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Questions and Answers on Diving, the Pacific and NZ February 14, 2015

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2015.

A friend of mine, Mike, lives near Mount Baker north of Seattle. We were bantering back and forth so thought I would pass this on to the blog. – Steve

Have you ever had a scuba equipment malfunction that scared you?
Where are the scenic pics of New Zealand?
Will you dive on the GB Reef with the great whites? -Mike

“I was diving with a renter from the Everett duplex I had and he was ahead of me going down, up in BC, Canada on a wreck dive in the Broken Islands (Barkley Sound) area of Vacouver Island. It has a bunch of cars in the holds of the ship. My regulator was gurgling water into my mouth as I went deeper in about 40 feet of water. I caught up to him and indicated to go up and I used his spare regulator.

I took it in for repair and they said the rubber damper had torn and needed replacing. I got this reg from a girl friends old boy friend. I bought a new regulator fairly soon after that but it was kind of touchy for settings but free parts on each repair for lifetime. I sold it finally and got an Atomic regulator that I still have.

“I’ve dove on the GB reef before in 1984/85 Dec/Jan and plan to dive again when I get there. Probably Port Douglas area near Cairns. No whites were around, hope not to see any in the future. Maybe from a distance just as I get out of the water would be OK to see a white.” – Steve

I asked about a ‘scary’ underwater experience and you told me about your equipment. – Mike

“For me this item above was my most memorable scary experience. I remember being in a cave with 4 giant nurse sharks 15 feet long sleeping. They didn’t seem to be bothered by our presence and they are very docile normally. But my thoughts were if they woke up and were startled they could smash us up against the walls trying to get out of the cave that had a small opening. I couldn’t reach my hands around them, girth wise. I remember seeing my first Tiger shark. They can be aggressive but it wasn’t. Same for a hammerhead shark first encounter, in the Philippines. He came right up from the depths headed right for us, got close enough to see us, about 25′ away, then turned around and headed back down. Since then all hammerheads have been very benign. In Myanmar near Thailand the liveaboard I was on did a shark feed on the bottom near the boat, on that same dive I took off on my own afterwards and one of the sharks was circling me, at first 100 feet away then each time a smaller circle. It was getting on my nerves. Finally I took off after him. He went away for a while but came back. I headed to the boat. Afterwards I think he was looking for another handout like at the shark feed. – Steve”

You crossed the Pacific in what must have been an epic experience of a lifetime and you gave no indication of what it was like to be alone in the middle of the ocean in the dark of night or what you thought about in all that time with no sight of land. No ‘big’ thoughts? I would think that it would be a surreal, religious experience for most people. The thought of crossing the Pacific is pretty intimidating to me, but of course, I’m not familiar with boats or big water. I was looking forward to reading about that experience, but you really didn’t write much about it. –Mike

“The big ocean – It seems daunting 3,000 miles when you think about it before you take off and first starting out. Then you go about your items you have to do day by day, one day at a time. Pretty soon you’re 15 days out and 1/2 way across. If things go well not much of a problem. For us we had several days of washing machine action before and after the equator as I remember now. You get pretty tired of this after a while, then you get upset or mad about it after several days. When is this going to stop? Finally it does for a while at least. Then it starts up again. I try fishing to take my mind off being thrown around a bit. But no fish, no birds, just lots of wind and waves from the side usually. Some come into the cockpit, you get wet, change clothes, think about that new cockpit enclosure you’re going to get made at the next stop. But, the washing machine action continues. We’re in a small boat, 40′ LOD, especially when you think about how big the ocean is. We get on the net (SSB radio) and talk to others and how conditions are there versus what we have. – Steve”

“The size of the ocean is really impressive. You realize how insignificant you are. When we get strong winds you realize the power of the ocean. We’ve been lucky enough not to experience more than about 40+ knots and I’d prefer not to experience more than that! Part of our crossings involve a lot of planning. We really watch the weather before we leave and if there are strong winds expected, we delay departure. You never want to have a deadline because you want choices about when you leave. Think about driving along in your car at 5-7 miles an hour, sometimes even 3-4! If you always thought about your total miles, it would get very discouraging. The time usually does go by quickly. You’ve got sunrises, sunsets, moonlight at night or no moon at all, sometimes incredible stars when it’s really dark, and dark clouds with squalls coming that even show up on the radar. Sails need adjusting, the windvane may need some adjusting, check the radar at night, check the electronic charts for course and other vessels out there (usually nothing), and trying to get some sleep when off watch. Fixing meals is usually a challenge. (you can never have enough non-skid) – Judy”

I think everyone reading your blog, which is well-done, would like to hear about fewer factoids and more about your personal experiences and emotions. And by experiences, I don’t mean about where you bought groceries. For example, was “the regulator story” a life-threatening experience or a temporary inconvenience? I couldn’t tell. What do you think the sudden appearance of a big white shark would have on your psyche? Will you head back to the boat or accept the presence of the shark and enjoy it as much as your nerves allow? – Mike

I don’t mean to criticize at all – just saying that your readers would like to put themselves in your lucky shoes, sailing around the world, so would appreciate your expressing more enthusiasm for those experiences that have special meaning or more emotional involvement. I have a feeling that you’re having some “Wow!” experiences, but you’re too modest to express yourself with much emotion. – Mike

I assume that I’ve gotten all your blog posts, so I’m surprised that I still don’t know anything about New Zealand after your being there for a good amount of time now. Any hiking in the mountains? Skiing on the glaciers? Scenic photos? – Mike

” We do have some photos of three kiwi getting released into the wild from yesterday the 14th. I will put some of those on the blog. Not much hiking at this point. Working on the boat, helping other boats and such. Skiing is out of season, think summer but not that hot. One boater couple is going to stay the winter so they can go skiing. Lately some rain or sprinkles more than we would like but the grass is still green, usually grass is brown now they say from the locals. NZ pictures I hope to put more in.” – Steve

We’re having the strangest ‘winter’ ever, I think. One meteorologist called it Junuary. Week after week the snow base gets thinner at the ski areas. Snoqualmie has been closed for weeks. Spokane just closed down – said there’s virtually no snow there. Meanwhile they’re getting slammed by snowstorms in the East. The Arctic cold is being pulled south, which will probably accelerate the loss of the Arctic ice cap as warmer air replaces the cold.

I went skiing once and left after one run since the snow was so hard. We’re now about two months into the season and there is no snow forecast in sight and the snow level is up near the summit of Shuksan. The Baker Ski Area has a couple bunny runs open. Right after Xmas there was about 70” on Pan Dome. The Twin Sisters mts. look like mid-summer – virtually no snow or ice to be seen. We’ve had highs in the mid to high 50’s for a couple weeks and the next week going forward will be the same.

The eagles came late and left early. The salmon wandered up the coast of BC looking for cooler waters so the runs were late. Haven’t heard about the numbers. I’m working non-stop on my photog, so the only positive is that I’m not taking photos (for the last two months!) so that helps in catching up with the thousands of unedited photos I still need to work on or delete. – Mike

Steve D.




1. Patricia Dauzenroth - March 6, 2015

This sounds scary uncle Steve.

Cissy - March 15, 2015

Hi Judy and Steve,

Just wondering how you are? I have been watching the storm that headed your way.

Thinking of you.
Cissy Adams

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