Old, rusty (me), small boat rough seas, still fun though

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nolatom

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This past Saturday (24 September), and having been dry for a year, I drove the 3-hour trip (supposed to be, keep reading) from New Orleans to Pensacola, to dive from a small "six-pack" boat to the sunk barge wreck "Joe Patti barge", boat leaves at 1300. I had not dived in a year, and diving is now one of those things I don't want to quit doing because it might mean I'm "too old" (73, started diving at 49).

I almost didn't get there in time, an accident on I-10 just west of Mobile had us stopped and detoured, frustrating, cost me almost an hour, and that comfort margin of getting there early. Anxiety time, wrote real fast on the Nitrox rental forms and then the tank sampling at the shop (MBT Divers, a good outfit), and hoped they didn't leave without me. Those two tanks were a lot heavier than they used to be, wonder why ;-) Took me some more time to find the right marina, but ultimately no sweat as it turned out, they were just starting the briefing on the six-pack boat. But first, the good Captain asked us (four of us) if we indeed wanted to go, it was lumpy seas for their morning dive, and probably would increase for the afternoon. We looked at each other and all said "yes", Captain said if we all wanted to change our minds when we got outside, he would understand. This was a fast, twin-outboard, 25-foot or so craft, nice boat but crowded dive-deck compared to the bigger inboard boats I had mostly seen in my dive career.

And yes, it was lumpy outside of Pensacola Bay, seas about 4-5 feet with long intervals, we were heading into it real fast, occasionally almost airborne, then "bang," back down into the trough. A couple of the divers looked a little queasy, and worse, but toughed it out, and we got there, and the Mate/DM tied us in to the wreck. This was a "near-shore" site, only about 3 miles out and about 50-60 feet bottom depth and I was happy to not go farther and deeper since this was a get-reacquainted dive for rusty ole me. Our "dive deck" was small and crowded as we geared up, but we did, then did the backwards roll off the gunwale, into the choppy sea.

I had trouble getting negative, asked if the DM could pass me a weight--then another weight-repeat, repeat. Can you guess where I'm going here?? This is embarrassing, in the confusion and rocking boat and checking BWRAF, I left out the "W". I hadn't put my weight belt on,l and didn't double-check as I should have--just brilliant, right? The new BC I have has a bottom skirt that "feels like" a weight belt, anyway, that's my lame old-guy excuse. Reboarding would have been a chore on that dicey ladder, and in those seas I didn't want to have to wrestle it on, so a couple more weights handed down by the Mate and then into my BC pockets, and I was finally negative.

I had burned a good bit of air at the surface with all that, so less time below. But the sunk barge is small, so I didn't miss out on anything. 49 feet, 29 minutes.

Second dive, *with* weight belt, felt better, and really got to enjoy the flora and fauna, many fish of many types, lots of Atlantic Spades, very pretty in that late afternoon sun, it was relaxing. This dive was golden, everything the first dive wasn't, so a nice way to finish out. 55 feet, 38 minutes

The trip in was still in big waves, but downwind, so a different motion, and lots of it. A couple of the divers were again seasick, but again bounced back to life. I was good, it seems I don't get seasick and it's been 65 years on the water, I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying it? Please keep this on the down-low, okay? ;-)

I gave the DM an extra tip, he'd earned it nursemaiding the Old Guy.

The drive home heading west was pretty--old Alabama two-lane farmland roads at 60 mph watching the sun set. Then I-10, and a gorgeous post-sunset purple sky across the horizon approaching Mobile. And an iPod music mix I didn't know I had, came up, old Rock, Classical, Rhapsody in Blue, more. Stopped once for gas, coffee, candy bar, life is good.

So, I'm sorta old, but not quite yet old-old. And a day that started nerve-racking and doubtful with that wreck detour, ended up wonderful.
 

Doc

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Great day.
And for next trip?
 

Rob9876

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Very nice! The Joe Patti is a nice dive to get back in the swing of things with (I was there a few months ago). We did that one day, and the Oriskanny the next -- we were lucky with the weather on those days (don't think I'd want to have the long ride out to the Big O in 4-5 foot seas in a 6-pack).
 

rmorgan

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Everybody’s seen, if not done, this or something like this, and it’s age-neutral. Last time we were in Bonaire, our DM, with thousands of dives, had to get back on the boat for his fins. Sounds like a great trip.
 
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nolatom

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Everybody’s seen, if not done, this or something like this, and it’s age-neutral. Last time we were in Bonaire, our DM, with thousands of dives, had to get back on the boat for his fins. Sounds like a great trip.

Thanks for that, I feel better and slightly younger ;-)

I have jumped in offshore without fins, and as a rookie way offshore at night, giant-strided into that black ocean with my reg not in my mouth. But that's a different thread, the one about those "aha" moments when you remember some important teaching moment from your OW instructor. And would be the "R" in BWRAF. I shall, going forward, try not to mess up the remaining B, A, and of course F.
 

BoundForElsewhere

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Big smiles, brother!!!!
 

TMHeimer

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This past Saturday (24 September), and having been dry for a year, I drove the 3-hour trip (supposed to be, keep reading) from New Orleans to Pensacola, to dive from a small "six-pack" boat to the sunk barge wreck "Joe Patti barge", boat leaves at 1300. I had not dived in a year, and diving is now one of those things I don't want to quit doing because it might mean I'm "too old" (73, started diving at 49).

I almost didn't get there in time, an accident on I-10 just west of Mobile had us stopped and detoured, frustrating, cost me almost an hour, and that comfort margin of getting there early. Anxiety time, wrote real fast on the Nitrox rental forms and then the tank sampling at the shop (MBT Divers, a good outfit), and hoped they didn't leave without me. Those two tanks were a lot heavier than they used to be, wonder why ;-) Took me some more time to find the right marina, but ultimately no sweat as it turned out, they were just starting the briefing on the six-pack boat. But first, the good Captain asked us (four of us) if we indeed wanted to go, it was lumpy seas for their morning dive, and probably would increase for the afternoon. We looked at each other and all said "yes", Captain said if we all wanted to change our minds when we got outside, he would understand. This was a fast, twin-outboard, 25-foot or so craft, nice boat but crowded dive-deck compared to the bigger inboard boats I had mostly seen in my dive career.

And yes, it was lumpy outside of Pensacola Bay, seas about 4-5 feet with long intervals, we were heading into it real fast, occasionally almost airborne, then "bang," back down into the trough. A couple of the divers looked a little queasy, and worse, but toughed it out, and we got there, and the Mate/DM tied us in to the wreck. This was a "near-shore" site, only about 3 miles out and about 50-60 feet bottom depth and I was happy to not go farther and deeper since this was a get-reacquainted dive for rusty ole me. Our "dive deck" was small and crowded as we geared up, but we did, then did the backwards roll off the gunwale, into the choppy sea.

I had trouble getting negative, asked if the DM could pass me a weight--then another weight-repeat, repeat. Can you guess where I'm going here?? This is embarrassing, in the confusion and rocking boat and checking BWRAF, I left out the "W". I hadn't put my weight belt on,l and didn't double-check as I should have--just brilliant, right? The new BC I have has a bottom skirt that "feels like" a weight belt, anyway, that's my lame old-guy excuse. Reboarding would have been a chore on that dicey ladder, and in those seas I didn't want to have to wrestle it on, so a couple more weights handed down by the Mate and then into my BC pockets, and I was finally negative.

I had burned a good bit of air at the surface with all that, so less time below. But the sunk barge is small, so I didn't miss out on anything. 49 feet, 29 minutes.

Second dive, *with* weight belt, felt better, and really got to enjoy the flora and fauna, many fish of many types, lots of Atlantic Spades, very pretty in that late afternoon sun, it was relaxing. This dive was golden, everything the first dive wasn't, so a nice way to finish out. 55 feet, 38 minutes

The trip in was still in big waves, but downwind, so a different motion, and lots of it. A couple of the divers were again seasick, but again bounced back to life. I was good, it seems I don't get seasick and it's been 65 years on the water, I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying it? Please keep this on the down-low, okay? ;-)

I gave the DM an extra tip, he'd earned it nursemaiding the Old Guy.

The drive home heading west was pretty--old Alabama two-lane farmland roads at 60 mph watching the sun set. Then I-10, and a gorgeous post-sunset purple sky across the horizon approaching Mobile. And an iPod music mix I didn't know I had, came up, old Rock, Classical, Rhapsody in Blue, more. Stopped once for gas, coffee, candy bar, life is good.

So, I'm sorta old, but not quite yet old-old. And a day that started nerve-racking and doubtful with that wreck detour, ended up wonderful.
This past Saturday (24 September), and having been dry for a year, I drove the 3-hour trip (supposed to be, keep reading) from New Orleans to Pensacola, to dive from a small "six-pack" boat to the sunk barge wreck "Joe Patti barge", boat leaves at 1300. I had not dived in a year, and diving is now one of those things I don't want to quit doing because it might mean I'm "too old" (73, started diving at 49).

I almost didn't get there in time, an accident on I-10 just west of Mobile had us stopped and detoured, frustrating, cost me almost an hour, and that comfort margin of getting there early. Anxiety time, wrote real fast on the Nitrox rental forms and then the tank sampling at the shop (MBT Divers, a good outfit), and hoped they didn't leave without me. Those two tanks were a lot heavier than they used to be, wonder why ;-) Took me some more time to find the right marina, but ultimately no sweat as it turned out, they were just starting the briefing on the six-pack boat. But first, the good Captain asked us (four of us) if we indeed wanted to go, it was lumpy seas for their morning dive, and probably would increase for the afternoon. We looked at each other and all said "yes", Captain said if we all wanted to change our minds when we got outside, he would understand. This was a fast, twin-outboard, 25-foot or so craft, nice boat but crowded dive-deck compared to the bigger inboard boats I had mostly seen in my dive career.

And yes, it was lumpy outside of Pensacola Bay, seas about 4-5 feet with long intervals, we were heading into it real fast, occasionally almost airborne, then "bang," back down into the trough. A couple of the divers looked a little queasy, and worse, but toughed it out, and we got there, and the Mate/DM tied us in to the wreck. This was a "near-shore" site, only about 3 miles out and about 50-60 feet bottom depth and I was happy to not go farther and deeper since this was a get-reacquainted dive for rusty ole me. Our "dive deck" was small and crowded as we geared up, but we did, then did the backwards roll off the gunwale, into the choppy sea.

I had trouble getting negative, asked if the DM could pass me a weight--then another weight-repeat, repeat. Can you guess where I'm going here?? This is embarrassing, in the confusion and rocking boat and checking BWRAF, I left out the "W". I hadn't put my weight belt on,l and didn't double-check as I should have--just brilliant, right? The new BC I have has a bottom skirt that "feels like" a weight belt, anyway, that's my lame old-guy excuse. Reboarding would have been a chore on that dicey ladder, and in those seas I didn't want to have to wrestle it on, so a couple more weights handed down by the Mate and then into my BC pockets, and I was finally negative.

I had burned a good bit of air at the surface with all that, so less time below. But the sunk barge is small, so I didn't miss out on anything. 49 feet, 29 minutes.

Second dive, *with* weight belt, felt better, and really got to enjoy the flora and fauna, many fish of many types, lots of Atlantic Spades, very pretty in that late afternoon sun, it was relaxing. This dive was golden, everything the first dive wasn't, so a nice way to finish out. 55 feet, 38 minutes

The trip in was still in big waves, but downwind, so a different motion, and lots of it. A couple of the divers were again seasick, but again bounced back to life. I was good, it seems I don't get seasick and it's been 65 years on the water, I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying it? Please keep this on the down-low, okay? ;-)

I gave the DM an extra tip, he'd earned it nursemaiding the Old Guy.

The drive home heading west was pretty--old Alabama two-lane farmland roads at 60 mph watching the sun set. Then I-10, and a gorgeous post-sunset purple sky across the horizon approaching Mobile. And an iPod music mix I didn't know I had, came up, old Rock, Classical, Rhapsody in Blue, more. Stopped once for gas, coffee, candy bar, life is good.

So, I'm sorta old, but not quite yet old-old. And a day that started nerve-racking and doubtful with that wreck detour, ended up wonderful.
Good story. We have a lot in common. I started diving age 51 and am 68. We "snowbirded" on the panhandle often -- Destin (as well as on Dauphin I. & in Biloxi). So I came from both directions to dive in Pensacola. In 2014 I dived on the "Anna Patti" barge (if she's related to Joe....). And, I have played the Rhapsody in Blue clarinet solo (youtube). Have missed some years of going South due to health and the closed US/Canada border during the pandemic.
 
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