So, a short time ago, my friends and I did a shake out dive in Lake Okanagan. One had been out of the water for about a year, the other was a very experienced diver who hadn’t been in the water for about 15 years. Everyone was confident in their gear, and familiar with the principles of diving and we set up a time to meet and got to it. We choose a calm spot with low boat traffic and low to nil current to do it, by the Kelowna side of the bridge.
There’s a few things to keep in mind when you conduct these kinds of dives:
- talk to everyone first, and get an idea of where they are skill wise, some people have great memory, others may need to do some reading
- ensure everyone has equipment that works, and that they’re still familiar with it, and test it before you get in the water
- pick a tame dive area, a sheltered area with no current or hazards is ideal
- keep the dive plan simple, 12m/40′ max depth or less, easy navigation, no special equipment required
- do a full kit check before you slip under the surface, and monitor the divers for any issues
- keep it short and simple, air consumption may be an issue, so plan a short dive
Our dive went great. Vis by the bridge was great, somewhere in the 6m to 8m range, and we maxed out at 12m down. It was a short dive, only 19 minutes, but that was enough to get everyone comfortable in the water again. We found some interesting debris, explored around a rubble pile from the old bridge and did a few basic skills like mask clearance and buoyancy. We also saw a few fish, a couple looked like freshwater sculpins, and some interesting plant life as well. Unfortunately, we didn’t locate any of the freshwater mussels that make the lake home.
Our next dives will be more interesting, as the lake has a compliment of wrecks, a tonne of Ford Model T’s that were dumped ages ago and more, so keep reading! Don’t forget to follow Cold Water Diver on Facebook for updates and links to diving related online content. Check out Ocean Tides as well, our official online shop for the coming season!