Fortune Pond 9/13, Rich's 300th, and Couple's Weekend
- Rich 50,001 Questions and I brought our wives up to Fortune Pond last weekend Sept 13-14 for a "Couples Weekend". It looked like it might be a bust because SwimJim and ViAnn couldn't make that weekend. Then Sheriffdiver had to bow out for scheduling conflict. We thought to shift it forward to next weekend but our wives had made plans with their work and Sunday school teaching schedules. So, we decided to go ahead with the trip as a foursome. THEN, I started watching the weather and the forecast was for rain, wind, and 40-50 degree temperatures. As the week before the trip progress, the forecast got better and worse, better and worse. We were committed and decided to just go and make our own fun if we had to.
- Well... we got very fortunate! Friday morning we drove through several rain storms on the way to Fortune. But by the time we got there, it was partly cloudy and NO RAIN. Cool and windy, but we set up to give ourselves some shelter. We got in two great dives. Then Saturday,... Holy Cow it was absolutely beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky. SO HOW WAS THE DIVING?
- I'm estimating Visibility was 60-80 feet... It might have been further in some areas. The bright sunlight helped of course.
- First dive we took the UV-26 scooter around the lake... I wanted to show Rich the Grim Reaper rock formation that SwimJim discovered. We followed the ridge until we were getting near and then swooped down to about 95 feet deep... And suddenly there it was with ViAnn's little cherub tucked neatly in one sleeve. I kicked the UV-26 into 3rd gear and we roared on around the lake in gradually diminishing depth with the last 3 minutes before home cruising at Safety Stop depth. The scooter is heavy but tough. It towed the two of us all the way around the lake in 25 minutes.
- We spent an extra long surface interval squaring away our vehicle, windbreak, and canopy. Then for the second dive, we sailed on down to the yellow newspaper stand at 130 feet deep. This is on a ledge and usually you see the visibility go to zero when you look over the edge. This time, I could see quite a distance down over the ledge. This is normally the realm of tech divers including SwimJim... They go down through milky visibility and come out on the bottom where there is no light and the water is again crystal clear. So, it was kind of neat to hang there a minute and see what nobody usually sees. From there, we swam back up to the 65 ft depth and spent the rest of the dive swimming along the ridges and enjoying the view. When we came out of the water, the weather was gathering itself up for another downpour... We figured we'd been lucky so far to not get everything soaked in a rainstorm. So we called it a day, packed everything up nice and dry and headed for the motel. There, we found our wives had started with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. For dinner, we went to Alices restaurant. I had the special which was a perfect Ribeye steak.
- Saturday dawned perfect. Not a cloud in the sky. The first dive was Rich's 299th. We swam the ridges to the "Tooth" rock formation and sailed over the edge down to the road at 122 feet deep. You could see super clear... We swam along the outer edge boulders while watching the NoDeco time on my computer. We had to keep angling upward to stay within the NoDeco time. But you could see WAY down over the edge of the boulders as well as all the way across the road to the wall... 25 yards or so away. We crossed back to the wall, did a U-Turn, and spent the second half of the dive going from 50-30 to 20 and then 10 feet to finish the dive in a prolonged safety stop. Really an awesome dive.
- Finally, it was time for Rich's 300th logged dive. He suited up with his Voit white tank, Voit blue fiberglass back pack, and Voit 50 Fathom regulator (one of the props from Sea Hunt that he bought from Rob' Scuba Museum. He chose a tropic weight wetsuit that is trimmed in blue to match his Voit stuff. We went in and sailed down to the big rock in front of the pier. The water was pretty cold at that depth and our lightweight suits took a few minutes to acclimate to the temperature. But, there's plenty to do and see right there in front of the pier so we just swam around there for awhile.
- Of course any day you get to go diving is a good day. But I think there's a lesson in this trip. For one thing, you can't let the weather report cancel a dive trip. I can't remember how many times we've had bad weather forecasts and when we arrived the weather was great. For another thing, these dates we mark in in the "Dive Schedule" are sometimes carved in stone and not changeable... You change it to accommodate one person and it screws up the plans of somebody else.
- Couples Weekend - I've learned a few things about this, too. For one thing, it was a GREAT idea to bring two vehicles. This let our wives do some sight seeing and shopping while we did our diving. I think the wives were happier with their own mobility. As it worked out, the Fall colors were just a few days before peak in some areas and the wives got some great hiking and photography opportunities. AND it is a tremendous asset to have Alice's Restaurant available. They're not only Italian faire... Jill and I had a couple of fabulous steaks... Usually I don't order steaks in restaurants because they're just nowhere near what I can grill for myself at home. Wives like it when you take them out for something special.