Dive #6 - Rich Torkington's Dive Log
Copyright 2010 Rich Torkington Mesa, Arizona

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Bottom Time to Date:

3h
55m


Dive Info:

Dive Start:
2:00PM

Bottom Time:
15 minutes

Maximum Depth:
26 feet

Safety Stop:
n/a

Beginning Air:
n/r

Ending Air:
n/r

Weather Conditions:
Overcast rain

Surface Conditions:
Fast current

Surface Water Temperature:
68F

Bottom Water Temperature:
68F

Visibility:
2-3 feet
6
TITLE
*
Aug. 24,
1997
SALT RIVER RECREATION #2
MESA, ARIZONA
RIVER SHORE DIVE
 
Mercedes (buddy), also Linda and Myron
We dove using Myron's tanks and weights
Rich
All that was left after this dive
Photo from the web 
Dive Journal: This was to be a fun weekend dive close to home. It didn't turn out too fun.

The dive plan was to swim upcurrent as far as physically possible, then drift back on the shore side, ending up in a slackwater lagoon at this site. Loot from thousands of Salt River tubers has a way of collecting in the lagoon, and we were planning to see what treasures could be found.

Merecedes and I started out the dive as planned. The current was amazingly strong, especially for me as an inexperienced diver. We gripped onto river rocks to stay anchored. Visibility was poor as we fought our way upriver a few dozen yards. It was easy to lose sight of Mercedes in the murk. I had several interesting encounters with bottom-dwelling catfish, who seemed surprised to see me in their domain.

When we could go no further, we released from the rocks and drifted down river and into the lagoon area. There was an assortment of much varied garbage on the river bed floor: beverage cans, baseball caps, towels, sunglasses, etc., all covered with layers of algae and silt. Once in the calmer waters, we hunted around a bit from side to side and around in circles. This manuveuring must have disoriented us some.

Very shortly, I noticed a stronger tug through the water, and then noticed our depth at only about 6'. We motioned to each other to surface in order to check out our position. This act alone took us another 30 feet downriver and landed us squarely onto a flat of river rock in 2 feet of seethingly fast water. Behind us, the water cascaded into a 1/4 mile of turbulent rapids through a section of large boulders! Apparently, we had managed to get on the wrong side of the current flow!

Fighting to hold our position was a natural reaction, but somewhat pointless, as we tried to dig in to the river rock bottom. My adrenelin was definitely pumping, and Mercedes and I quickly yelled out our options. A perpendicular move toward the shallows was one option, but we apparently could not make that before going over the rapids. The alternative was a cross current move into the deeper water and through the main channel of the rapids.

We chose the latter, thinking that the probablity of a hard collision with the rocks was less likely. During our frenzied finning across the current, I lost one of my Mares fins [which is unfortunately negatively buoyant.] Careening down and over the rapids was an exhilirating experience - if I were a cat I'd have certainly lost one of my lives here. Mercedes yelled at me once to better inflate my BC and to keep my reg in. Crossing the main river channel in the current, we eventually both clung to a boulder halfway into the rapids, breathing heavily, and again surveyed our options.

By this time, Linda and Myron noticed that something was not right, and both had started on their way down the river bank to lend assistance. Mercedes and I eventually decided that the rapids looked re-crossable from our spot, and so we dove back into the currents. We finally returned to the shore side, but another 1/4 mile downstream. It was a long hike back with all our gear, minus one fin!

As a recounting - the river currents were a little too strong for my experience level. This dive also highlighted a need for me to become a better navigator. The dive shook Mercedes and me up pretty well, too, and Myron and I actually made a very brief repeat dive the same afternoon (getting "back on the horse" per se).

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Dive
Info:
Fins:
Mares Avanti Quattro
Computer:
PADI tables
Tank:
80 ft3 Al
BCD:
Myron's
Dive Type:
RIVER SHORE
Body of Water:
Salt River
Mask:
U S Divers
Protection:
3mm full (Myron's)
Regulator:
Myron's
Weight:
18 lb
Water Type:
Fresh
Video Equipment:
None