Archive for June 2015

Dive #154: Edmonds Underwater Park, Edmonds, WA

Place:Edmonds Underwater Park Buddy:Doug
Weather:Sunny Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):12.2 Visibility (m):3
Time down:09:11 Dive time (mins):68
Average depth (m):6.7 Water temp. (C):11.0

Notes: Dive #4 in drysuit. This time it was just myself and Doug for a relatively early dive just north of Seattle in a place called Edmonds. There’s a piece about the site here. They note a long surface swim. It seems there’s a choice between a long swim if you enter at high tide and a long walk otherwise. We took the former option but did the swim underwater rather than on the surface. Shallow as it was, the dive was quite challenging due to the shear amount of ground we had to cover. The site is huge with many man-made objects submerged to form artificial reefs. We saw a boat or two on the way to investigating the “dry dock” which is presumably a submerged dry dock or part of one. It’s hard to tell. The vis was pretty woeful but there were some fairly big fish around and some impressive formations of plant life.

I made the mistake of getting the thumb loop of my undergarment caught in the right wrist seal of the drysuit, so water was able to gradually seep in over the duration of the dive. I knew there was water getting in pretty early on, but it was quite localized and it remained so. When I changed at the end, the right sleeve of the undergarment was sopping wet, but the rest was fairly dry.

Equipment: Identical to previous dive. My compass stopped working. This has happened before and I need to sort it out. I’m a little unsure about the new torch (Halcyon EOS Mini). The handle just doesn’t feel secure and the torch really interferes with things like unclipping the pressure gauge and controlling the BC inflator hose.

Accumulated time underwater: 4 days, 7 hours and 51 minutes.

Dive #153: Cove 2, West Seattle, WA

Place:Cove 2 Buddy:Doug
Weather:Overcast, mild Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):30.8 Visibility (m):3
Time down:20:02 Dive time (mins):46
Average depth (m):15.2 Water temp. (C):11.0

Notes: Dive #3 in drysuit, again at Cove 2. A quartet: Josh, Archis, Doug and myself. This time we did a short surface swim, perhaps 30-40 m, and descended at a buoy. I’m still very hazy on the various areas of Cove 2 but we went to one set of pylons that took us to about 30 m and then worked our way to more shallow parts. Josh and Archis split off for some tech drills while Doug and I finished the dive in a more leisurely fashion. Being a bit earlier in the evening it wasn’t quite as dark as the last time. Plenty of life around though and a very pleasant dive overall.

Equipment: 16 lb (2×5 in integrated weight pockets and 2×3 in trim pockets on upper cam band) in addition to steel backplate and 6-lb STA weight; new Halcyon EOS Mini torch which is nice and robust though I should have the handle a bit tighter; steel tank from 5th D; neck seal was more comfortable after I cut it a shade wider. To do: trim some of the excess length off my harness; move to a long hose/short hose setup to get a bit used to that before starting the GUE Fundies course in August.

Accumulated time underwater: 4 days, 6 hours and 43 minutes.

Dive #152: Cove 2, West Seattle, WA

Place:Cove 2 Buddy:Archis and Josh
Weather:Fine Type:Shore
Max. depth (m):14.9 Visibility (m):5
Time down:21:16 Dive time (mins):49
Average depth (m):7.3 Water temp. (C):10.0

Notes: This was my second dive with the new dry suit and it was much better this time. I went with Archis and Josh, two local Seattle GUE divers. I paid a lot of attention to buoyancy and definitely got the hang of dumping air from the drysuit. While I’ve not perfected it by any means, it seems like the best strategy is to use both the suit and the wing to maintain buoyancy. Keep just enough in the suit to keep warm and stop squeeze, and do the rest mostly with the wing. For one thing, you can dump much faster from the wing, so you can adjust quickly. In contrast, it comes relatively slowly out of the suit. I dived with the suit valve entirely open. This time I paid close attention and could hear and feel the air leaving the suit when I got my shoulder in the correct position. My weighting was much better too, this time (see below).

The dive was really nice. Very slow and relaxed. There’s lots of colour and life at Cove 2 at night. I saw a pipefish of some kind and lots of nice purple and green flora. Crabs are in abundance, big and small. Some were moving around, often accompanied by a prawn. Others were to be found in very melodramatic poses. I saw one big fellow clinging to an upright pole with his back legs and looking away from the pole holding his claws outstretched in defiance of anything that might approach.

At the end of the dive I hung around playing with my buoyancy while Archis and Josh did some GUE drills. We finished with a very controlled ascent from 5 or 6 metres, easing up while dumping air from the suit, and surfacing to a wonderful view of the Seattle city skyline.

Equipment: I borrowed a tank and weights from Archis. Steel backplate with 6-lb integrated STA weight, and 16 lb of lead on a weight belt. This was pretty perfect weighting. Could also do 16-lb by putting 5 lb in each of the side pockets and 3 lb in each of two trim pockets, but the weight belt was actually fine. It also makes the scuba unit much easier to lift and adjust so maybe it’s a better way to go in general. I need to work on getting the harness more nicely fitted and I should trim the excess length. I also need a slightly longer dry suit inflator hose. My thick woolly socks were good, and also I used the optional in-soles that came with the dry suit so my feet felt pretty snug. I made sure to do the ankle straps fairly tight to avoid excess air down there. I think another ring could be cut off the neck seal of the suit. To hold my light, I used a cheap goodman handle that I got ages ago from Dive Gear Express. It’s pretty flimsy though (cable ties to hold light head in place) so I’d like to replace it. I’d also like a better way of fixing the canister to my harness, though it does fit nice and snugly behind the weight pouch. I dived with the spool in one pocket and SMB in the other, instead of tucking the SMB up behind the backplate pad. I think this is better. Archis suggested putting the spool and SMB assembled into one pocket, which is a nice idea. I’m really looking forward to moving to long/short hose, and to get rid of the AAS being attached to the harness, but I’m going to have to wait until I do the fundies to do that.

Accumulated time underwater: 4 days, 5 hours and 57 minutes.