Friday, July 31, 2009

Reflections On Pacific Diving

Sperm Whale photographed by Officer Mark Ervin at Gea Pass

I am doing plenty of scuba diving in Kwajalein. Some of the dives are from a boat and others are from the beach. I have been using Zofran to prevent my debilitating seasickness and it worked, all but once. There are a wide variety of things to see and diving environments. During the beach dives I've seen manta rays, eagle rays, octopi, and the usual variety of reef flora and fauna.

The water temperature is a comfortable 85 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm actually warm wearing just a Lycra dive skin. Some people dive just in shorts and a short sleeved "rash guard". I've tried the rash guard and shorts method too, but I like the protection offered by the Lycra suit.

I'm using my new SeaQuest Balance BCD. It is very comfortable, light weight, and well outfitted with D-rings, integrated weights, and pockets. It has a high pressure inflator coupled to an integrated second stage regulator. My first stage regulator has a Suunto tank pressure sending unit. The second stage main regulator is an old Mares MR12. I've used newer but never better regulators. A Suunto D9 dive watch computer receives the tank pressure directly from the sending unit. As a result, my regulator set up has just two hoses: my primary regulator and the high pressure inflator hose. The Suunto also gives time, depth, temperature, compass, No Decompression and Decompression data for air or nitrogen-enriched dive gas. My fins and mask are as old-school as the regulator but they work well.

I have to admit that I am very partial to the walk-in beach dives. No seasickness potential. Also, my house is about 100' from the beach dive shack. Most of my walk-in dives are from Emon Beach but next week I will do a dive from the ski dock. There is a wreck there at about 80 - 90 feet deep that I hope to explore.

To dive in Kwajalein one has to belong to the Kwajalein Scuba Club (KSC). Once one is a member, all the tank fills are free. I am told that the KSC does more tank fills per year than any scuba club or outfit in the world.
Click here to see a photo gallery of my home and surroundings.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fireworks on Kwaj

Today it is the Fourth Of July on Kwajalein. It was a full and delightful day. It started with surgery this morning, but after that it got much better.

At 10:30 am Bess, her husband, Stan, Kevin and I went out diving. Stan captained their boat and took us to the Pacific Ocean side of some distant islands. For those readers who know my handicap, seasickness, you will know that this was quite the adventure for me. Thanks to a fabulous medicine, called Zofran, I was able to make the 7 hour trip without incident. We did two dives. While Stan spearfished, Bess, Kevin and I tootled around the reefs. The 82 degree water did not require wet suits. The dives were spectacular. The second site had more clams and enormous stony corals than I had ever seen. Bess is quite good at identifying abandoned shells. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I got more sun exposure than I am happy with, but am not burnt. It was obvious that I am new here because my legs were the whitest on the boat.

After returning home I showered, changed clothes and went to Emon Beach. The whole day there were activities there for the holiday. Families were out in droves with barbecues, picnic tables, beach chairs, and all variety of events and music. The sun set at about 7:30 pm and at exactly 8:00 pm (with military precision) the fireworks began. There was a barge anchored off shore from the beach and for the longest time (which was really only about 15 minutes) we were treated to a constant and impressive display of pyrotechnics. I sat with Kevin, Mary, Marian, another Marian and her husband, John. We snacked and listened to the Souza patriotic marches as fireworks exploded overhead. A nearly-full moon lit the beach and water in a awesome display of natural moonlight. It was a special time: sitting on the beach, 50' from my front door, listening to music, visiting with friends, eating good food, and watching fireworks. What a finalé to a fabulous day.