Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Nice Saturday Down South

I got up at 6am on Saturday to get up and go diving down in Lake Worth with my dad and his friend Danny. We launched the boat around 9am and I've never seen a calmer inlet (maybe one just as calm). The ocean was as flat as a back yard pool except when boats cast their wakes.

My dad and I went on the first dive. Visibility was probably 30-40 feet. We caught a couple lobsters. I think this was the first time that I caught an egg bearing female (so I had to throw her back). As we were swimming, 2 remoras started following us. Later, Danny told us that they probably wanted to latch on and hitch a ride! I tried to chase them away and I was actually able hit one with my tickle stick. I've never had a fish let me hit them with my tickle stick. Fish seem to swim out of the way and not let me hit them with a tickle stick. Letting me hit them kinda made me think that these remoras were bad ass fish. It took us a while to shake them. Both of us hit them and we were pretty aggressive toward the fish.

When I went to surface on the first dive, I wasn't able to let air out of my BC, so I stayed down for a little bit. Let me mention that I was using Danny's regulator which does not have a BC inflator...so I had to inflate it by mouth. Apparently oral inflation isn't the only reason that the BC took on water, but I had lots of water in my BC. I tried sucking it out...breathe from the regulator, transfer my mouth to the BC inflator/deflator and suck out the water, spit out the water, and breathe again. I was finally able to get some air to come out of my deflator (probably had about 400psi left at about 60 feet at the time). I made a reasonably slow ascent but started having to suck really hard to get my air at about 20 feet. My dad was right there and I could have used his air if mine had run out...he surfaced with 1000psi left in his tank. In fact, my dad always has more air than I do when we come up.

I realized yesterday why I always burn through air faster than the other people I dive with. I used to think it was because I breathe continuously while others might hold their breath. I thought that I should be more efficient and therefore burn less air. But I realized that I'm an oxygen burning machine. I have a VO2 max of 77. I burn more oxygen at rest than anyone else in the room. My body has a high metabolism and a high resting metabolism and a great ability to burn oxygen which is a good thing on land but limits my time below the surface.

After surfacing on my first dive, I had a little headache so Danny took the next dive with my dad instead of me. They went on a not-so-scenic dive because Danny had them drop off over a big sandy patch...oops. I was feeling better when they surfaced after I ate and drank a little. I took my dad's equipment for the next dive. His BC is a little big on me and it's not designed to hold weight (like the other one I was wearing). But his weight belt is too big on me, so I put weight in the pockets of his BC. On my initial descent, I lost 8 pounds of weight when the BC pocket came open and they almost fell on Danny's head. I had to surface and ask my dad for spare weight out of the boat. Danny recovered my weight and I had to put some in the catch bag to keep from being super dense.

Danny and I caught a couple more lobsters, but all 3 of us totaled only 8 on the day (limit would be 24). During my last dive, I saw the BIGGEST sea turtle I've ever seen. His head was probably the size of my head. He was napping on the sea floor and woke up when we approached. He swam around lazily and I touched his shell. I've never touched one before. He was probably 6 feet from head to rear legs. Totally cool.

I had a nice ascent with great decompression. Danny was coming up with me, but at 30 feet he told me to surface and he went back down! I got a headache again which is rather uncharacteristic. I tried to go swimming on the surface while waiting for Danny to come up, but my headache got worse as I swam.

After getting back, we went to my dad's mom's house and took her out for dinner. Then we stopped by the house of one of my dad's classmates who was having a 50th birthday party. I was exhausted and passed out a little on the ride back home. I slept 11 hours last night and I'm still a little tired. Working with Dillon on Friday and yesterday's trip were taxing but a very good time.
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