Drysuit Checkout Dives!

Well the plan for this weekend was to head up to Dave and Heather Caldwell’s in Massachusetts for a weekend of crewing and boat diving in my brand new drysuit. But because plans don’t always work out and New England weather has been less than desirable lately (the NOAA forecast said something about 5-8 foot seas), I did my drysuit dives in a slightly more sheltered location, at the new Brownstone Park. The park was, until recently, a town owned quarry, but thanks to the Hayes brothers it is now a large dive park, and they have plans to expand. Luckily for me the park is in Portland, Connecticut, which is about 15 minutes from my house, so I got some extra sleep on Sunday. Dave and his friend Scott drove down to meet me there and we quickly got underway. First I signed a pair of waivers and then Dave began explaining some drysuit safety maneuvers to me. After that, it was time to get into the drysuit. Although I had done it three times before it’s still a bit of a challenge. But eventually I squeezed and shimmied my way into the suit, donned the rest of my equipment, and headed for the water. Then it was time for the dives. First we made our way to a sunken platform at about 20 feet. There, I completed some drysuit skills, like unhooking and reattaching the inflator hose (I had some problems getting it back on), and becoming inverted, then working my way back to the correct horizontal position. After doing this we took off for the far wall of the quarry. It was quite a swim, but the topography was interesting and I got to work on my buoyancy (because it seriously needed work). We surfaced at the wall and made the slow swim back. Then we sat our surface interval. My parents came to check out the park and brought us some coffee. After about an hour, it was back in the water for our second dive. This time Scott had borrowed Ed’s scooter and did circles around Dave and me as we made our way to another spot on the far wall. This area was far more interesting as it appeared to have been a dumping ground for the past hundred years. In this area we found a huge car perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, a really old truck, a stop sign, a safe, and several other things. Most of the junk was at about 20-30 feet, and there were plenty of rusty metal pipes sticking up higher than that. While exploring the varied junk, Scott buzzed around on his scooter and when we surfaced, he gave us a ride back to the entry point, which was awesome. Then we sat and socialized for a while and packed up our gear. One person came out of the water with a rifle that he had found. Some kids started jumping from a cliff on the opposite side of the quarry. I can now say with confidence that I will never jump into a quarry knowing what’s sticking up just below the surface. Eventually it was time to say goodbye and head home, tired and happy. Now I just have to pray for good weather next weekend.