Drysuit Day 2: The Saga flounders

Waking up early to an insistent meowing cat, got up, had some toast with the relatives, and some wonderful Pear White loose leaf tea, and headed out to Wilson Diving to meet up with Liz for our second round of dives.

She texted the night before, after a dive, saying viz was good and that we would head out to Henderson Point in Brentwood.

Driving out there I realized there are two types of drivers on the island. Ones who go the speed limit (very few it seems), and those that go as fast as they like.

I found my legs were cold, but my torso fine the day before, so for these dives, I added another layer to my legs, in the form of some blended PJ pants, worn under the Whites MK2 (since it has no foot straps). Also were some wool blend work socks that they were tucked into.

The Fusion suit compresses the inner layer pretty well, and I find my legs are always compressed (until I start heading up feet first). I was hoping that the added layer on my legs would add some more space between my legs and the cold layer between me and the water. The only thing I really noticed in a negative way, is that my little flexibility in my horrible knees was reduced yet again.

Getting fins on in the rocky shore was a bit of a challenge, which after a few attempts, I was successful at hooking the rubber strap over the knoby soles of the boots.

I also put the battery into my backup light for the dives that I forgot to do yesterday.

Heading out, we did our usual Pre Dive Check, and while practicing clipping off my regs last night helped quite a bit, I still struggled a getting it clipped and unclipped from the shoulder D Ring, even double clipping it off at one point during our checks.

Also need to try to remember that damn dry suit hose, firstly finding it on my rig, and then, connecting it into the inflator reg.

Our plan was a 60ft dive led by Mike to a small sunken boat, turn pressures were determined, and off we went.

It was going well, until we hit about 22 ft, and my right ear was having problems equalizing. After a minute or so hanging around 20 ft, it cleared and away we descended further down to our target depth.

I felt Liz back by my knees a little while kicking towards the wreck, and probably realized I didn’t have my knees close together.

For most of the swim out there, Mike had a shrimp hang on to his arm for a ride out to the wreck.

At the wreck, Liz tied off a line and had Mike check it out, showing a few places where to tie off, and re tie.

During this time, some gremlins decided to bug me. My buoyancy started to wander as we were hanging about the boat, and the dreaded lofty feeling in my feet came back. I was able to get squared away, albeit not as quick as I would have liked.

Looking at our pressures, we headed further past the wreck, looking along the rocks at dozens of shrimp scampering about, some stars hanging around and the like.

We turned back, and headed for our exit point.

The gremlins came back ….

We started ascending, and I was trying to keep on top of venting my suit and wing, but during our holds, I just came crashing down or up. Feet up, head down, trying to muscle my way with an elevated shoulder.

Liz was trying to help me out, but boy was I frustrated. Having a pretty descent dive, and now having issues keeping the bubble where it shouldn’t be. We slowly worked shallower and surfaced.

Well, they surfaced. I got heads up, and sunk. What? sunk? but I was floating feet up, not being able to keep my depth, and now I’m sinking without dumping my air??????

Ahhh, the valve must have emptied ….

A very frustrating end to the dive.

A debrief about what happened, and what I could do differently or try and we were back at the cars for our SI.

We discussed the next dive, and what we wanted to do. There is a wall to the other side of the bay, so we decided to do that, and to a depth of 80 ft, which would give me about a 20 minute dive, as I was diving air, and they were diving 32%, so I was the limiting factor on time.

We spent an hour topside to maximize my NDL, and did our checks.

This time, I remembered the drysuit hose when I put on the rig, even tucked it under the shoulder strap so it would be ‘there’ when I was to connect it.

I didn’t connect it. I didn’t even remember it until we were heading down the hill.

It wasn’t even there.

Mike kindly dragged it out from under my waist belt, and we were now squared away.

Fins on, turn pressures and times were decided and down we went to 80 ft.

Almost, we hung around 75-77 ft, and for a bit longer than our plan. I forgot that in order to do a 20 minute dive at 80 ft, you need to turn back halfway through, and so did Mike.

But my suit was working they way I wanted it to, or more correctly, I was diving properly with a dry suit.

Pulling both arms back to vent as we ascended, venting my wing every few feet, and held all the stops.

Why couldn’t I have figured that out sooner!

On the dive there was quite a lot of activity under the water, and not just from the OW class. Quite a few big Cod, some small crabs, tonnes of shrimp, lots of stars (small 5 legged, large many legged, and a few in-between) and in one crevice on our ascent, there was a cod with some egg bunches, and a crab having some lunch in the same crack.

Also noticed a flounder. Later Mike told me there were some more smaller ones that I didn’t see in the same area (size of a soft ball diamond).

Hi Fives on the surface all around on the dive, except for we didn’t turn the dive where we were supposed too, and didn’t dive the depth we discussed (being a few feet shallower).

On that last dive, I felt great about diving in a dry suit, in the dark 45 deg salt water. That first dive of the day had me thinking that I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, and to cancel the day of drysuit diving in California a few weeks from now.

We de kitted, and headed back to the shop to rinse our gear, and finnish up some paperwork.

I had forgotten my log book back home on this trip (it’s almost full, and I want to do a proper book, not like the one I have), so wrote up a page for Liz to sign off of for my Drysuit Cert!

Passed! Wohoo!!

We did some review on the weekend on my performance, what I need to work on for future diving with GUE in mind, and what things I should change/acquire to make diving up in the PNW more comfortable, like a bigger wing for the added weight, fins, shorter inflator hose, etc

The day prior, I purchased a pair of rock boots, and a set of weight pockets with an expensive H on them. The weights I have don’t fit into them too nicely, so a few of the divers/shop were nice to swap weights (and Liz … oops, the shop got some nice shiny 1 Lb weights to clip with for doing quick buoyancy checks)
Victoria BC, Henderson Point
Date: January 26, 2014
Bottom Time: 40 minutes
Max Depth: 20m
Water Temp: 6.7C
Vis: 20 feet
Notes: Drysuit dive 3 – Checked out the ‘Insurance Claim’ to the Right of the bay
Running Time: 44:07

Victoria BC, Henderson Point
Date: January 26, 2014
Bottom Time: 30 minutes
Max Depth: 24m
Water Temp: 7.2C
Vis: 20 feet
Notes: Drysuit dive 4 – Headed to the wall to the left
Running Time: 44:37

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