Tuesday, July 25, 2006
We got on the road from Kutztown a little late the next morning despite the fact that we got a solid night’s sleep. Kutztown on a Sunday morning in the summer is dead quiet; no traffic in town besides the occasional Mennonite in suspenders and a straw hat cycling to church, and the only store open is the Letterman Diner. After a few cups of strong farmer’s coffee we slipped out of town, driving the winding country roads back to route 78 and waving at the Amish in their buggies as they clip clopped down the road in the opposite direction. The sky on Sunday was azure blue, the temperature was in the mid 70’s and the wind was calm; perfect weather for diving.
While Dave and Lauren set about listening to Ryan’s briefing about the skills required for their second dive, Arthur and I made plans top visit the Sikorsky helicopter at the far southern end of the quarry. (See picture). The route was the same until you got to the bus. From that point to locate the helicopter you have to navigate due south from the front of the bus and swim along the bottom for about 75 yards because there was no line running to the copter. Again the water was pretty snotty and cold and the hardest part was getting far enough away from the bus so the compass worked while still keeping it in sight as a point of reference. (For the non-divers, compasses are useless on metal wrecks because the metal screws with the magnetic field giving an inaccurate reading). After swimming along for a few minutes I noticed a line running up from the bottom. We had successfully navigated to the helicopter which was not in the sand, but suspended from the surface and the bottom so it appeared to be hovering at around 40 feet. Many large openings in the fuselage allowed for easy penetration; it was a good opportunity to practice buoyancy control in a wreck environment. We headed back at 1200 psi and finished the dive looking for crayfish to feed the bass back at the platform. It was an awesome dive and really whetted my appetite for more wreck diving. Our second dive was a simple out and back along the wall running the northern edge of the quarry. The dive was pleasant enough but kind of blasé. Max depth was 42 feet though we stayed at about 25’ for most of the trip.
I think I’ll probably accompany the advanced open water students for some dives in August but I am really looking forward to the night dive in the Shark River Inlet which is scheduled for August 24, 2006. I find buoyancy to be so effortless in salt water, even with the 7mm Michelin Man wetsuit one has to sport up here to stay warm. Ryan also mentioned that the tides were right on August 10 so we might steal down there to scoot from the intake out to around the jetty; either that or do some bug (lobster) hunting.
Tomorrow I will post on some non-diving topics, I swear.
Posted by Mark at 11:23 AM