This past weekend I was at Lourde’s Camp in Skaneateles for Open Water Diver training as part of National Aquatic Service’s college instructional program.
The weather for the weekend was outstanding. The temperatures were in the upper seventies on Saturday, and low seventies on Sunday. The wind picked up a bit in the afternoon on both days, but it didn’t cause any problems.
There were two Central New York colleges, Onondaga Community College, and Ithaca, represented at the lake this weekend. All of the students did a great job and their respective instructors were very pleased with the effort and results.
Every year, for 19 years, National Aquatic Service hosts the Frozen Fin Dive on January 1st. As you can imagine from the name of the event, its a little cold, and this year, 2010, was no exception!
The New Year’s Day dive takes place just south of Skaneateles in Mandana, NY, at the marina. National Aquatic sets up a couple of tents with heaters, to help keep you warm when not diving. Lots of people bring food to share and there’s usually a couple of spirits to help warm your insides, when the diving is done.
This year, there were at least 25 divers and many more well-wishers on hand to enjoy the festivities! We also had snow. Lots and lots of snow.
By this point, you’ve probably thought to yourself, “They must be nuts to go in the water in January!” and you might be right.
However, the water temperature was right around 40°F for the dive, and the air temp was in the mid-twenties. Add in the fact that everyone that took part in the dive this year, had a dry suit on, and its not nearly as crazy as it sounds.
I dive in a Fusion Sport by Whites and I love it. I’m the one on the far right, with the blue hands. Those are dry gloves, not some sign of advanced hypothermia!
I dove with Bob Brown, one of guys on staff at NAS, and we had great dive. Bob wanted to check out a submerged boat, not far from the harbor that was supposed to be nose down in the muck. I say “supposed to be” because we never did find that boat. We got to see a lot of the harbor, several moorings, a lot of zebra mussels and some cool banks of grass.
We also got to do a pretty long surface swim, thanks to someone, I won’t mention Bob’s name, having a little trouble with navigation. I’m not really complaining though, a calm, quiet surface swim at the end of a really good dive, is a great way to finish. Its still really odd to me though, to be snowed on, while swimming in to shore.
If you’re a diver, and you’d like to join us next year, just give National Aquatic a call – I’m sure they’ll be happy to put you on the list for the 20th Annual Frozen Fin!
If you’re not a diver yet, and you’d like to be, National Aquatic can help with that too. NAS offers Open Water Certification classes year-round, and they offer for-credit classes at a number of colleges in the Central New York area. If you decide to take the class at Onondaga Community College this spring, I’ll see you there!
Regardless of where you are – get out and dive!
Full disclosure: I’m an instructor on staff at National Aquatic. I teach local classes and at OCC.