Quarry Diving: 500 Dives in a Quarry - Are You SERIOUS???

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NewbaScuba

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OK, I'm curious. From your profile, it seems you are a new diver. So here are my questions to you:

Did the instructor or shop you trained with do all of your training in a quarry?
My Initial OW training was completed in Lake Rawlings actually

If you took Advanced Open Water, did they do all the dives in quarries?
I finished my AOW earlier this year in Cozumel...as far as I know there are no quarries there :wink:

You indicate you live in Virginia (me too). Did the instructor or shop ever mention ocean dives as an option?
My OW instructor was great, and each of the instructors I met before and during my classes were more than happy to bring me somewhere other than a quarry for training. That's saying something indeed. My wife had an option of a cold man made mud puddle in January in Montana, or a the other cold man-made mud puddle in January in Montana...so I was happy with the quarry as a training setting.
What do you think the ultimate purpose is of the training you received? Prepare you for ocean diving, make you a "better" diver (to what end?), or "sell" you more training to keep you diving?
Each instructor I have had has always had a goal of making sure I know what I am doing, and making sure that I come out a better diver, regardless of the place I am diving. In this, I can assure you, I have been lucky.
I have some friends who got their AOW with another company. They were dropped into the Ginnie springs pretty much unsupervised. Probably a good thing, as the instructor was still drunk from the night before. Luckily they are both better diver's than I am, and really understand what they are doing from the get go.

To me diving is diving, whether its a mud puddle or the ocean. Each has it's pros and cons.

I wasn't really thinking of this from a business perspective before.
I can't imagine a boat being cheap to own/operate. Slip rental, maintenance, fuel, crew, dry storage...these are all costs right off the top of my head, where a quarry is pretty much in entry and space fees.
Access may be a problem for some if they do not own a boat.
I am from Montana, where any water is open to the public. There may be charges at state parks to enter, but if I want to dive there I can. It is very different here in VA. I have trouble finding lakes that allow a canoe let alone a diver.
 

Doc Harry

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Doc, where do you dive? Which quarry has 120ft?

Actually, I don't dive in quarries because there aren't any around here. I dive in reservoirs, which is about the same as quarry diving. Man-made, cold, dark, with nothing but mud and rocks.

Summersville Lake is over 300 feet deep. Tygart Lake, Lake Mt. Storm and Youghiogheny River Lake are over 120 feet deep.

I was at Summersville Lake last week, the viz was so bad at 100 feet I had to hold my gauge up to my mask to see it. The water is getting really, really warm, it was up to 60 degrees F.
 

Hank49

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Right on glen. You're going to love the Caribbean. I was born and raised in Harrison, the last town as I74 cross into Indiana. Left there 34 years ago. You have a great attitude. If you get to Belize, look me up.
I am still a newbie, but it is amazing watching fish in their natural environment. I know that carp and catfish are not exotic, but wow, it is cool being underwater for an hour watching them as a visitor in their home. Yes, I do find rusty school busses and old buick's pretty cool 40 feet under water. I even giggled like a little girl the first time I saw a mannequin in a bathtub while diving. My daughter and I are saving up for a nice Carribean trip, but until then, I am content blowing bubbles in rural Ohio.

glen
 

NewbaScuba

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Is mount storm worth a trip from DC?
I had read about it and my OW instructor does his Altitude training there.
 

Doc Harry

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Is mount storm worth a trip from DC?

No!
Negatory!
Nope!
Nein!
Non!
Nyet!
Nej!
Nei!
Iie!
Aniyo!
A-a!
Ndaga'!
Qa'é!
Lo!

It's barely worth the 1-hour drive from my home, and then I go there only in the dead of winter because the water is a balmy 48 degrees F.
 

clpkab

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Well, having just finished my first dives at a quarry (Lake Rawlings), I now feel eligble to comment on this thread...

Why would I dive a quarry -

relatively low cost
easily reachable (as long as traffic on I-95 and I-85 cooperate) and I can ignore the "no-fly" countdown on my computer
good place to practice skills in depths greater than local pools
gain some experience in less than optimal viz (my OW dives were done in Cozumel and Key Largo)

Would I dive Rawlings 500 times? Probably not. In two dives I think I saw most of the key sites (cars, plane, bus, boat, computer graveyard). I also learned (or confirmed) that I'm probably going to be a mostly warm water diver. On my excursion down to the plane I only reached 43 ft because the water was SO cold my face hurt and I had to work at staying calm and breathing until I could ascend back above the thermocline (was not wearing a hood or gloves).

Nevertheless, I'm sure that there are more Rawlings' dives in my future. The only question is when....:)
 

Colliam7

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Seriously, though, all I'm saying is what would it take to translate the enthusiasm people have for quarries to the ocean setting?
And, although your post stimulated a few 'animated' responses in a couple of cases, I think you made clear that your goal was to better understand why some might prefer quarries, when the ocean is readily available - it really wasn't a general 'dissing' of quarries by any means.
The divers I'm referring to often live on the coast (I mean nearer to the ocean than a quarry), so it's a longer drive to the quarry than the boat dock. What I was having difficulty understanding was why these folks almost NEVER dive the ocean.
I have the same difficulty. To be fair, I thoroughly enjoy diving quarries - close by, easy shore access, inexpensive, great place to check gear configurations, good for practicing skills, no seasickness issues (to speak of), etc. And, the one that is closest to me (30 minute drive) is a membership quarry with $40 annual dues, 24/7/365 access, 90 ft depths, good viz, etc. Plus, it has a large picnic shelter right next to the water, where we go after we dive and stow our gear to have some snacks, a few refreshing adult beverages, and a cigar. Very relaxing.

But, given a choice, I would prefer the ocean. Now, I am a bit biased at the moment. I just experienced last week the two best days of NC coastal diving I have ever spent, on the Tarpon, the Abrams and the Dixie Arrow, with fantatstic visibility, warm waters (bottom temps above 76 degrees), and some great company on a great boat operation (JT).
Drewski said:
The look on my 13 year old niece's face as we lay motionless near the stern of the Dixie Arrow off Hatteras after other divers had left the wreck and more than 20 sand tiger sharks moved in right next to us, some more than 10 FT long, floating effortlessly only inches away.
My dive buddy and I did the same thing last week - lots of BIG, beautiful sand tigers. But, what made the Arrow dives so wonderful - I had never seen so many rays on the site before, and there were seemingly dozens of them swimming in toward, and along, the wreck, big and little. The two of us just hovered along the edge of the port side near the stern watching them for probably 5 minutes at the end of the dive.
Drewski said:
The U.S.S. Tarpon bathed in blue topaz water so beautiful that it sparkled like jewelry when baitfish caught the beams of sunlight.
The viz on the Tarpon was easily 70 feet last week, and the sand tigers were in abundance. You couldn't ask for better conditions. The only 'negative' - we were swimming from bow to stern, along the port side, behind a big sand tiger who was hogging the left lane and moving slowly. I motioned from him to move over but he didn't 'take the bait'. :wink: [/quote]
From what's been posted here, cost and convenience (i.e., weather, availability, sea sickness, etc.) seem to be the big factors.
I would agree. For me, it is a 5 hour drive to Hatteras. OK, only 2.5 hr to Wilmington or Morehead. But, it is only 30 minutes to the quarry, and I probably won't get weathered out. So, I don't necessarily even fall into the category of divers with which you were initially communicating. Nonetheless, there is an element of predictability of quarry diving. I drive 30 minutes, get in the water, decide I don't care for the conditions, or my mind isn't in it, and I pack up and leave. Last month, my wife and I got up at 5am to drive to Wilmington, only to get a call from the charter op at 6:45 am as we neared the city limits, saying the charter had to be cancelled because of rising seas. Not a big deal in reality, but an example of the convenience issue.
I'll also bet - although only a few said this - that most of these people did all their certification dives in quarries. You often dive where you train.
And, that's a good point. Our shop does all our OW training in quarries, primarily because of being able to predictabily complete the classes on the assigned schedule. If we didn't, we would end up with a huge backlog of incomplete training at the end of the summer, not to mention the possibility of lower student numbers because of greater expense. But, we have started doing New Diver coastal charters in the last couple of years, where several instructors arrange a charter for their newly certified students on a good coastal site (e.g. the Hyde), and are there diving with them to help the students transition from the fresh water quarry to the open ocean - fun for us, great for the students.

So, kudos for the original post. Hopefully it will stimulate some thinking. Diving is fun wherever you go. And, one way to find that out is to experience as many venues as possible, and not just stick to one because it is convenient, or it is where you trained.
 

molina67

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I am a new diver and am looking forward to diving in the ocean, but am sticking to Florida Springs for now until I gain some more experience... I may be new to diving but am full of life's experiences and here are my two cents....
A person should dive where they are comfortable, depth, oceans, springs, quarry, money, buddy, or whatever it is ....
 

mheaster

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Sorry, but I've learned over time that provocative titles on Scuba Board seem to get better reads, LOL. In truth, however, I'm having difficulty understanding the attraction to East Coast quarry diving. Sure, I dive quarries. I use them for warm-ups, gear testing and training skill dives. A few weeks ago, I was speaking with another instructor who had just congratulated a fellow diver for logging his 500th quarry dive at Lake Rawlings, Virginia. 500 dives in a quarry? Really? Surprisingly enough, and what I really find AMAZING, is the number of divers that show up at these places each weekend. Some dive shops do ALL training there. I've seen divers with custom dry suits, cave rigged doubles, side mount systems, stage bottles and now - get this - rebreather systems with dual computers and full bail-out support. Doing some quick math, one individual was walking around wearing at least $12,000 in gear. Most of this gear looks brand new, with little sun wear and undoubtedly has never tasted salt. Perplexing, given that millions of these people live only a short drive from an ocean with outstanding opportunity. Some folks actually drive further to dive a quarry, than a shorter ride to a boat dock. So, I'm asking. What is the attraction? Is it easy, cheap, or is it what you trained in? I can understand some of that, but it sure seems to me that if you're willing to spend thousands of dollars on the latest gear, drive several hours in traffic, then wait through long lines of divers at these places, you'd at least want to dive where you get to see more than well-fed Blue Gills and rusty cars? Please, post some feedback!
Drewski, although this was posted about 5 months ago, I have JUST seen it. I am quite sure you are referring to me congratulating a good friend, dive buddy and fellow Instructor, who I admire tremendously. The fine gentleman in question is a Fantastic Advocate of Diving in general and is a personal Diving Mentor of mine.. I know he has in excess of 1300 career dives (Many off the coast of NC) and around the world and has certified hundreds of students. (My wife and two children are amongst these) His decision to dive in our fine local Quarry is primarily due to it being a good training Location and the most convenient place to conduct classes. While we willingly joke about his 500+ "Quarry Dives" we also know his qualifications.
 
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