And another month down! I can't believe it's March already! Seriously, where is this year going?! I can't think of a better way to usher out one month and welcome the next better than diving, and so that's how we spent the weekend. Some friends of ours invited us to head down to Bodensee with them for a couple of weekend dives. Bodensee is the largest lake in Germany and the third largest in central Europe, and it is nestled in the foothills of the Alps. While not quite a big as the Great Lakes, this Michigan girl was glad to see a body of water larger than a fishing pond, and one with better visibility!
Our friends were both technical, tri-mix divers, and they were doing some deep dives (60 meters/196 feet on Saturday and 45 meters/148 feet on Sunday). Not having the proper training or equipment, we kept our dives within recreational limits. But, that doesn't mean we didn't enjoy the dives! And as an added bonus, mother nature cooperated and gave us beautiful weather on Saturday - 50°F and sunny - but was not as kind on Sunday (40°F, cloudy and windy).
We parked and got our gear set up in a small parking lot next to some tennis courts just southeast of Überlingen, only a short walk away from the water. Which is good when you're diving; no one likes a 1 km hike in dive gear (although this is sometimes unavoidable). It's a rocky beach, which gives way to a mucky and silty bottom, meaning that good buoyancy and kick technique is crucial in order to not stir it all up.
Both days, we headed straight out and to the right. There are a set of tracks or rails that lead out from a boat house into the water, stopping at about 5 meters/15 feet deep. They actually make for a really good navigation point! There is a wall that starts around 100 feet just north east of the tracks. It kind of feels like diving on the moon. There is very little plant life, and we only saw a couple of cray fish. The geological formations were pretty impressive, and we are eager to explore more of this area. After the dive, Aaron and I were talking about how comfortable we both felt (despite my leaking dry suit, which I need to get figure out before we go to Iceland). Apparently, we are the most at home in deep, dark, and cold waters. Figures, for two divers who cut their teeth on the shipwrecks in the Great Lakes and random inland bodies of water in Michigan.
Since we were diving air on both days, our bottom time was limited by our nitrogen loading instead of our air supply. Next time, we will be diving nitrox for sure. And I will have argon for my dry suit. After being spoiled with nitrox as a breathing gas, and argon for my drysuit, diving air for everything is a huge disappointment. We both tire and get cold far more easily.
In all though, I'm glad that we got to dive this weekend at a new site. Finding dive buddies, and dive sites, diving in Germany has proven a little more challenging that we thought. Thankfully, we now know new place and can go back whenever we like. I think the best part of the weekend came on Sunday. As we came up from our dive, we found the clouds and fog had cleared a little, and we could see the Alps. Nothing quite like coming up from a great dive, only to find a beautiful sight before you. And if you're curious as to how we fill out our log pages, take a look to the left.
Anyone else diving this weekend? I hear it's pretty cold back in the states, maybe enough ice for ice diving?