Manta Divers, August, 2013 Night Navigation
This past weekend Team Manta headed out for a weekend of recreational diving at Lake Wazee at Black River Falls, WI. It’s been two years since we were there. We passed on the trip last year because of the great “poop” contamination of 2012. It seems that last year the beach was over crowded because of the heat and diaper changing became optional. No problem this year with cooler weather and less people at the beach. It had to be the swimmers because we all know that divers never pee in their wet suit. We got an early afternoon start and arrived in Black River falls in time to enjoy a great meal at RE-PETE”s Saloon and Grill. I always look forward to the trip to Wazee because the underwater environment is unique. A played out Taconite quarry, Wazee has cool wall diving , good visibility, plenty of depth for deep diving (355ft.), an underwater forest as well a wreck and platforms for training.
My favorite dive for Lake Wazee is the night dive. The way the taconite sparkles in the light can only be found in Lake Wazee. The combination of walls and rugged topography provide an ideal place to do your Night Dive Specialty. As you probably all know I love to work with underwater navigation. Wazee is a good place to practice compass navigation but it’s a GREAT place to practice natural navigation as well. The unusual rock formations and landmarks give you multiple reference points to navigate by. I would do the night dive even if I wasn’t training. It’s even better if I’m working with divers earning their Night Diver Specialty. With three divers working on their specialty, we dove our night dive plan during the day to practice and become familiar with our dive plan. The mission for dive one was compass navigation. We were diving by the boat launch. Lisa came up with a plan that the whole group would be navigated from the fish cribs out to the platform by the first student. Then I would have the second student navigate myself and the 3rd student back to the fish cribs. The final student navigated the second student back to the group on the platform. It went great. Night navigation really drives home the fact that you can always trust your compass and your navigational confidence.
Natural navigation was the skill for dive 2. (For those of you that have dived the boat launch location, you will probably recognize some of these navigational landmarks.) Our plan was for me to lead out from the dock around the farthest fish crib to the left (north). We swam between the crib and the wall out past the big A** rocks to the concrete blocks that we practice with our lift bags. There, we turned 90 degrees to the left and finned over the ridge past the upright (phallic looking) stump and reached the gnomes in 19 ft. of water. We then kept the wall on our left at 20-25ft for about 10-15 Minutes. At this point we stopped. For their Night Dive Natural Navigation exercise, each student had to navigate back to the point of beginning leading another certified diver. About 5 min after the first student took off the second student left with his diver. My student and I waited about 5 minutes the started back. It’s a great feeling when you stand up at the dock and everyone is there. Students learned new skills and I had fun. Some may think that spending a Saturday night under water playing with compasses is strange but I say that’s what I call being “more fun than regular people”
Got to love It!
In Other News..........
You can still squeeze in a few more dives this season! Join Team Manta in Oneida County Aug. 17 &18 or at Pearl Lake Aug. 24 for some wet fun, or check the calendar for other upcoming events.
Get your deposit in for Team Manta's tropical adventures to Curacao in January, or Utila in April. There are still some spots left, but the deadline for the final roster is coming up.
Thinking about Rescue Diver Course? Get 'er done this year! Classroom sessions are Sept. 3&5 and open water skills on Sept. 14 & 15. Candiates must have current Emergency First Response with CPR and AED use certification, or the equivalent from another agency and be an Advanced Open Water diver. This is probably the most challenging and rewarding course a diver can take!
New at the shop: Underwater cases for your Smartphone, Ocean Reef full face masks, and Zeagle BC's to name a few! Stop in and visit.