|May 19, 2013|
Today I did my first Scubaland dive club event out at Windy Point Park. It was the "Spring Fling" to kick off another year of diving and, as advertised, it was windy.
This dive was interesting to me for a few reasons. My first freshwater dive, my first dive in Texas since moving here, and my first club dive with Scubaland.
This was a little richshaw provided at the park to carry gear from the parking lot to the dive site.
The freshwater bit was tricky but managable. I have never dove in freshwater before and I was wearing a rented 7 mm wetsuit. I had no idea how to weight myself. To make sure I sank I went with 10 lbs in addition to my 6 lb back plate. It turned out to be too much. After removing the air from my BCD I sank like a stone. Eventually I compensated with a BCD half full of air and got my buoyancy under control.
Here I am all geared up and ready to go.
The diving in Texas part was the most difficult, specifically diving in Lake Travis. Here's our rather rocky entry point.
To boot, visibility was not good. Luckily I had an experienced buddy, Andy Padgett, who had dove Windy Point many times before. As soon as we descended I briefly lost him as visibility near the surface was maybe 3-4 feet. We found eachother quickly and continued the dive. After finding our two golf balls each (more on that later) we started to explore a bit further out.
However the visibility got even worse, I blinked, and Andy was gone. I stopped where I was, aimed my dive light in the direction I saw him last, and tried signalling him. No luck. After waiting for the requisite one minute to find eachother, I started to surface. This was extremely disorienting. In such poor visibility everything looks the same in every direction. This is not something humans commonly experience. Nonetheless I at least knew which way was up and slowly ascended despite the fact there was no visual cue to confirm that I was rising.
Andy, also following the proper dive protocol, had already surfaced moments earlier and we found each other separated by 20 feet or so. No problems. We decided to make our way back to the entry point and descended maybe 10 feet below the surface for the swim. Not wanting a repeat of our earlier disconnect I literally rested my hand on his air tank for the remainder of the dive. This made it much easier to keep track of him as we dove back.
The club dive with Scubaland was the best part. The golf balls were there as part of a poker game. Find two golf balls and you get to pick two cards from a deck. Then a game of Texas Hold'em is played with those two cards acting as your draw. Best hand wins after the flop, the turn, and the river. I won zilch but everyone still got to take home some knick-knacks.
My two golf balls.
Besides that there was a BBQ, frisbee, and lots of prizes given away. All in all it was a good day and it felt great to get back in the water.
Windy Point Park
|Location: Austin, TX, USA|
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