The stories, dives, adventures, trials and overall excitement found in a midwest family of two dive shops and a resort.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
February Ice Diving at White Star Quarry
So you know I like diving.
While it is not for most people, and it is a lot of work, I have to say that if it wasn't for ice diving I think that I would go crazy over the winter. This type of diving takes the "going to another planet" part of diving to an extreme. You are tethered to the hole, visibility is even better than in the summer time. You have a support team helping you get in and get out of the water, and you are "boldly going where few have gone before."
How fun is that?
I get a lot of people who look at me in disbelief when I ask them if they want to try ice diving. They look at me with the "are you completely insane" look a lot of the time. Funny thing is that the water temperature under the ice is just a few degrees either way from the bottom of the lakes in the summer time. The only difference is that there is a layer of ice at the top and you need to create a place to warm up since the weather topside is more brutal than the weather under the water. Sometimes a difference of 40 degrees.
I hate being cold. I love ice diving. Its really not cold weather I hate but being cold. Properly equipped you arent ever cold. I learned this the hard way between the first weekend of the month and the second. I had a pair of boots for the times when you are standing on the ice tending to the divers. They leaked, I got cold. I bought a new pair of boots, they stayed dry, I stayed really warm. Proper equipment makes it better.
Being a topside tender is probably the hard part. Standing in the cold temperatures watching the tethered diver slip under the surface helps me to understand what Michael Collins felt when Aldrin and Armstrong walked on the moon. You just cant wait to get there... in the water where it is warm. Where you don't have to think about navigation and you can just concentrate on taking pictures... the line is always there for you to return.
I know ice diving and winter diving isnt for everyone, but if you want to dive in the winter in Michigan and Ohio it is an option for some. But that I have had a bunch of successful ice dives and have had fun every time, spring can come any time it wants.