Pool diving has its perks, I can wear my 3mm shortie wetsuit for hours and remain comfortable, if I wear my steel tank, I need zero weight, you’re always guaranteed great visibility…but it has nothing on the ocean. Even on “bad” dive days the ocean will always eclipse the pool. So while I was prepared for a day of pool diving, when I was told it had been canceled and we were headed to the sea, I can’t say I was disappointed. haha.
Some of the Seaview ventured out to Stonington Point; Sharon had a couple students, but the rest of us got to do our own thing. Regardless of the fact that I knew it was going to be cold and that there was a drysuit I could borrow, I decided to dive wet. No regrets on that decision, but holy heavens IT WAS COLD. haha. The air was in the low 40s, but the wind was non-existent…in other words it was a beautiful winter day for New England diving. I’m fairly certain that my feet were numb within seconds of entering the water. Then there’s the instant ice cream headache you get when you put your face in the water, but it is oh so worth it! Once I was in the water everything but my feet stayed pretty warm. Once we got out of the water, I looked at my computer…the water had dropped ELEVEN degrees since my 100th dive…thankfully I hit it when I did, otherwise it would’ve been in 48ºF water! Talk about the potential to freeze the goods off. O_O
The cold water brings wonderful visibility – normally it’s a stretch to see past your feet…today it was like four times that! The eelgrass was beautiful and the red algae clinging to the rocks were pretty spectacular! Peggy and I spent a half hour exploring – tons of Spider Crabs (Libinia emarginata), a couple Rock Crabs (Cancer irroratus), lots of tiny shrimp (Sand Shrimp maybe?), ctenophores galore, and some small fish that darted in and out. Most of the free floating algae has died off so we had a great view of the sand (which is why we could see the shrimp darting to and fro). No big fish though. However we did see a MONSTER whelk. Have you ever seen a live one moving about? It’s totally alien and otherwordly. Glad I had a patient dive buddy, cuz I stopped multiple times to watch creatures move about…and that can take awhile when they’re as slow as whelks.
All in all it was a very delightful dive, definitely one of the best of the year. Spent part of my post-dive afternoon hanging at Cottrell…nothing warms you up like a local brew! And nothing starts off your weekend (and your week) off on the right foot than floating about in the ocean and then enjoying a cold brew or two.