Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sleep with the fishes...

Or at least swim with them. Scuba diving is a new thing for me, at least since the fall of 2004 when I got certified. I did this CRAZY thing of finishing college classes, working full time in Maryland, and getting PADI Open Water, Nitrox, and Advanced Open Water certified all at the same time. The idea was to dive the Spiegel Grove in Key Largo in January 2005. Which we did. So, Scuba became another activity. Once you get past the constant fear of exceeding some limit or running out of air, it is actually a lot of fun. The fish pretty much think you belong there and treat you like one of them. It is the oddest thing to be in the murky mid atlantic next to a wreck, and these fish just look at you almost like they are curious. I've had a few even try to use me as shelter. To which my next thought is, where is the bigger fish that is supposed to eat them, and do I look like I might be on the menu? In Cozumel once, I saw a school of fish like the shape changers from "Finding Nemo". My first thought was, it looks like a buffet, where are the dinner guests, and I don't want to be here when they get here.

So I got an underwater camera in the fall. I'm still working out the kinks, but this is the first time I have really used it underwater. Lake Rawlings is a cool spot just south of Richmond that many dive shops use for certification dives. It is enclosed, well supervised, and is a fairly safe place for your first dives. The lake is populated with various structures specifically designed for your certification. It makes it rather ideal for cash strapped folks that want to brush up a bit on their skills without traveling to far away lands. The opening scene from "The Replacements" was filmed there. The lake was a rock quarry that was used for building part of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. During the digging they sprung a leak, opening the aquifer, and the pit filled with water.

A friend from work just got certified and has only been on one dive. I'll dive anywhere just for the experience, and I was itching to use my camera! So the middle of last week we said, "We're going!" And we did.

Brandon wanted to snorkel. It was raining off and on as the remnants of some tropical depression rolled through. In between dives I got him out there to snorkel. He was pretty scared. He did pretty well, but the fish kind of freaked him out. I don't think he expected them to come right up to him. He has heard several stories of fish bites, etc, so he was really afraid of them. Not to mention the water was pretty cold.

So, a new thing to do on a rainy day!


  1. You're my new hero Ferris Bueller. I hate even sticking my head under water. No way in you know where I'd go down there willingly...even with a tank on my back.

    Oh and by "go down there" I was speaking of under the water. Just clarifying that for your dirty mind!

  2. Yeah, not a big underwater fan either. Mostly because the silence part freaks me out. I like more noise. :)

  3. So how hard was it to get certified as a diver? that just sounds so cool. Although I'm sure it won't go over well with Summer. Just what I need. Another expensive hobby.

  4. Jules: Oh to be as "dirty" minded as you...that is my goal.

    Steve: The sound underwater is so strange. At least I hear things now. When I was learning, I was so tunnel visioned on gages and following steps that I never heard anything. Now I hear more, if that makes any sense. The alarm on my dive computer is almost useful.

    CH: It is pretty easy to get open water certified. You could essentially do it in a week. You study the book and do all of the questions. At the end of the week you review it with an instructor, take a test, do some pool tasks, then do a couple of dives. Presto, Open Water certified. You are allowed to go down to 60', which most things you want to see are 60' and above anyway. Renting equipment gets expensive after a while, and it is hit and miss, so you will eventually want to get your own gear. You normally don't need tanks though. There is a lot more to say, but that can get you going....Of course snorkeling can be just as fun or more, and it doesn't cost anything to get certified! :-)

  5. I'd love to learn to scuba dive. Of course, my fear of the things in the water might make that difficult.

  6. Oh, wow. I SOOO want to learn to scuba dive. I love snorkelling, and have been hankering after a scuba-learning vacation for, like, FOREVER.


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