Season Dive: 5
Site: Gruntenheave, Joan
Max Depth: 41 feet
TBT: 79 minutes
Grand Total: 15 hours, 28 minutes
Curtis, Kristen, Nick and I woke up at o’dark thirty to get our dive in yesterday. We loaded up the Explorer the night before so the only thing to do when we got up was eat breakfast and pack some snacks. We hit the road shorty after 7am.
After going through the tangle town of the mine pits and doing a turn around or two we arrived at the dive site Gruntenheave. Our mission was to find the submerged F-350, complete with dualies and chromies.
I got my tank hooked up and wetsuit on without a hitch again. Had to wait for Nick to use the bathroom so I put my BCD on myself. It was a tad bit cumbersome, but not too hard to do. Again I put my own weight pouches in. Last time I felt I was still a little bit too heavy at 20 pounds, so I ended up using 18lbs this time. We had to tackle a steep hill with our gear on in order to get to the pit. I think Curtis was afraid I would tumble into him. I wasn’t too worried, I figured the tank on my back would put an end to any perpetual rolling that might occur if I fell. The four of us got in the water. The surface was all scummy and a nasty film covered my gloves and mask. Nick and I swam out a bit into the clearer water to finish suiting up. We were on our way shortly after.
At first I was afraid I wasn’t going to sink. I hovered right below the surface for a little bit. Once I got to the 5 foot mark I started going down faster, but not so fast that it was uncomfortable or that I had to kick to slow down. Finally, the perfect amount of weight. The water was 73 degrees at the surface but seemed to get chilly early right around 20 feet. I didn’t want to stay too shallow because I knew the top of the truck was around 35 feet and I didn’t want us to swim by it. There were strange patterns in the water, almost like fog. There were whispy white spots and deep blue streaks. At first I thought it was the sun shining through, but I’m sure that wasn’t it. It looked really neat. For some reason it reminded me of the old Scooby Doo cartoons. After what felt like an eternity Curtis turned around and gave the victory fists, we finally found the truck.
I got an extreme case of vertigo as I approached the F-350. I think it was a combination of 1) it being at such a steep angle and 2) I’m not used to floating weightless around any vehicle. For some reason I had pictured the truck pristinely preserved under the water, shiny black with sparkling chrome rims. Quite the opposite was true. It was covered in moss and algae. Apparently it was red underneath all that business. The chromies weren’t as impressive as I pictured either, but then I realized I have no idea what makes rims impressive if they aren’t shiny. But according to dive instructor Dan, “if there was some way a guy could retrieve those chromies…”
I hovered around the bed of the truck for a little bit and tried peering in through the missing back window when suddenly I felt a bit of claustrophobia coming on. I quickly scurried away from the truck. Underwater vehicles give me the heeby jeebies. I reflected for a moment what it would have been like to have been in the truck when it slid down the hill into the pit. At 35 feet it must have felt like an eternity of a swim to get to the surface.
I didn’t have my camera with. I remembered seeing it somewhere when I packed up all the dive gear at home, but I kind of forgot about it until I had my wet suit on and at that point I was hot, stiff and didn’t feel like searching around for it. Then I remembered that the batteries were almost dead and the spares were still at the cabin, so that pretty much sealed the deal on not looking for it. [Side note: I just went to retrieve my laptop charger and found my camera in my laptop bag, so the search efforts would have been in vain.] Fortunately Curtis had his camera with and took a lot of photos of the truck.
After leaving the truck I realized how cold I was. We ascended to 15 feet and I felt the drastic change in water temperature. My dive computer told me to do a 3 minute safety stop, so I tried to stay below the 15 foot mark.
The remainder of the dive we stayed above 20 feet as we made our way around the perimeter of the small pit. There were lots of beaver dams and real tiny fishies. We saw a couple of northerns. The boys saw an eel pout, but Kristen and I missed it.
Somewhere along the lines my hood flipped back and my mask started leaking water. It wasn’t hard to clear out, but it was starting to become a pain in the arse. I thought about taking a glove off and fixing it, but at 40 minutes I assumed the dive would be ending soon so I didn’t bother. My snorkel was also in my face the whole time and it ended up pulling my mask a few notches tighter so it was really doing a number on my nose and upper lip. Had I known my TBT would be 77 minutes I would have fixed it.
I attempted blowing air rings a couple times. The first time I had four good ones in a row. The second time I had one good one. I was hoping to get another chance at the end, but there was really no where convenient to stop and do it, besides the fact that Nick was low on air and had surfaced and Kristen was already at the surface for what seemed like 90% of the dive. Oh well, maybe next time.
I liked diving at Gruntenheave. It was a one tank kind of place, but there seemed to be a lot to look at.