Sunday, March 2, 2014

Underwater Metal Detecting turns up a gold ring!

I have been metal detecting for many years above the water and below. This year  I decided to buy a new underwater detector. A Minelab Excalibur, arguably one of the best underwater detectors out there. My biggest problem, I bought it in September just as the diving season here in Connecticut starts to wind down. There's nothing worse than having a new toy and a limited amount of time to put it to use.  We have a favorite local dive site here where we do much of our "everyday diving"   It has a typical New England bottom, muddy flats with a few rocks and tires to break up the monotony. It turns up several old bottles a year but  being in a local harbor there's no telling what might turn up. I decided to try out the metal detector and see what popped up. I was thinking a brass cleat from a boat, maybe an old coin lost by a fisherman, or maybe an old bronze prop from a boat! but having detected for years, I knew the far more likely scenario was that I would find a bunch of bottle caps and pop tops, Bringing them to shore to be deposited in the trash. 

After quite a long swim, I turned on the detector and began my hunt. Five minutes of fiddling around brought me to my first good target. Sounds good I thought, so I began to dig... and the mud billowed up, completely obscuring my view. By touch I located my target, holding on and waiting for the mud to settle, my first target  was a ring! But wait, was it a brass ring or gold? I couldn't tell. I was so excited I couldn't believe that my first find was what looked like a ring! I put it in my finds bag and continued on for about ten more minutes until I found my next target.  looking in the bag, I couldn't see the ring. It must have fallen out as I made my snail trail across the bottom! I can't believe this I thought,  I can't surface and tell my friends that I found a gold ring, then lost it right away! The abuse I would take for that would be legendary. "sure you found a gold ring... Did the leprechaun come and steal it back for his pot of gold?" ugh.
I decided to try and follow my trail back, hoping to find it laying on the muddy bottom. Not having any idea where I had been, I started the search. thirty minutes later, I found the ring with the detector again. Needless to say, the ring came back to shore gripped tightly in my hand. 
After cleaning it up, the pitting and wear show that it was obviously on the bottom a very long time.  One of my favorite finds ever, it makes me wonder who lost it?  A fisherman tending lobster traps? I'll never know.. 

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia

One site thats on just about everyones bucket list! Clear water, Huge amounts of sea life,  and all around great diving. I recommend that you spend your time here on a live-aboard dive charter like The Spirit of Freedom. Its the best way to fully experience this UNESCO world heritage area.  

Potato Cod up close and personal
Cod Hole is a great site to get up close and personal with large potato cod. They are very friendly when you have food for them. Its fun when you can get inches away from a 5' long fish!

Mantas are a common site on the reef. there were times when we had 3-6 of them in site at once. 16' wingspans are not uncommon either!

Caverns full of interesting sea life In this particular cavern,a return at night led us to a huge school of small fish each with a round luminescent spot that glowed brightly in the dark. It was like Watching the stars swirl overhead.

6' Olive sea snakes were quite friendly at times too! A bit too friendly if you ask me. Knowing that they have a bite that's one of the most poisonous in the world, and trying to capture them on film while they slithered over and around me, made the hair on the back of my neck stand up!

Minke whales are a fantastic sight. we heard them often during our dives, but were only able to see them on the surface. Only two divers got to see them, George and I, and only because on the last dive of the week, we stayed in the water after everyone got out. Hanging on the anchor line at the bow of the boat, we were able to observe two whales and a shark circling us for twenty minutes! It pays to be the last out of the water.

Product Review: XSscuba's Dry 5 Dry gloves

As a New England diver, one of the most difficult dilemmas we face is staying warm when we dive. The water can be quite chilly with water temps range from mid 30's- mid 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A good pair of gloves can make a big difference in a day of diving. I have recently been diving with XSScuba's Dry 5 Gloves A semi dry glove that keeps my hands warm during the coldest dives.

The gloves are reasonably priced, $63.99 at my local dive shop. they are made with neoprene rubber with a double cuff system that tucks under its self to limit the exchange of water inside the glove. If you look in the first photo above, you can see that the first cuff is tucked under itself, creating a semi waterproof seal. Once that is tucked you can roll the top cuff over it to keep it sealed. During the dive my hands stay nice and warm, and even as i get out of the water I notice that my hands are still warm, a pretty unusual  thing for New England diving.

The only downside with the gloves that I see is that being able to tuck the second gloves cuff under itself can be difficult. When one hand is wearing a glove it is a bit of a challenge to tuck the second cuff under with a gloved hand.  Not a huge problem when you have a buddy who can help, but it can be a bit frustrating when you are trying to do it yourself.

I like to recommend these gloves to people because I know it will make for longer and more enjoyable dives. Its very nice to get out of the water after a chilly dive and realize that your hands are the warmest part of your body. I think this keeps you feeling warmer all over and will increase the length of your dive season!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

    Thanks for coming to see whats new and exciting in A Dive Life. Stay tuned for some exciting posts in the next few weeks. I am planning on adding a lot of new content. Tips on streamlining dive gear set-up. A review of the Boston Sea Rovers 60th annual clinic next week.  Some of my own photos from amazing dive sites around the world. I can't wait to start sharing the great experiences I've had diving with you!