Drift Dive at Keystone

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Tubesnout23
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Drift Dive at Keystone

Post by Tubesnout23 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:51 pm

What a crisp blue sky at Keystone on Sunday, January 18! A surprisingly bright sunshine flooded my eyes with welcoming wintry light and fortified my cranky bones. The mood of the air was peaceful and meditative. The mood of the water was quite the opposite. Pieces of driftwood and other debris were floating in a swirling and churning sea. Like commuters eager to catch a bus back home after a stressful day at work they rushed in a hurry from east to west pushed by a steady ripping current.

There was no doubt about it: today is going to be a drift dive day!

My buddy and I walked all geared up to the pilings and beyond. We were planning to surface swim straight out and let the current do most of the work and drag us to the eastern side of the pilings. Still, we had to kick a little to hit the target.
The rushing current tossed us around like we were weightless. We avoided slamming against the pilings by stretching our arms and holding onto a couple of logs that, by chance, got stuck in the right place at the right time, across between two pilings. But a floating log can be unpredictable and vicious and I wanted to use it as a support no longer that it was necessary. We managed to discuss our dive plan while floating in a watery convulsive pandemonium, where almost everything was fast moving and made us dizzy.

Initially we wanted to submerge there and swim through the pilings, were the current is usually weaker. But it took us less then a second to realize that it was a foolish idea. The current was too strong for our comfort level. All at sudden it became clear that we were in a catch 22 situation. If we submerged on the outer side of the pilings the current would have dragged us south-west away from the beach and into the open sea. If we submerged on the side of the pilings nearer to shore we would have to put up with even a stronger current.

I followed my gut feelings and suggested to head for the side of the pilings nearer to shore. If something went wrong at least we would have to do a shorter swim to the beach. My buddy agreed. So off we went letting our grip on the logs go. When I reached the last piling I embraced it like it was a raft left over from a shipwreck. Its soggy wooden surface was encrusted with sharp barnacles, mussels and soft tube worms. My legs were pushed horizontally by the unforgiving current. I felt like a flag on a stormy day on the verge of getting ripped by a howling wind.

I hung in there waiting for my buddy to get closer determined not to give myself up to the stubborn will of that rushing water. I was rather nervous and the stress level was rising. But when, at last, my buddy was next to me and we let our arms go off those pilings and began to descend while embracing the current rather than that stiff vertical timber and felt that the deeper we went the less current there was dragging us away, I relaxed and began to enjoy the dive with a sense of relief.

We must have gone by the pilings in a flash, but at that point we did not care anymore. We wanted to follow the contour of the bottom at about 40 Ft to reach the jetty but, by a sudden inexplicable whim, the current changed its course and began to push us east back to the pilings! We signed, resigned to the force of Nature and drifted away with it thinking that we would have ended up emerging, at the end of the dive, somewhere between the pilings ant the jetty. Instead, when our time was over and we had to get out of the water we were right next the boulders of the jetty.

For a illustrated version of this tale go to:

http://openwaterbubbles.blogspot.com/2009/01/drift-dive.html

Cheers

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Tom Nic
I've Got Gills
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Re: Drift Dive at Keystone

Post by Tom Nic » Wed Jan 21, 2009 6:46 pm

Great dive description! I enjoyed it... well done! :notworthy:
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Scubak
I've Got Gills
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Re: Drift Dive at Keystone

Post by Scubak » Wed Jan 21, 2009 9:32 pm

Sounds great!
Sounds like you had a great time and did a great job!
K
"Let's go diving!"

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Tubesnout23
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Re: Drift Dive at Keystone

Post by Tubesnout23 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:12 pm

Thank you for your positive feedback!

I am not sure if I want to hang on a log or piling the way I did last Sunday again...unless it is absolutely necessary.

We could have descended near the beach avoiding the pilings all together, though.

Cheers

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