Making Lemonade Out of Lumpy Lemons

The weatherman had said the wind would be from the wsw.  Uh-uh.  It was more like nnw when we exited the Annisquam River and headed towards Halibut Point.  The weatherman had said 8-12 mph.  Not here.  It was at least 15 and maybe 20 mph with the fetch bringing lumps and swells between 1-3 feet.

Riding across the top of the cape meant taking the waves on our port beam.  That made things wet and windy on the deck.  However, we knew that going south wasn’t going to be much fun for the beginner who was with us for his first scuba lesson.  The wind had been blowing from that direction for most of the week.  Greg B. was going to have to be in stand-up water and nothing along the north side was looking good enough.

Then we got to Folly Cove and I could see that wa-a-a-y inside was flat.  I anchored in about 15 feet of water just under the A.R.E.R. graffito on the wall.  The tide was coming in from dead low.  The wind was not noticeable at all and we could see the sandy bottom from the flying bridge.  We were quickly good to go.

Peter, The Captain, and LD helped NAUI Instructor candidate, Seth R., and me get Greg into his wetsuit and the rest of his rubber goods.  Then we put all the remaining gear and a divers flag into the inflatable and Seth towed it to the beach while Greg and I fin-swimmed along side. 

Richard Brandolini and LD were able to make their dives along the wall while Seth and I worked with the beginner in waist deep, very clear, green-tinted water.  Looking down through the surface layer showed a distinct thermocline or else a layer of freshwater lying on the salty lower layer from all the rain we’d had.

Greg was a quick learner.  He had the basics covered after just being shown them one time.  Snorkel swimming and surface diving and snorkel clearing and fin swimming and regulator retrieval and regulator clearing were easy beans for him.  Mask clearing was going to take more practice, but he had the fundamentals down.  Peter swam into the beach to help and agreed to be our guide back out deeper.  After double-checking Greg’s air supply and sending Seth back on the surface with the inflatable, we made Greg’s first real scuba dive back to the Easy Diver underwater.  We saw lots of hermit crabs and several baby moon snails on the way.  The visibility was about 15 feet.  The water temperature was about 55 degrees.

Then it was weightbelt ditching time.  Greg’s weight belt was tied off to the boat and he practiced how it felt to ditch it after jumping in from the swim platform.  We emphasized how important it is to be able and willing to throw it away.

Greg’s and my second dive was right under the boat in about 20 feet of water.  He was able to clear his ears on the downline.  We did bouyancy control skills, fin removal and replacement, took off our tanks and swam around with them under our arms and saw more critters along the way.  He did great.

The way back to the marina was as bumpy and uncomfortable as it had been on the way out.  Now the wind was even more northerly and we were taking the swells and chop on the starboard stern corner.  It’s not a fun ride that way because the boat tends to fishtail and the driver is constantly compensating.  Our track from a GPS screen would have looked like it was made by a drunken sailor.

But, the good news was that it had become almost high tide by the time we needed to schlep the gear up the ramp and into the parking lot.  Many hands made light work.

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