Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Windy Point Park - Lake Travis

Hey guys...Shark Bait here!! 

We are proud to welcome 4 newbies to the wonderful world of diving!!  Congrats to Ashley, Jessica, Marci and Tiffany.  Oh yeah...and congrats to O2Neg on her first Open Water class!!  We also want to thank Sid, owner of Ascuba Venture, for having a club night out at Windy Point.  We appreciated the pizza and prizes.

We had a great time at Windy Point, the weather was fantastic but the visability was crummy at best.  Like they say, "a bad day diving is better than a good day at work."  So true.  Despite the low vis we had a good time diving. 

We arrived at the park around midnight.  The Ascuba Crew and Mike and Cindy all got there hours earlier and staked claim on our "usual" spot.  There was plenty of snoring going on while we were setting up camp.  After settling in, we fell asleep around 2am or 3am.

After a nice little nap we awoke around daybreak to the voice of one of the Bills looking for O2Neg.  The good news is that we got some much needed coffee.  Soon we were gearing up to head down to the great below.

We head down about the same time that O2Neg got her girls in for the first time.  It is kind of interesting to see the Open Water class from the other side.  We ended up just hanging out around the platform.  The girls seemed pretty relaxed...the perchiannas seemed to keep their minds occupied.  After 45 minutes hanging out, and trying to stay seated in the underwater stool, we headed to the surface for some lunch.

The classes's 2nd dive of the day did not go as smoothly as the first one.  The low vis helped the group to get seperated but the buddies did a good job of sticking together.  Mike, Cindy, and I were down in it as well and we also got seperated.  Funny thing is that we managed to locate the pieces of the seperated class.  Shortly after we then found each other and all was good.

After a rest we were finally able to show the class why the fish are called perchiannas.  They could smell the hotdogs from a mile away.  The girls had a great time.  I suppose this is why someone would become an instructor.  It was so cool to be there to see how much fun they were having.

Guppy and I went on our first night dive.  We went with the whole Ascuba Crew.  The Bills lead the way.  We descended to 100ft (actually I went to 107ft...your ball, Mike) and turned left.  Guppy followed closely behind the leader for a while.  We saw the trees but that was about it.  At one point we headed back to the right and ran into O2Neg, Mike, and Cindy.  Guppy and I slowed down thinking that they would follow behind but they did not and we managed to lose our leader.  We blacked out our lights and were in total darkness.  We were hoping to see lights.  We continued in what we thought was the same direction not realizing that we were ascending as well as moving forward.  Suddenly we see bubbles all around us and then realized that we had risen above our own bubbles to the surfaced.  After figuring out what just happened we decided that we needed to go back down because we had not made a safety stop after reaching 100ft.

We decended on a platform and hung out for a few minutes.  We were approached by a group of unknown divers.  They flashed their lights at us to see if we belonged with them.  We shook our heads at them and they went on.  Another diver approached looking a little more paniced, and she flashed her light at us to see if we were with her group.  We finally left the platform in search of our usual platform.  As we were following the wall we also slowly ascended.  When we emerged we were about 20ft away from the rest of the group that had emerged.

After the night dive we had pizza and prizes courtesy of Sid and Ascuba Venture.  Some of the newbies were lucky in the drawing.  We ended the night around the campfire.  Then everyone started dropping off like flies.  Cindy, Guppy, and I were the lone rangers until O2Neg woke from her cat nap.  We stayed up until 3am or 4am talking and trying to solve all the world's problems.

On Sunday, we dove a couple more times and were able to see the girls do their "special drill".  They were very excited to be certified divers.  They did a great job!!  We had another opportunity to feed the fish.  For their first FUN dive, we all went with a couple of the newly certified divers down to 100ft.  The girls were happy to say that they did it.  It was months after certification before Guppy and I got to 100ft.  Way cool!

We had a little excitement on our way home also.  Sometime after passing San Antonio I was driving down the road as Guppy and O2Neg were sleeping.  As we passed a truck that was pulled over on the side of the road, I noticed blonde hair and a frantically waving arm in front of the truck.  I slam on the breaks and pull over to the shoulder.  O2Neg and I run up the road to the truck to find a young single mother with her two month old son stranded on the side of the road.  They had run out of gas.  After taking a couple of minutes calming the mother, Savannah, down, we decided to load everyone up in my already jam packed truck to find the nearest gas station.  There's not much else to the story.  O2Neg bought Savannah a five gallon gas tank and 5 gallons of gas.  We took Savannah and Justin back to their truck, I put the gas in, and we followed them to the Exxon station that Savannah's boyfriend was stranded at with a broken tension pulley on his car.  Savannah exited the highway, and we continued on towards home hoping that everything works out for the new family.

Now we are back in the real world.  Poor O2Neg is sicker than a dog and I am starting to feel something coming on.  Now we are looking forward to underwater pumpkin carving and the clean up at the Jetties.  Hope to seeing you guys soon.

Go down and get wet!

New Divers at Texas State Aquarium!

Hey everyone, Holy diver here.  Just wanted to announce our 4 new divers at the Texas State Aquarium to include our very own Mike and Cindy.  After Mike stopped shaking from the being scared of sharks, we all had a good time diving.    Nothing like diving 6 inches from a Sand Tiger Shark (Hanz) and 4 Nurs Sharks (the puppy dogs).  Alright crew, Ill get back to work and were still waiting on Shark Bait to post about the weekend trip to Windypoint.  02 Negetive told me a little about what happened so the story should be good!

Friday, October 8, 2010

TrashFest 2010

Well, I spent dang near half and hour and my work computer logged me out right before I posted this blog earlier.  So here I go again...

Our team competed in our first competition on Oct 2, 2010.  TrashFest is a competition on the Comal River that is dedicated to cleaning up all the trash left by the party groups of the summer.  Teams of 8 randomly draw a specific spot on the Comal and get 5 hours to clean as much as they can.  The competition categories include: most trash, most cans, unusual find, etc..  Our weekend started on Oct. 1, and this is how it went...

So planned time was to leave at 5pm.  We left at 6:30.  After a pretty uneventful 3 hour car ride, we decided to back track our route and find a Walmart to spend money at.  After an hour and a few hundred dollars later, we headed to our camp grounds roughly 15 minutes away.  1030pm was our official check in time to the camp grounds.  Thats nice and fine if your not having to set up a tent, or if we could actually see in the dark, or if we didnt have to get up at 7am to head to registration. 

As we paid and started off looking for our camping spot,  James decided he would try to meet as many campers as he can find.  As he started talking to two couples sitting around a campfire, he managed to meander our camp spot 10 feet from theirs. Of course, he had it all planned out in his head because we were now only 3 feet from the water edge of the river.  This didnt mean much at night, but we would find out later how beautiful it was up there.  Anyway, we found a semi-flat spot to set up our tent, blew up the air mattress, laid our heads down and we were out.  Come to find out that Deanna and James decided to see who can get the least amount of sleep, so they stayed up and talked with our new camping friends.

7am...cock a doodle doo!!  my alarm goes off..damn it.  We were used to 85 degree mornings, not the 65 degrees we woke up in!!!  So of course I have to get out of my tent and wake up the three sleeping beauties in the other tent (Dianna, Deanna, James).  Priscilla wasnt so lucky to sleep in cause my alarm is very annoying, and I am sure I was all over the air mattress trying to turn off my damn alarm.  Deanna ran out of her tent like we were getting bombed, so I assured her she could slow down anytime and relax, were not in a rush (bad move on my part..haha).

Everyone got up fairly quick, packed up our vehicles and were off to breakfast.   We got it to go since we wanted to register early and get a good spot.  Of course, we were second to last to register and got the cleanest spot on the river..hahaha

We drew section 18A, and after studying a map (couldnt type in 18A on GPS) drove off to our location.  We arrived minutes later, and started unpacking.  This is where everything got interesting...

Priscilla started helping me get my gear out of the Rodeo, and James, Deanna, and Dianna started unpacking their truck. 

HELP, HELP...we heard from the river. It alarmed me, but at first I thought it was some kids playing around.  I looked and saw nothing.  so I continued to unpack the Rodeo. 

HELP, HELP...I kept hearing a womans scream.

So I started my way to the River (30 feet or so from the truck). And who do I see, James already responding to the call for help.  He actually had a good plan of jumping around the fence and run to the man made dam where the screams were coming from.  But as he attempted the olympic swing around the fence..WHAM, the fence broke and down went James.  With a split second reaction, he spread eagle's and misses the kid in the water.  Lucky for the kid.  He asked if the kid was alright, and all the kid said was "Please save my mom."  So off went James like he was now a competitive swimmer. 

I jumped in the water, and thought damn this water is freezing, and I took off in a rescue type freestyle crawl.  Never taking my eyes off of where the victims voice is coming from.

Now me and James are nearing the victim.  And in a split second, WHOOSH, James and I were not caught in the Rapid and down the river we go.  All we could do was look back at the victim (we can see her at this point) and see that she is struggling to keep her head above the water.  She had scuba gear on, so I thought she must be caught up on a rock or something.  Little did I know, but as we passed the victim, James reached for her and his pinky got caught up on her B.C. and he broke his finger.  In pain he says without missing a beat, my finger is nothing as long as she is alive.

I got some good sleep so my energy was up that morning.  As I was being swept away, I fought my hardest to get out of that current.  Finally, I am able to make it far enough to the other side where the current is slower.  I start my way back up.  The rocks are very slippery.  My feet are cut up, my shins are taking a beating from slipping and falling on them.  But I can see a lady struggling to keep her head up. 

WHOOSH, now I see Deanna coming down the rapid.  She must have went in after us and got caught up in the same situation as James and myself.  But this time I was there, and I reached my tattoo's arm out and pulled her out of the rapid.  Thank God cause it was going to take more than one person to help this lady. 

So Deanna and I head up and finally reach the victim.  At this time, another diver had jumped in and was already at her.  I believe he as from Dive Team Chum.

Also in the water headed our way was Dianna.  But she was smart, not heading towards the rapid, but rather the opposite side.  Hmmm, why didnt I think of that.  Oh well, no time to think of that...just time to get this lady to safety.

Because the competition rules say you have to stay in your area, and we were located in a rapid area, the lady tied herself off with a rope so her and her boys dont get swept down stream and they can stay together.  Her rope must have been about 5 feet too long.  Because when she ended up in the rapid by mistake, she went over the man made damn.  The rope hung her up and she tried to free herself.  But her head was half and half out of the water.  She was fighting the rapid the entire time.  Although she had scuba gear on, she couldnt keep her regulator in her mouth and call for help at the same time.  Something had to give, and it was her regulator. 

After unhooking her from the rope, we stood her up, lifted her gear to safety and then lifted her to safety.  She said she was fine to go on her own, but after being tired I didnt feel it was a good idea.  So Deanna and Dianna helped her up over the dam.

What a great feeling.  Although many people would have helped, I was honored to be the one their that day.  It was a joint effort and a memory none of us will forget.

After a long break, we geared up and enjoyed 3 hours of diving.  We didnt find much, but had a great time in the Comal.  The locals were excellent and wished us luck.  They let us use their back yards to store our gear and park our cars.  I love New Braunfels.

After it was all said and done, we went to the awards ceremony.  Its pretty much safe to say it was not as desirable as I would have liked.  So I'll just say I hope its better than next years.

For now, hope to see you all on the water soon.  Dont forget to get your hours in at the Aquarium.  The tanks need our help keeping them cleaned.  See you all on Tuesday!!