Hobbies and Passions in the Mid Atlantic forum: My Life on the Water

 
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ImageJan
Feb 24, 2010 9:55 AM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
That is a long drive for you. It was just this last October. There was a school group that kinda loudly breezed through, but they left soon after we got there. We went late morning and had our lunch on a bench overlooking the river before we went inside. I wanted to take him by himself. It's a lot more stressful trying to watch all 3 at the same time. He is very inqusitive. He does show some autistic tendencies so wanted to have some quality time with him, w/o his younger brother trying to be the spotlight. Smiling He just loved it. His socialization skills are getting better.
Imagebeckygardener
Feb 24, 2010 6:09 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Glad y'all enjoyed my moray eel and spearfishing story. I love telling these stories because it makes me re-live them from that filing cabinet in the back of my brain! LOL!

Okay, here is my creepy freshwater story.

I took the beginning scuba class and enjoyed it so much that I decide to take the advanced class to up-grade my certification. The class required us to practice at one of the local lakes. We did numerous dives during the day and it wasn't anything fabulous. Mucky visibility, tall, slender freshwater grasses growing underwater, and lots of typical lake fish. Nothing exciting or exceptionally beautiful like the ocean. Kind of blah diving, so I would go down on the weekends to West Palm Beach to dive to get my real scuba fix! LOL! I live near the ocean but the visibility here is awful, so we have to travel several hours to WPB to dive in clear water.

Well, part of the advanced diver certification is to do a night dive. And mind you, my dive buddy was not my dh (he worked and couldn't take the class with me), but another fella who I paired up with from the beginning class. So we became friends, but since I didn't know him real well, I couldn't second-guess his reactions or movement other than staying up with him. He was fast underwater because he was over 6' tall. I am short 5'3". So I am asking him to not get too far ahead of me.

Now let me tell you ... in Florida ... any body of freshwater has alligators. Canals, ponds, and lakes! We all knew it! Alligators are very active at night. We'd heard rumors of an alligator being spotted out in this lake. Neither myself or my dive buddy were very thrilled about doing this night dive. No full moon either. All we each had was a waterproof flashlight which we used to find our way underwater. This dive was to test our night navigational skills using a compass. Fun, fun. NOT! We were already creeped out, but that wasn't the best part ...

In the local news, there had been an investigation into the disappearance of an elderly woman. Her son was believed to have done harm to her and the authorities believed she was probably murdered. Well, the local police/marine patrols had been sending divers out to local lakes to do a search to see if her body might have been dumped in any of them. This lake we were diving in was just a few miles from where this woman lived. It was scheduled to be searched the following day after our night dive. So of course all those in my scuba class were talking about it, further making this dive really creepy.

So out we all go with our dive buddies ... relunctantly. I am trying my best to keep up with my dive partner. I think he was in a hurry to get the dive over with and get out of the water. LOL! Me, too! We submerge underwater heading out to the middle of the lake. My partner has the compass and so he stops to show me the compass. We aren't allowed to surface. We are going through all these tall underwater grasses and seeing all kinds of stuff that has been dumped into this lake. Old furniture, old refridgerators, tires, etc. The visibility is maybe 3 feet in front of you. I HATE low visibility!!! And at night it is even worse. Night diving is a WHOLE DIFFERENT BALLGAME, let me tell you! So we are both really creeped out trying to use the compass, communicate with each other, and get back to shore without finding anything that we didn't want to find.

Let me tell you that the things running through my mind was unbelievable. I was never so scared as I was that night doing a night dive in that lake!

Fortunately, we made it back to shore without incident except for being off a short distance from our mark. No dead body weighted down in the lake or an alligator encounter. Whew! I hate freshwater diving here in Florida! Ugh!

My class was two afternoons a week. So at the next class two days later, we met once again at this lake ... during the day. As we are all pulling up in our vehicles, we all notice a wildlife truck there. We see these two men (looking rough as rednecks do) out in a small motor boat. They are coming to shore. And low and behold ... what do they have in their boat, but a 7' alligator duct taped and tied up to be removed from this lake and relocated. I about fainted! I am quite sure that alligator was in the lake two nights earlier when we were all doing our night dive. We all EARNED our advanced certification and went out to celebrate our survivial after this last class ended! LOL LOL LOL
Another Day in Paradise!
ImageJan
Feb 24, 2010 6:38 PM CST
Name: Jan Jackson
south Jersey
I was on pins and needles thinking that you guys were going to be heroes in finding her until I got to the end. BOY, am I certainly glad you didn't find a gator or that missing women. I would have been so creeped out. "shivering"
Imagebeckygardener
Feb 24, 2010 6:51 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Jan - LOL! I was on pins and needles that entire night dive. It's like every cell in my body was on alert and I was so jumpy. So was my dive buddy! LOL! When we were heading out to the middle of the lake, I had to grab his leg to slow him down as he was so fast. He about kicked me right out of the water! LOL! I scared the you-know-what out of him when I did that! He thought an alligator had bit him! LOL!
Another Day in Paradise!
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 24, 2010 9:04 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Jan, You are so right it is good to take the kids for some one on one time. I did that with my children and I do that with my Grandchildren. Some time I take the cousins all together so they can get some bonding time but I also take Lily without her brother so it can just be us. My cousin's son is autistic. It is not sever and he is doing well but they do have to be-careful where they take him. They quite often both drive so one of them can take him and leave early it the need arises. He also loves the Aquarium my cousin says it is one of his favorite places.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 24, 2010 9:13 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Becky, I just love your stories. What a great and spooky adventure. Yes, those Fl. lakes would make me very nervous. I was so very nervous on my first Night Dive but it turned out to be just the most wonderful experience. I don't like low visibility but I just love night diving. It is one of my favorite things to do. Thank you for sharing your stories. Have you tried cave diving? I have no interest in cave diving but some of the pictures are just gorgeous. I visited Blue Springs and snorkeled over the spring head just wanted to see it as I know people that have dived there and I have seen it showcased on a few dive shows.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Imagebeckygardener
Feb 24, 2010 10:09 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Thanks Jan and Holly! Some stories to tell my future grandkids! LOL!

My dh and I LOVE nite diving in the ocean! Yes! My favorite way to dive, too! It is so different at night. I get a kick out of the sleeping fish just swaying in the current. I had the rare experience of seeing a lobster caravan one night. They actually all gather in a 3-4 wide line and walk along the ocean floor to migrate. Hundreds of them as far as our flashlights could see! My dh's whole body was quivering when he saw that! LOL! He's a lobster diver through and through. It was easy picken's for him and the others with us!

I don't like catching lobster though, because I actually feel sorry for them. Did you know they scream when you kill them? Ackkkk! I can't take it to hear them. I love all ocean creatures and I tried to discourage my dh from catching them. Didn't work. LOL! I can't eat them because of it and it bothers me to see them live in those tanks in the grocery store. I don't eat fish either. LOL! But I do eat scallops and clams. Just not anything with eyes.

I did a short cave dive at a natural spring once. It was not a good feeling. It's very easy to get disoriented in those caves. I get claustrophobic in confined spaces, too. Didn't care for it. But the rock formations are really interesting. Cold water though. I like my diving water conditions warm. :-)

I got seasick one time on a dive. Did you know you can actually throw up through your regulator under water? LOL! Sure can! Chums the water real good! LOL! Did a group dive trip out to a reef in the keys on a really nasty day. I still can't believe the dive boat even took us out in that weather. They must've been hurting for money or something ... anyway, they got out there in really rough seas and told us all to get off the boat because they didn't want us all throwing up on their boat. So got in the water and the waves were just beating us until we got about 30' down. But by then, most of us were so sick that we all pretty much lost our lunch. Ugh! Not a pretty sight! LOL LOL LOL

I have a fear of heights. Strangest thing ... I had a panic attack due to that fear in Bonaire during a dive. The island underwater wall/reef drops off straight down to a few miles deep. I was just hanging at about 40' deep off of the ledge and looked down and had that horrible feeling that I was falling because I could barely see the bottom of the ocean in that area. I had a mild panic attack. Never thought I'd have an Acrophobia attack under water!

I loved diving. Floating along with the current and watching the tiny sea creatures in their little communities! It's just so mesmerizing! And the fish are amazing! Some of those Angel fish are really intelligent. Never met a dumb fish while diving.

Came across some really large grouper on some of the Florida reefs. They get huge! Love seeing the smaller fish and banded coral shrimp cleaning the teeth of those big boys! So funny! There is a whole other world under the ocean!

Holly - Did you ever dive any of the old ship wrecks?
Another Day in Paradise!
Imagestormyla
Feb 26, 2010 7:52 AM CST
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Holly & Beckygardener, we are certainly enjoying your dive stories. Holly, I kept thinking about you every time I heard the news about that trainer getting killed in Sea World this week.

This is wonderful that you all are sharing your experiences of the wonderful sea life you've encountered on your dives. Becky, your night diving experience in the lake definitely was a harrowing tale. Blinking
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 26, 2010 12:46 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Becky, Boy do I know all about getting seasick while diving. On my very first certification open dive I was chumming the fish. They didn't even talk about it during classes and 45ft down you can't very well ask! LOL

Stormy, I was watching that incident at Sea World. There is always a chance that something could happen when you work around animals. There are Hippos at Adventure Aquarium we don't get in the water with the Hippos. They have an out of view area for them to go into at night. Much like putting your horses in stalls at night there is good bedding, food and water for them. Their stalls are huge and the metal post and rails are as big as my waist. They are very gentle born and raised in captivity. Very use to human handling but their handlers take a lot of precautions. If they need something done in the viewing enclosure cleaning or maintenance they do it before the Aquarium opens or after it closes while the Hippos are still in their stall area. There is a separate team that generally cleans the Hippo tank , they go in at night. A year or two ago cleaning the Hippo Tank was featured on Dirty Jobs. Sometimes they needed someone first thing in the morning before the Hippo are let out into the public viewing area. Several times I have gone in to remove a dead fish or clean out a clogged drain. Remember I'm just a Volunteer they don't even pay me for this. LOL What an exciting hobby. :rofl:
I

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Imagebeckygardener
Feb 26, 2010 1:09 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Holly - Oh my! I love your hippo photo! How cool! Never even thought about wildlife such as those to dive with or watch from a distance! :-)

The tragedy at Sea World is very sad. It bothers me that they keep those whales confined in such small areas. I am sure the whales get frustrated. What kind of life is that for them to be living in and performing day after day? I think about them swimming free in the ocean. Thousands of miles of ocean they cover in their lifetime. It just doesn't sound like a life for a wild mammal. So when something like that happens, I am not surprised. I am actually surprised it doesn't happen more often. Very sad for the trainer and her family. I am sure she loved those whales and that was just something that was a terrible tragedy.

Holly - You must come to Florida to dive alot? Any stories about ship wreck diving?
Another Day in Paradise!
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 26, 2010 2:23 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Becky, I think about the balance of keeping animals in captivity I love going to the Zoo's, Sea World and the Aquariums. I believe that programs like those are wonderful in promoting wildlife conservation. When people come in contact with animals it makes them care more about what happens to them. You get more laws protecting them and the environment they live in. Especially as we seem to move farther away from the outside world and closer to the inside world viewing nature more from TV and computers. It is hard to make children (the next generation) care about the environment when they don't come in contact with it. Many of the animals now in captivity have never known a free roaming life but they still have those instincts and I can't help but feel for them at the same time.
No funny to say I have never dove in Fl. and I haven't done Wreck Diving either. Mostly due to the lack of a Dive Partner. My DH Ric can't dive he has no eardrums and the sea water just flows in though the ear canal and into his sinuses he has trouble just snorkeling. My old dive partner J doesn't dive anymore.
Sea Anemone Photo taken by dive partner Grand Turk

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Imagedixiegalpa
Feb 26, 2010 2:29 PM CST
Name: Debbie S
Central PA
Hitting lots of milestones this yea
Hey Holly...I'll go with you......how bout we leave the boys here is PA and we'll go south:) LOL
mama of a 7yr old Wolf Scout.
wife of wonderful hubby of 9 yrs:)
Secretary of Pack Committee 284
Asst Den Leader,PTO mama,SAHM
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 26, 2010 3:25 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
So I was pretty happy going to the Bahamas for a week once a year. But I really wasn't doing a lot of diving. J and I would go out for 2 maybe 3 dives while our husbands would go fishing. Then J started to have problems with her diving. She loved seeing the underwater world but was never real comfortable in the water like I was and 2 or 3 dives once a year really doesn't give you enough practice to get comfortable. It started with a scare. We had gone out and had a great dive. In the beginning of the dive we swam though channels in the coral heads it was just so beautiful and we had never done that before. Early in the dive we hit about 80ft and then started a slow loop around getting more shallower as we headed back.
At the beginning of a dive your tanks are full of air and that makes them a little heavier. The deeper you go the heavier you are and at depth you compensate for the weight by putting air in your BCD Buoyancy Control Device (the vest divers wear). As you come up into shallower water you aren't as heavy as you were in deeper water plus towards the end of the dive you don't have as much air in your tanks so they are lighter, too. You start leaving the air out of your vest as you don't need it to compensate as you get shallower. At the end of a dive you do a safety stop. If you were very deep or stayed down a long time you must decompress before returning to the surface. If you are doing shorter shallower dive you don't have to decompress but you still do a stop just for additional safety.
Well we had been slowly getting shallower as we looped around and then came up over the top of some beautiful coral heads. J started to slowly float up she couldn't stop herself. I could see her struggling to try and get back down but she couldn't. I reached her and grabbed her fin trying to pull her back down but by then she had moved up into even shallower water and her struggling was just making it worse. She was just pulling me with her. I let go and watched her slowly float up.
Because we had moved up slowly from the 80ft depth over time step by step. It wasn't a necessary for her to make the safety stop it was just an extra caution. But the fact that she could not control her Buoyancy was a big deal. If we had been on a different type of dive it could have resulted in serious injury. J was now even more uncomfortable diving and this pretty much ended her diving hobby. So here I am going to the Bahamas the only diver in the group. I would usually go out for 2 morning dives with a local boat and just follow the group. Two dives a year isn't very much diving for someone that just loves doing it.
One year we went for 2 weeks and I took advantage of that trip to get my Advanced Open Water. Felt terrible guilty leaving every morning for my dive while the rest sat around and waited for me to get back. But I really wanted that Advanced Cert.
Black Coral Grand Turk

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
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ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 26, 2010 3:28 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Ric and I were just talking about that. We "ARE" ready lets go!
Why don't you tell JR's Hippo friend story, remember from the Dr's office?
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
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Imagestormyla
Feb 26, 2010 3:41 PM CST
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Holly those are beautiful photos. J must have been frightened pretty badly. It's a shame, but those kind of experiences leave their mark. I love and RESPECT Hippos.
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 27, 2010 7:02 AM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
No, It was a bit of a scare but not too terribly frightening as we both knew that she wouldn't have any ill effects from missing the safety stop. We had come up so slowly we knew she would be OK. It was more the loss of control. Her panic was really more of a struggle to get back control of the situation when she realized that she couldn't she stopped struggling and just let her self surface. It was that feeling of having no control that really got to her. I think she liked diving but for her it was one of those things where you try something like it but aren't really interested that much in it. I would always do a few dives (if you could call them dives) at the local pool when I was getting ready to go to the Bahamas just to check out my gear and get myself back underwater before I threw myself off the back of a boat. One year I took advantage of a Peak Performance Buoyancy Class. It was a good way to check everything out and gain some valuable training. Actually it in someways started a new chapter in my diving. I needed more dive time than I was getting so one year I found a group of divers from the local dive shop that were heading out to Grand Turk.
Grams and JR Adventure Aquarium

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
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Imagebeckygardener
Feb 27, 2010 10:34 PM CST
Name: Becky
Florida Zone 9b/10a
Holly - With all the beautiful underwater photos you've posted, I thought you were diving regularly. And for some reason I thought you did a lot of diving in the FL Keys. I must be getting you mixed up with someone else. Sheesh! Sorry about that! Sorry to hear you don't have a dive partner. That does make it difficult to go diving. I was very fortunate that my dh enjoyed it as much as I did! I dove several weekends a month for about 3 years before kids. Mostly Florida diving. We did all kinds of diving. Most dives were about 60' depth. And we did do some ship wreck dives as well. Interesting, but I still enjoyed the reef dives more. The sea life on any coral reef is just amazing to observe.

That's really scary what happened to your friend, J. You really do learn alot about controling your buoyancy when you dive a lot. I am sorry that J had some unnerving experiences and quit diving. :-( Two dives a year doesn't give you much dive time. Do you still dive? When was the last time you went scuba diving? It's been 23 years for me. And I still miss it. But I am out of shape and haven't gone in so long that I'd probably have to do a refresher course before hitting the ocean again. And it is expensive to dive. Money is tight right now, so not even an option. :-(
Another Day in Paradise!
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 28, 2010 6:06 AM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Yes Beck I do still dive not near as often as I like. I spent a week in Cozumel last Nov it was a great time. The really good pictures marked Grand Turk were taken by my dive partner on that trip. I spotted and she shot, I watched her and the group and kept her moving along so she didn't get completely lost in her photography. She rewarded me with a CD of pictures from our dives. I had the best time with her.
Here is one of my pics from Cozumel. Nurse Shark

Thumbnail by HollyAnnS

Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/
Imagestormyla
Feb 28, 2010 3:54 PM CST
Name: Stormy
Valley Forge Pa
I Love MAM ~ So Happy Together
Holly, Where is this trip that you have coming up this year going to be?
ImageHollyAnnS
Feb 28, 2010 9:14 PM CST
Name: Holly
South Central Pa
Utila, It is part of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras. I spent a week in Roatan a couple of years ago. Utila is right next to it. The Whale Sharks travel through that area and I am really hoping to see one. That would be an experience of a lifetime.
Life is Great! Holly
Please visit me and learn more about My Life on the Water a Personal Journey Thread in the MidAtlanticMusings Cubit.
http://cubits.org/MidAtlanticMusings/thread/view/5752/

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