For many people in the USA and the UK the only diving that is available to them is quarry diving. I have to admit that I have been lucky to avoid this type of diving for quite some time. My first quarry dive was when I was in Abaco doing my training for my Cave Diver Course. Brian took me to Crossing Rocks Quarry so that we could practice some of the skills that I would require for the cavern and cave parts of the course. I thought this would be my first and probably last quarry dive for some time, however I was wrong.
An opportunity arose to take part in an Open Water Course in a quarry, and obviously I jumped at it. There are a couple of reasons as to why I wanted to take part in assisting on a course. The first is really a selfish reason, I have just purchased a new wetsuit and I wanted to try it out and find my proper weighting in it. The second is that I am helping to teach a course in an environment that isn’t that too forgiving, and obviously having an extra pair of hands and eyes will make her job easier.
The quarry is set in a idyllic location. There is lots of parking and there are tables that you can use to set your kit up on. I was quite excited about trying my new wetsuit and diving in the quarry. We kitted up, and made our way to the water. We had quite a bit to walk until the water became deep enough to do a weight check.
The visibility was about 3-5ft (1-1.5m) and this made conducting a dive very difficult. I have to admit that it has been the worse visibility I have ever been in. When we descended to 33ft (10m) the visibility improved dramatically. It almost quadrupled in distance, but the unfortunate corollary was that the water temperature dropped by the same factor. Surface water temp was about 23°C (73°F), the lowest my dive computer recorded was 4°C (39°F). BRRRR!!!!! This was the coldest dive I had been on. My wetsuit kept me nice and warm, but my 3mm gloves quickly cooled and my hands started hurting.
The next day we would go back and complete the Open Water course. Instead of entering where we did, we chose another point for entry so that the walk until entering the water almost non-existent. My BARE wetsuit worked out great though getting it off by myself was a little difficult, however by the end of the 4th dive I was able to get it off alone even if I had to jump around a little bit.
What did I think of quarry diving? I have to say that it wasn’t that enjoyable and that I have found a new appreciation of the crystal clear waters that I have here. The difference in temperatures also meant that the dive wasn’t that enjoyable, it was almost too hot at the surface but too cold at depth: my hands and cheeks really felt they cold. I did like the opportunity to dive in a controlled situation where the visibility was very poor, it has definitely made me more aware for my cave diving. Losing the line seems like something that I really want to avoid.