Monday, June 15, 2009

Scuba Diving in the Rain

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to dance in the rain."

I saw this quote and loved it. But I think I'll need to modify it to read: "Life is not about waiting for the storms to's about learning how to scuba dive in the rain."

A huge rainstorm came about while we were diving the Cooper on Saturday. It was an amazing sound to hear as we were 14 ft. below the surface. So now, I can officially say, I've gone scuba diving in the rain!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Photo Highlights

Here are some photos from this weekend. More posts to follow...

The Thrill of Black Water Diving

Black water diving is an adventure. It is enjoyed by those of us who love the sport of diving and the quest of finding underwater fossils and historic artifacts.

Yesterday I experienced my second round of black water diving along the banks of the Cooper River in a section called the French Quarter. Each of the three times I entered the brackish water, I found myself immediately immersed in varying degrees of wet, liquid darkness. And just in case you're wondering, unlike the blue water diving I'm accustomed to - or you may have seen in PBS specials - , there really is no visibility.

My two flashlights emit only small beams of light as I crawl on my belly along the bottom in search of hidden treasures. And as the current moves the water, I'm sometimes surprised by small glints of sunlight that permeate the murkiness.

I must say that I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who is the slight bit claustrophobic or fearful of what lies below. In addition to the darkness, there is plenty of mud and critters that crawl along the bottom. Yesterday I unearthed some baby flounder and crab that surprised me when they moved as my light passed over them.

Many people I've shared this adventure with are amazed that I would even want to participate in such an activity. And I must admit, I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy it my first time; but I was willing to give it a try. And I quickly discovered that black water diving is pretty cut and dry - either you like it or you don't. And if you haven't guessed it by now - I like it, a lot!

Personally, I find the watery, darkness to be soothing and comforting. Of course, let's not forget that I'm not down there alone. I enter the waters with my dive buddy/love, Lee, who has dove the river 100s of times. And, most importantly, he is always eight feet or less away from me because we're tethered together by a bungee cord.

So, where is the thrill in all this, you might ask. For me it's in so many things, from enjoying the beauty of nature on the boat ride, to diving to find treasure. But most importantly, the thrill is in discovering artifacts that are millions of years old. Ahhhh, but that is another post in my blog, yet to be written. Stay tuned for more reef rants...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Black Water Diving this Saturday

Well folks, my diving addiction continues. Yes, I guess I could now be affectionately called a frog lady. LOL It seems like the advent of "dive season" (meaning when the water is warm enough to dive without a dry suit) changes my life so much that my calendar is built around two things - work and my next dive. It's a good thing Lee likes to dive or he'd never see me on the weekends! :-)

Since I was working my butt off in San Diego and San Francisco all last week, I didn't get to dive. Of course, I thought about it. In fact, I eyed Mission Bay pretty closely as we crossed the bridge from the airport... wondering what could be found underneath the gentle waves found there.

Saturday will find Lee and me out on the Cooper River basking in the sun in between dives on Phil Myers' boat. And digging on the bottom of the river looking for hidden treasures such as fossils and civil war artifacts. The last time I did this I didn't find that much to write home about, but it sure was fun! I can't wait to see what we'll uncover... stay tuned...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Jupiter Drift Dive Photos

Here are some photos of what I saw while drift diving in Jupiter. It was beautiful. This is just a sampling of photos. More can be found on my Facebook page.


Diving "Etiquette" and the lack thereof

My significant other, Lee, and I just returned from drift diving in the waters off Jupiter, Florida. Lee is a Master Diver with over 200 dives under his belt. In his entire diving career he has never had a major incident underwater... until yesterday. Upon descent, his BCD inflator hose gave way. He heard a pop as he tried to discharge the air from his BC.

He sensed that something was wrong but his descent continued until he landed on the bottom on his knees with 80 feet of water above him. He then tried to inflate with no lift response. Little did he know but his bladder was quickly filling with water. One of the other divers on the drift dive saw what happened and came over to show Lee that his inflator hose was detached and broken. And then the diver swam away and continued with his dive.

Yes, you read this right... the diver saw a fellow diver in distress and he swam off and left the distressed diver! Nice diving "etiquette." (Good thing Lee didn't tell me this while we were on the boat or I would have had some choice words for this idiot.)

But I digress...Lee then decided he had to bale out on the dive due to the emergency situation. He made an attempt to swim to the surface. But his weights and lack of buoyancy worked against him. He decided to drop his weights and slowly swam to the surface.

The good news is my seasoned and smart diver-love, Lee, was able to keep from panicking and did an emergency ascent. But what if he hadn't been able to do that. What if panic had set in as the other selfish diver left him there to figure out what to do? What if Lee had not been able to get out of this and had - - oh, I don't know - - died? How would that non-caring individual have felt for leaving a distressed diver behind?!

I guess my expectations that others would want to help their fellow divers are just too high. But come on people, diving is such a wonderful sport and there are so few of us that know, love and appreciate what the underwater world has to offer. We really must have high expectations that we will help each other in times of need. Don'tcha think?! I know I do.

Lee and I have discussed it and affirmed that part of our diving credo is to never leave another diver in distress and help other divers in times of need.

Drift Diving in Jupiter


Black Water Diving on the Cooper


First Blue Water Dive Attempt of the Season...


Easter Egg Hunt


Sunday, February 8, 2009

The smell of neoprene...

Yesterday Lee and I stopped by Charleston Scuba as we were in route to walk on the beach. We didn't have any purpose except to say hello to our friends at Charleston Scuba, talk about anything related to diving and how we're jonesing to get back in the water... and of course, we were there to smell the neoprene.

There is nothing quite like the smell of dive gear. Of course, if you're a non-diver reading this, you're probably thinking I'm crazy. Think of our drive to dive and smell neoprene analogous to smelling freshly baked cookies. The sweet, warm smell of cookies fills your nostrils, your mouth waters and you can't wait to take a bite with an ice cold glass of milk. That is what smelling neoprene and talking about diving with other divers is like.

Our timing was good as no one else was in the shop. (This is rare.) Michelle and Gary were there. We shared stories and looked at gear. I learned that Michelle completed her Divemaster certification. (Way to go, Michelle!)

Bottom line: It was great to stop by the shop, see my dive friends and smell the neoprene! I can't wait to get back in the water.

I Can't Wait...

As suspected, it is an involved process to become a volunteer diver. But the perks are worth it. Swimming with fish, feeding them, prepping their food, educating visitors and much more. There is much to share about this new aspect of diving...

Next stop is to get a physical from the "Scuba" doctor here. I'll keep you posted

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Charleston Aquarium Volunteer Orientation

Well, we've been waiting since around October and the day is finally here. Saturday morning will find Lee and I sitting through the Charleston Aquarium's Volunteer Orientation class.

The goal is for this to lead to a new "career" as a volunteer diver. If we pass all the check out exams - both written and in the water - we'll be allowed to volunteer dive in the aquarium two days a month.

Here is a video of someone as a volunteer diver at an aquarium. And here is a video of a volunteer diver feeding the fish; notice he's not diving with tanks or a BCD. Maybe one day I can post a similar video or photo of Lee and me.

(The photo shows a volunteer diver at an aquarium in Long Beach.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a diver finding a megalodon tooth

Check out this video I just found of a diver finding a megalodon tooth.

Guess it will take practice, just like honing the skill of taking good pictures underwater. What a shame that this will require lots of diving... bummer...LOL

Bitten by the fossil finding bug - - or should I say tooth

Lee and I went to the fossil show yesterday. It was absolutely fascinating. You know, I've studied fossils in school and taught kids about them when I used to teach. I've even made a point of visiting museums to see fossil exhibits across the nation. But I've never seen personal collections like this.

It was exciting and interesting to talk to people about their finds. And it made me anxious to try my hand at underwater fossil hunting. I can't wait to get back in the water to see fish - - and now to find some teeth... I've been bitten - - by the fossil hunting bug... so much so that I dreamt about it last night. Look out fossil hunters - - there's another hunter seeking in the waters now...

Check out the photos Lee took of the collections at the show on photobucket.

Here are some megalodon sharks teeth Lee previously found while diving here in Charleston, SC.

Friday, January 9, 2009

PADI AOW here I come

I've set a personal goal to complete my Advanced Open Water (AOW) certification before the end of the month. As a voracious reader, this means that I've officially put myself on restrictions from reading anything other than my AOW instruction book.

I only have to study through around 400 pages that cover knowledge development for the two required components - the Deep and Underwater Navigation Dives. Additional material covers Underwater Photography, Night Diver, Peak Performance Buoyancy, Wreck Diver, Boat Diver and Underwater Naturalist.

I've already accomplished the dives and boat training that goes along with this certification. So, once I finish reading, I'll take the test and be a PADI AOW certified diver. Wahoo!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Turning a corner

We turned a corner this morning in three ways: 1)his swelling is noticeably going down 2)his coloring is improving ever so slightly from deep, purple-red to a little bit of pink and 3)most importantly he asked for an ice cube.

Now I know that asking for an ice cube sounds strange to most. But prior to the surgery, Angus would ask me for an ice cube anytime he heard me open the freezer.

I spoke to the doctor yesterday. He believes we'll be through this in about a month.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to Angus and me as we've been going through this trying time. The calls, e-mails and cards for Angus have been adorable. It has been appreciated more than you know. We'll just keep taking it one day at a time.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Angus update

We went to the vet this morning. He said Angus' swelling from the surgery is rare but has been known to occur. (His scrotum is filled with blood and about the size of a medium grapefruit now.) He told me it should go away in about a week. The doctor said that if this doesn't go away in a week, we'll have to drain it.

He sent us home with a ton of meds - antibiotics and pain - and said to keep him calm. He also sent us home with an Elizabethan collar so Angus wouldn't lick the wound. But I have to tell you that the collar stressed him out so that I took it off.

I'm really concerned about this, but am trying not to show it around Angus. Just showing him lots of love.

Thank you all for your kind words and prayers.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Long journey

It would have been nice to know about the long journey Angus and I were going to embark upon when he came home from his surgery on Wednesday afternoon. Since his return home we've been experiencing swelling and moaning-mania. I feel so sorry for this big guy. It's Sunday p.m. and the swelling hasn't gone down. Needless to say, I'll be calling the doctor - AGAIN - tomorrow morning.