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Ice Diving 2001 Report

Omni Divers Underwater Services, L.L.C. Ice Diving 2001 Report

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Greetings Ice Divers and Interested Divers!

Oh my goodness ~ we had sooooooo much fun ice diving!! It was even more extraordinary than the last time I did it two years ago. I dropped a role of film off this morning; can't wait to get the pictures back to show everyone.

Paul Taylor, John Bischoff and a really nice guy from LA took the class. Yes, LA as in LA in CA - talk about temperature shock! Really interesting person; he's a hyperbaric Dr. and he said that 50% of the calls that DAN receives from the LA area get referred to him. He lived in Seattle for 15 years when he worked in intensive care, so he's dived in a lot of cool places. His real love is kayak diving, and I guess they do a lot of kayak diving off the LA coastline. In two weeks he's going to Antarctica for some serious "cold" water diving. He said he's going there because he considers Antarctica as the last great diving frontier. How exciting! He took a lot of video (mostly above, but some below too) and said if the video turns out he'll send Phil a copy so everyone can watch it.

Saturday morning the sun was out and made the site preparation very enjoyable. About 14" of ice, and about 14" of snow on top of it. It so just gorgeous out! Took about 2 hours to prepare the site (cut the opening in the ice and shovel the snow around the opening in a wagon-wheel pattern). As always, I always feel that the prep work involved is every bit as fun as the actual diving itself; wonderful teamwork with a great bunch of fun-loving people.

The first dive on Saturday was very dark to say the least... we got in the water really late in the afternoon (everyone opted to go back to the motel to change into their dry suit there so we lost some daylight there). I took my light down on the dive I did on Saturday and it was as dark as any night dive I've ever been on. Because of the darkness we were unable to see the true beauty of the ice - but we made up for that on Sunday. We did however, all gain a new and heightened appreciation for the cold!!!! Brrr!!!! The air temp was rather brutal on our wet gear - I unzipped my weight belt to get a pouch out for someone and didn't zip it back up right away - BIG MISTAKE as the zipper froze in place - open - ahhhh!! I have never seen gear freeze up so fast - or so rigid! We all scurried very quickly back to the cars and back to the motel after the diving was done to warm up! I then made the mistake of not paying very much attention to how I laid my weight belt down in the bathtub, and accidentally laid it zipper-side down, and I guess the little tab that one grabs a hold of to work the zipper was *really* cold as it snapped off :-) Well now.... I won't do that again :-) we then went to the Microbrew for an awesome dinner and fun conversation and none of us had any trouble getting a good night's sleep...

Sunday's diving was divine!!! No sun, but enough light that when we went beneath "the crystal ceiling" that you could see very well without a light. We had made the opening right above a neat area that had quite a few fully intact logs and the bottom was covered with large pieces of bark so I spent some time checking out the bottom, but most of each dive was spent hovering on my back about 5-6' below the surface watching my exhalation bubbles rise/expand and then shatter when they hit the ice. I really get a kick out of watching that, when the exhalation bubble shatters and gets scattered (slides) all over the underside of the ice it looks like a bucket full of diamonds had been thrown out on to a large mirror and they bounce and tumble and roll all around until they quickly start sliding towards one collective pool of air (the shapes of these reformed blobs of air remind me of the ink blots you see in a psychologists' office on TV). Very trippy ~ Another interesting thing I saw was the full reflection of my dive buddy in one of the air bubbles on the underside of the ice. He was about 10' below the ice and he was perfectly reflected into the air "blob". I was also able to see the full wagon-wheel pattern that we had cut out of the snow on the surface.

And, as always, the scenery in McCall was great. High clouds on Sunday, with just a little fog around the perimeter of the lake. All the businesses were working on their ice sculptures for the winter Carnival this upcoming weekend.

Fun, fun, fun!

I hope you can make it out ice diving in February! It'll be great!! (give you a chance to put your drysuit to the test).

by Lisa McFall, Ice Diving Enthusiast

Ice Diving Photos from January 2001

Greetings! I just picked up the ice diving photos; they're awesome!! They tell a really good story - working with the auger, the first hole of the opening, measuring down for depth, marking the 50' and 100' concentric circles via shuffling in the snow, good view of the spokes, the opening, Paul's official water heating area, suited up and ready to go, group photos after we're done diving, and a few nice shots taken up from the cars of the site at various stages of it being completed.

Next month (if we have enough tenders so that I can take photos) I'll take pictures of people getting in and out of the water and tending and I need to get a few of the following remaining stages: action shot using the auger (I have one of John standing by it), action shot of sawing, action shot of shoveling snow from the opening, and action shots of shoving under and replacing the ice piece. Then we'll have a complete series.

I'll make copies for everyone of pictures that they're in.

Ice Diving in January 2001

There was 12 inches of snow on a smooth ice surface, with about 10 inches of ice. The class went well. The shoveling was fine and the hole was cut fairly easily.

Ice Diving post

FYI... This was a nice post that went to the Kentuckian scuba diving online club earlier today...

"Lisa, Sorry I haven't posted sooner. Great report! We don't receive many ice diving trip reports here, but I'd like to hear more. I've never been ice diving before, but hope someday I can experience something close to your trip report.

I look forward to hearing about your next dive!


Here was my reply...

"I'm glad you enjoyed the report. Ice diving - due to the team-work it fosters via the site preparation, assisting divers in and out of the water and tending - is a very special adventure.

It also affords one the opportunity to experience winter in an appreciative manner (as one does when skiing or snow-shoeing) and allows land-locked divers a chance to keep diving during the months that their favorite mountain lakes are frozen over.

In a few days I hope to get some of the photos from our ice diving adventure scanned and posted.

I'll keep everyone updated on how things go on our next ice-diving adventure, scheduled for the last weekend of the month.

Enjoy the Day!"

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