Aquatic Adventures Blog

Advanced Open Water

A few weeks ago I began my Advanced Open Water certification. Jerry, my Open Water instructor, was my instructor again for Advanced Open Water. My classmates were three guys, and my dive buddy was a guy who had only been diving in warm tropical water before. He thought seeing a wreck on Lake Michigan would be exciting, but he wasn’t thrilled about going to Pearl Lake in Illinois for some of our dives because he thought it would be boring.

The dives we were doing for our certification were Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigator, Search and Recovery, Wreck Diving and Deep Diving. Jerry had us come to the store on a Thursday to go over the bookwork and practice using a compass and tying knots.

On Saturday we went down to Pearl Lake to do our Peak Performance Buoyancy, Underwater Navigator, and Search and Recovery dives. It took my buddy and I a while to get into the water. Since he had never been diving in cold water, he wasn’t sure what to wear under his wetsuit and he didn’t know what order to put things on in. I suggested he wear the compression shorts he had brought rather than a regular swimsuit that would bunch under the wetsuit and walked him through how to get all his gear on.

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Milwaukee Car Ferry

Explore Underwater Archaeology

Are you interested in Underwater Archaeology? I am, but I had difficulty finding a training course in the Southeast Wisconsin area. During my visit to “Our World Underwater” in Chicago last winter, I stopped at the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago booth. My goal was to determine if they would be hosting any training classes. They suggested I contact Dr. Mark Holley at Northwestern Michigan College. After accessing the college website, I discovered the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) program hosted by the school as a part of their college curriculum.

The Nautical Archaeology Society’s principal aim is to “promote the preservation of the nautical heritage for the benefit of current and future generations”. One of several ways the NAS accomplishes that is through the NAS training program which was established in 1968. The training program is made up of these four courses:

  1. NAS Part I Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.
  2. NAS Part II Intermediate Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.
  3. NAS Part III Advanced Certificate in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.
  4. NAS Part IV Diploma in Foreshore and Underwater Archaeology.

After contacting Dr. Holley, I determined I could take the NAS Part I course online and subsequently meet with him to learn the practical skills of underwater surveying and recording. I enrolled in April and spent the spring and early summer completing the online program. In August, Dr. Holley and I met and he demonstrated the necessary survey and recording techniques thereby completing my certification requirements for NAS Part I.

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Beginning Scuba – Part 5

After a lot of help from Jenny and Ben, two of Aquatic Adventures’ instructors, I was able to complete the pool training for my Open Water certification. I took a lot longer than the one weekend most people complete pool training in, but that was okay since I began the class in February and I couldn’t do my check out dives until the lakes thawed out.

Jerry, my instructor, would not take me to Pearl Lake, where we did the check out dives, earlier than June without taking the drysuit class because he was worried I would get too cold in a wetsuit. I ended up doing the dives at the end of June, when the water had warmed up nicely.

I was getting certified with two other students. We met Jenny and Jerry in the parking lot at Pearl Lake, then drove over to the spot they had picked for us to complete our dives. We surface swam to the platform we would be doing our skills on and used the buoy as a reference to swim down to the platform. I had started getting sick the night before, so I had a lot of problems equalizing. We all completed the skills for dive 1 with no problems, so Jerry started taking us on a tour of the lake. I was still having issues with equalizing, so Jenny and I surfaced and surface swam back to the platform. I couldn’t equalize enough to descend all the way back to the platform, so we waited on the surface for Jerry to come back with the other students.

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Bonaire Sunset

Visit Bonaire

Visit Bonaire: Welcome to Diver’s Paradise

In January 2017 Aquatic Adventures will visit Bonaire for the first time in several years. Having been to Bonaire and its close neighbor Curacao many times, I was asked by the staff to write a blog to share a few thoughts about this amazing little island.

Geography and Weather

Bonaire is one of three islands off the northern coast of Venezuela known as the ABC islands. Moving from west to east, the ABCs include Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. Because these islands are outside of the hurricane belt, they are ideal destinations to visit as the weather remains consistently warm and dry all year long.

Bonaire was the first of the ABC islands I visited. I can still recall the surprise I had disembarking from the plane the first time. We had been in Jamaica where the weather was warm and humid. When we arrived in Bonaire, the weather was surprisingly drier. This is because Bonaire is a desert island versus a tropical island. Its annual rainfall is only about 20 inches. More than 65% of this rainfall occurs between October and January.

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