat out. Charleston Scuba's Sunday dive is full but no one from the Sunday dive trip was willing to go on Saturday. C'est la vie!

Of course, I immediately called other dive options, such as Express Watersports in Murrell's Inlet, which is about an hour and 1/2 +/- drive. But they were only going out to an artificial reef sitting in a depth of 45 feet. So, I didn't feel like it was worth the drive.

My Plan B has turned into a morning to sleep in and relax. Since the majority of my chores are done, I'm thinking about going for a bike ride. Now I just have to decide where I will spin my wheels.

While I'd rather be diving, I guess, I'll just have to settle for exploring the roadways of Charleston. The only thing that would be better is if my parents were close enough to go visit.

Guess Plan B is just a fact of life. :-) What do you do when your dive plan calls for a Plan B?

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