Sunday, January 17, 2010

Baptized new SCUBA outfit

Just got home from baptizing my new SCUBA outfit. It was exciting.

The wind died down today, after blowing up a storm yesterday. There were no white caps visible from the street, when we walked home from church. We thought we'd give it a try.

Not a good day at all for snorkeling. Better than yesterday, anyway. The sea was flat, except at the shore. The waves were big enough to body surf.

It took me a good 30 minutes to get everything ready and put on my body. So we felt it was OK just to take a quick swim in the cold Mediterranean Sea. There were about seven fisherman nearby. They seemed amused to see anyone get into the frigid water. My new cold water wetsuit is a 5mm thick class B Beuchat Moorea vest with hood and Farmer-John pants. It is made for diving in water that is 50° to 64°F or 10° to 18°C.

I was happy to stay warm and mostly dry. I was wearing diving socks and gloves as well as the hooded wetsuit. I walked backward in my fins into the waves. When the water got deep enough, I laid back into it and swam out about 60 meters/yards. The waves were very strong. The visibility was zero under water. Air temp was about 60°F/15°C and the water was much colder.

Since the view was zero, I rode a couple waves back into the shore. Sue was relieved to see me on solid ground. Before I got in the water, ☺ I told her to save me, if I got in trouble. As she watched me swim, she was trying to decide which clothes she would throw off and which she would keep wearing.

One thing about a good wetsuit is that they float you on the surface of the water, unless you wear ballast to weigh you down.

I don't like getting into the sea or ocean anymore without a wetsuit. Especially with the jellyfish and other wildlife we encounter.

Very little water got into my wetsuit. When I took it off, it seemed to be sweat. Now I'm praying for a sunny calm day off, when Sue and I both can put on our wet suits and go for a snorkel together. Want to join us?

I'm a CMAS 1 Star - Qualified open water diver since 2005, when we were refuges in Dakar, Senegal from the civil war in Cote d'Ivoire.




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Friday, August 7, 2009

Saw a jellyfish

Aequorea Victoria jellyfish off the coast of California. See full resolution‎ (1,600 × 1,200 pixels, file size: 450 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)

Joshua and I were snorkeling north of Sousse this evening. We happened across a small jelly fish that resembled an Aequorea Victoria. Joshua did a quick u-turn for the beach. We were about 50 yards from the shore.

I didn't want anything to happen to him, off alone. What if he saw another jelly fish on his way back without me? So I quickly grabbed his arm with one hand. I studied the transparent jellyfish, less than 3 inches in diameter, with black specks around its bell perimeter. Joshua will say it was much larger! I couldn't see any long tentacles.

Josh enjoyed looking at our jellyfish for a very short time. It started to swim toward our faces. :-0 Joshua shouted through his snorkel tube, "I'm getting out of here!" As I held him tight, I raised my right hand and pushed enough water toward the jellyfish to change its direction. Then it propelled itself gently out to sea, a beautiful sight to see! Wish we had a camera with us.

Some extremely important rules of SCUBA diving or snorkeling we learned in Dakar, Senegal:
  • Always dive with a buddy! Never, ever, dive alone! Keep an eye on your buddy. Make sure everything is OK. When something happens to you, your buddy could be the difference between your life and death.
  • Relax! Being relaxed in water is vital in an emergency. When something happens, follow these steps: stop, breathe, think and act. Never panic and immediately flee or surface. You can make a minor situation fatal.

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