Archive for August, 2006

Newbies are Fun

August 6, 2006

Especially when they’re Linda and Myanna’s niece, Maren, from Vermont.  She’s almost 15 and wanted to try scuba.  She fits into Linda’s old wetsuit and we found a pair of Force Fins that were perfect.  Peter’s little aluminum 50 tanks, a simple harness, and 25 pounds of lead on a flip flop buckled belt completed the picture.  Imagine a fresh-faced youngster just starting in this sport that we love.  Oops, sorry, Pete, this activity we love.  What fun to have her be a natural in the water and a good kid to boot.  She got teased by You Know Who and gave it back, in spades. 

We got started on the little beach at Kettle Island.  Veronica was the go-to gal for the examples and Maren’s in water practice efforts, while Pat and I were the standing-in-waist-deep-water types who were adjusting her harness, helping find her lost fin, rearranging the weight belt, and cheering her on.  We were also the inflatable boat’s crew which involved heavy lifting and backwards rowing.

The rest of the customers were Bill Low, Jim Castelli, Linda and Myanna.  They were diving at the deep wall at Kettle Island and looking for Guess What.  Maren did so well in the shallow water of the beach that we decided to try the swim along the island’s northern shoreline back to where the others were diving.  Veronica and she were swimming on or near the surface for a good quarter mile.  Maren made down it to 19 feet and was able to clear her ears.  She and Veronica saw a flounder, a striper and two lobsters that were too small to keep.  She said she had a blast and wanted another tank, a very good sign.

Our second dive site was behind Graves Island near the Wreck of the New Hampshire.  Maren, Linda, Myanna, Veronica, and Pete went for a swim up along the rocky shore.  Maren was able to use the down line to clear her ears perfectly.  This time she saw a moon snail and held a flounder in her gloved hand.  Bill Low said he never got into water below 60 degrees at either site, even though he was at 35 feet and then about 20 feet.   Bill took his camera in to try its video and photo capabilities in the very clear water.  He thought it was about 20 foot visibility.

Maren got a chance to gauge lobsters that the customers found once they were onboard and ready to be re-tested.  She also got to band them, even a huge one that was just short enough to be legal, that Myanna and Linda caught at the second site.

We all had a wonderful time today. 

It’s exactly why we love doing what we do.

The Kettle and The Egg

August 5, 2006

We went south because the little breeze that was building told us to.  The tide was high – bad news for tired, sweaty, gear-laden divers on the return trip up the ramp – and we had to wait for the Blynman Bridge.  As we sailed through we waved to Don Dunsky on the island side and Matt, the bridge tender.

The first stop was at the deep wall at Kettle Island.  Bill L., Jacki K., and Larry L. were suited up quickly because of all the space available.  Pete partnered with Jacki and they were in first.  The water was 58 degrees, according to Bill.  That was true all the way to the bottom at 50 feet.  The wind died at about noon and the flies from the island discovered their new best friends on Easy Diver.   We decided to move to escape them.

The north side of Egg Rock looked good.  We anchored in about 25 feet of water over the notch and groove that runs the length of that side of the island.  It was very clear where there was no kelp or sea weed – about 15 feet of visibility.

I saw several of the Salem Sound Coastwatch’s Top Ten Most Wanted species, including:

  • Orange sheath tunicate
  • Star tunicate
  • Compound sea squirt, Diplosoma listerianum

We were lucky to have warm water and clear conditions even though there was some passing boat traffic to Kettle Cove.

The ride home was an easy one because we could pass under the Blynman Bridge without having to ask for an opening.  It was only the steepness of the ramp that tinged the end of the day with strain.  Oh well, not everything’s perfect, even if the weather is.