Manta Divers October, 2009
As it is now (Yikes!) October, this is time for me to share with you what I did on my summer vacation. This may come as a shock, but it involved a lot of diving. As we’ve all learned in our open water classes the more we dive, the better our skills and the safer we are. I hope that if you were one of the many who joined us this summer, you had a great time, and if you didn’t join us, I hope that by sharing my experiences, you will make plans to join us next summer.
If you remember, winter was not quite ready to loosen its grip on the Midwest until quite late and we therefore got a late start to our adventures. We kicked off with a quick day trip to Pearl Lake in South Beloit on June 6. Pearl Lake is a one of our favorite spots for open water checkouts, with its many dive platforms and numerous sunken items to look at. We returned to Pearl in July and again at the end of September. We learned that the visibility at Pearl is best in the early autumn, as we enjoyed 20+ft. visibility in September.
We of course made several overnight trips to Kankakee, IL to dive the Caribbean of the Midwest, Haigh Quarry. I especially like Haigh Quarry because it has something for everyone. The water is exceedingly clear and there are many spots for student divers to show their open water skills without stirring up the bottom. The quarry also has a wonderful wall diving area that is a relaxing float that can be planned to be as deep as 60ft, or kept shallow as 20- 30ft. The wall dive is a great way to practice buoyancy on the south side if you have tired of running the buoyancy course set up on the north side of the quarry. Divers have a great time challenging themselves to navigate to the many attractions scattered at all points underwater. The fact that these trips are planned as overnighters leaves us the opportunity to do some night diving. Several divers managed to complete their Advanced Open Water certifications on our Haigh weekends, doing the deep, underwater navigation and night the first day, and their other two dives, i.e., wreck, buoyancy, or photography, on the second day.
In search of something new, we traveled to Baraboo one weekend in August to give Devil’s Lake a try. Prior to the trip, I had gotten varying reports as to the visibility of the lake or the convenience of entries for diving. We entered the lake on the first day from the south beach. There was really only room there for the dive van and trailer and two other cars to park. It was easy enough to get into the water, but the best diving was a long surface swim away. The visibility was very minimal and any false move finning kicked up all kinds of muck! The next day we entered by the railroad tracks. While we were closer to the points of interest diving, we had to navigate a steep, rocky embankment to get to the water. The vis on that side wasn’t much better, but we did have a good time feeding the bass. They really followed us like puppies after a while.
A new discovery was a great little place to stay while diving at Lake Wazee in Black River Falls: The Falls Motel. This motel, under new management and newly refurnished, is minutes from the lake. They have an outdoor pool, a fire pit and outside tables for gathering and visiting. The rooms are equipped with a small refrigerator and a microwave, all for about $50/night. We held our rescue diver class during our time at Wazee, and even enlisted some of the divers from other groups to play act in our missing diver scenario! We of course enjoyed swimming through the underwater forest and exploring the little boat wreck. With Wazee’s wonderful visibility, the lake’s wall dive is very Caribbean-like!
Included in our adventures this summer was a number of Lake Michigan dives. Our dives on the Lumberman and the Dredge in July gave us water temperatures at the bottom of 50F. Our dives in August to the Lady Elgin and the Seabird, were not so toasty due to a persistent wind from the west. We had to chuckle to myself, as our DM candidate, unfamiliar with Lake Michigan diving, planned a dive of 60minutes! I gently mentioned that the 43F water temperature may be the limiting factor in the length of the dive. As a water addict, I really enjoy the Lake Michigan charters because they give me a nice boat ride in addition wonderful dives on some of the lake’s historic wrecks.
Finally, to give us a little project, we did a few recovery dives in Lake Michigan and in northern Wisconsin. The most interesting, perhaps was the recovery of a 1955 Sears outboard motor in North Nokomis Lake. This lake used to be the site of a resort that rented all sorts of water toys, including boats and motors. Our friend who lives on this lake, called his cousin to tell him what we found and to ask if he knew what kind of motor the resort rented. His cousin laughed and said that that was the very motor the resort used to rent and he knew exactly how it got to the bottom of the lake. His grandpa had rented the motor, but the young boys were not allowed to take the boat out by themselves. The temptation was too much for the boy and he decided to sneak out with the boat in the middle of the night. He and his friend rowed the boat away from their grandpa’s house, waiting until they were far out in the water to put the rope on the motor and fire it up. What they didn’t know, was that the motor was not secured to the boat, so when they pulled the cord, the motor roared to life and flew off the boat!
Our final dive weekend this year was at Haigh Quarry, and it was a truly nice cap to the great summer we’ve had. That weekend, we certified five open water divers and an advanced open water diver, and our two divemasters, Tina Niemi Johnson and Frank Martinelli, passed their instructor’s exam. Team Manta grows again!
In Other News……….
Time is running out to sign up for the Grenada trip this April with Team Manta. Get your deposits in as soon as possible, as this trip is proving quite popular.
Want a great deal on a dive computer? Suunto is offering $150 off the price of a D9, D6, D4, Cobra or Cobra 3 dive computer. Buy now and enjoy extended bottom times, and superior record keeping.
October is BCD and Wetsuit Clearance Time! Now's your chance to get 25-30% off on selected in stock BCD's and wet suits!
Speaking of Computers, I am holding a dive computer class October 18, 2009 at 1 pm at the shop. If you’ve bought a Suunto computer from us, or are thinking about buying one, come on in, see who a dive computer works, and see all the advantages of owning a dive computer. In the class, I will cover various features of dive computers, how to operate Suunto dive computers, and simulated computer dives.
Tell your friends! Through December, we are offering two for one open water scuba class. Sign up with a friend, purchase your class materials, mask, fins and snorkel from us, and get the class two for one! Call the shop for details.
Again, congratulations to Tina Niemi Johnson and Frank Martinelli on successful completion of their instructor course. This took much effort and determination and we are very proud to have them as part of Manta Divers’ instructional team.