Saturday, May 15, 2010

Whytecliff – The Cut 12/05/2010

Jason Kolba and I decided to go on a night dive to take advantage of the longer evenings. By the time we were done, it was still light enough to see! It was pretty nice not to have to gear up in the dark.

We did have some problems on the dive. Prior to hitting the water, I found that I had put on the wing for my BCD backwards. It was easily fixed, and noticed in our pre-dive checks. I won't be doing that again! Jason had his UK light die on him, too. We were going to do some skills at the end of the dive, but with a dead light decided against it. He had his backup light, though.

The dive itself was pretty nice. Visibility was pretty good, although dark. I figure maybe 40 feet or so. I forgot how many cool big cloud sponges there are at the Cut. We went right along the wall for 20 minutes at 80 feet, and then turned the dive and came back around 50 or 60 feet. It ended up being the planned total length of 40 minutes which was good. We turned back earlier due to a significant rise in current, but it didn't cut the dive too short. I missed the exit to the Cut and ended up halfway out to the day marker. I still hadn't gotten the hang of finding the exit point here. This time I was too deep and missed the signs of where to come up. It wasn't a big deal though.

A nice dive!

Friday, May 14, 2010

HMCS Cape Breton and HMCS Saskatchewan 08/05/2010

I had tried to dive these two wrecks twice before, and both times weather conspired to cancel the trip. This time, I lucked into going along with Guy Shockey, a GUE instructor on Vancouver Island. Guy put out a call to the local GUE community, and I was quick to say yes. Evan Soukas also decided to come along, and we would form a team together. The trip was planned using Ken and Diver's Choice.

I wanted to use my new double cylinder setup for these dives, as the wrecks were about 100 feet deep. The extra gas supply from my double steel 130s would go a long way to making a safe and enjoyable dive. However, since I had not had a lot of practice with the new setup, I had to get in as much time on them as I could. Evan and I went to the pool one evening with IDC and did skills for about an hour. Then I had them out on my recent Tuwanek dive. It would have been nice to have another dive in between, but it just wasn't logistically possible. I was quite comfortable on the Tuwanek dive, so I figured it would be good.

The day was incredible; sunny and warm. Evan and I had a great time talking on the ferry over. We took the 8:30, and arrived a bit late. Guy had wanted to meet at 10. We didn't arrive until 10:30, but there was another dive team on the ferry, so we weren't the only ones they were waiting on.

We met Ken in the marina parking lot, and his helper Aaron was manning the skiff. We loaded our gear on the skiff, and motored around to the boat. Guy and his team were already on board. The skiff wasn't necessary, but it did make it easier instead of carrying gear all the way down the dock.

Meeting Guy was great. I had heard a lot about him from Alan and dive trip articles he'd written. He was a very friendly and laid back fellow.

It didn't take long to get to the wrecks, and we geared up along the way. We dove the HMCS Cape Breton first. The visibility was around 50 feet or so. It was a great dive! We did 40 minutes at an average depth of 80 feet. We missed seeing a wolf eel on deck by being over the railing. Note to self to check the deck always next time! Guy and his folks brought scooters along and it was neat to see them zipping around.

The HMCS Saskatchewan was even better. The big deck guns were very impressive. Of course I had to look down the barrels, like I'm sure everyone does.

Evan got some pretty good video. I put it up here:

Anyone you see in the video will be me. It's a lot of repetitive footage, but it's not too bad.

This is pretty short, but I just couldn't find the time to go into as much detail as I have in the past!