Dutch Springs Ice Breaker Weekend

Saturday & Sunday saw us braving the icy cool waters of Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, PA, as we celebrated our annual IVS Ice Breaker Weekend at the quarry.  On board for checkout dives were Brad Landis and Jenna Murray, brave souls that they be!  Brad geared up for the day in a double layer of 7 mm neoprene, while Jenna chose the new Fusion Drysuit from Whites.  One guess who was shivering less!!  We also had Felix Gryn assisting, along with Bill Friedman and Donna Raleigh (also in a Fusion).  Richie Kessler and Dan Macy also joined us for the morning’s dives.

The Saturday checkouts went well, with three nice extended dives including skills and underwater exploration.  Our newest divers performed great, inspite of the 46 degree chill in the water and the breezy overcast day! 

Richie and Dan were preparing for a trip to Olympus Diving in North Carolina this weekend, and Richie was running his new Bonica High Definition Underwater Video System through it’s first test dives.  He got some awesome footage with the system, and we hope to have some posted to the site shortly.  The viz was probably 40 feet this weekend.  All in all, a good Saturday of safe, fun, uneventful diving!

Sunday’s diving started out on a different sort of note.  As our group prepped on the platform on the peninsula side, the morning quiet was interrupted by calls for help from across the pond.  Sure enough, there was a diver there waving frantically and calling for assistance.  The Dutch Springs staff jumped right into action, heading across in an inflatable to assist.  However, because they had to row the inflatable, it took about seven minutes to get across, and the diver was very difficult to get into the boat due to his size and the fact that there was only one staff member aboard.  It was close to 12 minutes before they were able to get the diver into the boat and begin rescue breaths.  That’s a very long time for a non-breathing victim to have to wait.  A motorized watercraft of any sort would certainly have expedited the rescue and allowed a second staff member to be on board to render assistance.  Perhaps Dutch might consider this?? 

The victim was brought to shore looking very, very blue, but local EMS personnel were there to take over and whisk him off to St. Luke’s Medical Center.  Our understanding from the local news reports later that evening is that he recovered – great news for all involved!!!  Also a great reason to think about how valuable your own Rescue Diver and First Aid skills can be when you have to wait for assistance.

After that unsettling start, everyone regrouped, and we made three good dives, completing all our open water skills, fine tuning our bouyancy, navigating like pro’s, and completing our National Geographic Fish ID projects.  Congrats to Brad and Jenna!  

While we were enjoying our surface interval between dives 2 & 3, we watched another instructor working with a student on reel use and wreck penetration.  The student did a great job running line from fence post to fence post – not sure how well this directly applies to the underwater environment, but better than nothing I suppose.  As we geared up for dive #3 we were joined on the platform by the two of them, so we ended up following them to see how it all worked underwater.  Well, as you might suspect from reading this, it was quite the educational experience for our two newest divers to witness the macrame project that took place at 60 feet, as the student managed to wrap himself completely in his own line, then, while struggling with that, turned and knocked his own mask off with his stage bottle, then struggled for the surface – what a mess!  The good news is that the instructor finally responded, got him calmed down, got his mask back, untied him, and went on.  Very good example of why things might be better learned in little steps to build confidence.   

After that the rest of our dive was thankfully anti-climatic, and we wrapped the day up enjoying the late afternoon sunshine while completing our log books.  We’ll be back at Dutch the weekend of May 17-18 diving, barbecuing, and running the DUI Drysuit Demo days, so we hope to see lots of familiar smiling faces there!