I finally had a free weekend at the same time that Coral Key Scuba was having a diving session at a local private lake, affectionately known as the Coral Sea. This is a small gravel pond that is stocked with some fish, but does not allow fishing. Most of the pond is around 15 feet deep. There are two deeper sections at around 20 feet and 40 feet. Visibility is very variable and this past weekend that visibility was around 3 feet.
It was very exciting for me to dust off my mask and snorkel and give it a go. Scuba has been on my mind, ever since we took a trip to Crystal River, Florida. I did not get to go diving, but I did take a refresher course and renewed my interest.
Coral Key Scuba has an exclusive arrangement at this pond and will offer dives about once a month year round. It is only $12 to use the pond which is conveniently about 15 minutes from my house. You can show up without a partner and people are paired about at the dive master’s discretion. An odd man out could go out with the dive master. Most people will go once around during an hour dive.
I was paired up with another less experienced diver and the dive master. The three of us went around the lake and utilized a buddy cord. This was incredibly beneficial for me as I would have had a hard time navigating the lake and even finding the deeper section to dive at least 20 feet deep to make it an official PADI recognized dive.
I saw several small fish and one medium sized fish. I also did not suffer and ill effects from the diving itself, aside from a little dry mouth. When I got certified, I experienced nausea. This was most likely due to being in an ocean, but Dramamine helped the second day of certification diving.
I rented equipment from Coral Key Scuba including a 7mm Henderson wetsuit, Oceanic BCD, an octopus, regulators, tank and fins. All of the equipment fit well, but the wetsuit was not in the best shape nor was it particularly comfortable. If I make a habit of this, I will likely invest in a wetsuit appropriate for local diving and warm weather diving destinations.
Diving, similar to rock climbing, is a buddy activity. I don’t know anybody who dives, so that inhibits my ability to participate. However, I would love to keep diving at the Coral Sea to meet other divers, get some more experience setting up my equipment, navigating in the water and generally getting more comfortable so that I can plan dive trips in the future.