I got to dive the General Butler and Ferris Rock yesterday. Both were great dives.
I met the group at 9:00 at the lake to board the boat, and take the 30 minute boat ride to Ferris Rock over on the New York side of Lake Champlain. After a longish boat ride, while laughing and talking with the other divers, we arrived at Ferris Rock.
As a side note, there are a few things that I absolutely love about diving, aside from the actual act of diving. The dive community is a great bunch of people, that always go out of their way to help out, strike up a conversation, and share stories, hints and tips. Aside from that, the dive community is diverse. On the boat for this dive were: 2 self employed computer geeks, an RN, a breast cancer researcher (he had a great title, but I can’t remember what it was) and a couple. Very diverse, very cool.
Ferris Rock is basically and underwater mountain, or a wanna be island. The rock comes up to within a few feet of the surface, then shoots basically straight down to a depth of at least 50 feet on one side, on the other there are some underwater ledges and such. We dove at a depth of around 25 feet for approximately 43 minutes. My dive buddy for this dive was the Dive Master, Ed. We splashed, then after all of the other divers were in the water, we started our decent.
I have decided that I don’t like the first 10 feet of any dive in this lake. That’s where the algae seems to grow, and the visibility sucks until you get down around 10 feet or so, then everything seems to get clearer. As we sent down for the dive, I reached the bottom, and we swam around looking at the different geologic formations and such. At one point we came up on a channel between 2 rocks, the opening between the two rocks enough for a diver to swim through, with about 6 inches on either side of them. I stayed up a bit, and followed as Ed swam through the rocks.
The dive was fairly uneventful, however I have gotten to the point where my buoyancy skills are remarkable, and my breathing is very calm. I started the dive with around 2800PSI and ended the dive with around 1200PSI.
Once we were all back on the boat and did our R&R, we got our gear ready, and headed to the second dive of the day. The second dive was supposed to be another rock formation, but through a vote of the divers on board, we changed the destination to the General Butler. I’ve dove that 3 other times, and the ship never stops amazing me.
Having began to have a headache (too many wobbly pops, and too much time in the sun with too little water), I told my dive buddy that I probably wouldn’t stay down long. We were the first in the water, but the last to being the decent to the ship. I love descending to the ships, the experience is awesome. The State of Vermont, or whomever administers the Lake Champlain Underwater Preserve does a great job. You go to the buoy that is floating on the water, go under the buoy, and follow the rope that is on the bottom down until you get to a ball at the bottom, which indicates that you are at around 15 feet from the bottom. Once there, you become neutrally buoyant and begin your dive. From the bottom of the buoy line, there is a rope, that leads to the ship about 20 feet away. Swimming at around 15 feet from the bottom, ensures that the wake from your fins does not kick up the silt, and all can see the ship.
I got to the ship, and lost my dive buddy. I figured that since we were on the ship, and all were staying there, that I’d just continue around the ship. I figured Ed was checking on everyone else on the dive. After circling the ship a couple of times, I met up with Ed, and we did a little exploration away from the ship. There are some covers on the sea floor that were probably on the ship, covering the hold area in the hull.
As I often do when diving, I started to work on some skills, practicing again with buoyancy. I would stop kicking, and see if I could maintain the same depth simply with my breathing. The current kept pushing me away from the ship, which was neat, but my depth didn’t change by more than a foot with each skill test, so I’ve finally dialed in the 7mm wet suit in this lake.
It was during the General Butler dive that I’ve seen the first real fish of this diving season. There was a sheapshead around 20 inches long, and a few other fish swimming around.
The dive lasted around 41 minutes at a max depth of around 59 feet. I began the dive with around 2700PSI and ended the dive with somewhere near 1100PSI. A great dive.
I’m looking forward to Wednesday’s dive, a ship at 80 feet, as well as some dives, hopefully this week, at Thompson’s Point. There is a wall there that goes for something like 300 feet, or so I’ve been told.
When you no longer need your organs, please consider giving them to another human so you can probably save their life. Keep in mind that