Lake Rawlings – Adv Open Water

While I’m still waiting for the pictures from my wedding photographer I guess I’ll post about this weekend instead. During my wedding, I got PADI Certified for Open Water Scuba. Well, not DURING the wedding but shortly afterwards. That means I could now buy scuba gear and go down to about 66 feet underwater. This weekend I got my Advanced Open Water PADI Certification. That means I can go down another 10 meters (99 feet). Not that this means much since once I’m in the water there’s nothing stopping me from going as far down as I want other than the risk of death or getting “the bends.”
Lake Rawlings is an old quarry in Virginia. They used to mine granite there until they hit an aquifier and it became a lake. Oops. Since it’s all granite though, there’s no silt so it has some of the best visibility you’ll see on the east coast between Maine and Florida. They even have fresh water clams to help keep it clear which somehow got there naturally from the aquafier. The place is really cool to dive at.

The fish are the coolest part. Since they don’t allow fishing, they’re really big including some trophy-size bass. The fish love to follow around divers since they’ve learned that divers == food. I had several come right up to my mask to look at me and one tried to nibble on my finger. There was one that I WISH I had a picture of. A turtle or something had taken a huge chunk out of it behind the dorsal fin when it was younger. It grew up just fine missing a bite-sized portion of it’s body. The fish weren’t it though. They stocked the lake with lots of things to look at and play with. An underwater basketball court, rings to swim through, wrecks, including a plane they sunk earlier this year. The sailboat from the movie “The Replacements” is still here from when they shot all the underwater scenes here. Water was in the 70s even now that it’s October. I hit my first thermocline here though. The water dropped like 15 degrees. You can be in the warm water, and reach down and your hard will be cold. Shoulda wore my gloves 🙂 People’s computers said that was 60s water. If that’s the case I can’t imagine how cold Lake Tahoe (40s) will be in February.

I had my first episode of extreme disorientation here as well. Going down at one point in an area with low visibility I had no points of reference. I was just following someone and it felt like we just kept turning left and going in tight circles. I started getting annoyed at the diver leader until I looked at my compass. We were going straight. Even when I had a focal point to look at I would have swore we were turning left quickly if my eyes didn’t say otherwise. My inner balance was completely screwed. Kinda scary. It was like when you get “the helicopters” when you’re drunk and feel like you’re spinning. It was even less enjoyable of a sensation when you are under 50′ of water.

Over all it was a great time. I learned underwater navigation, better bouyancy control, got to zoom around with a DPV (underwater scooter basically), see wrecks, and get cold 🙂 Some of the people from the dive shop took pictures and video but I didn’t bring anything. I was focusing on learning. If they send me any of the pictures I’ll post them. Now to just get my wife to let me take Nitrox and Dry Suit classes!


  1. gamerabaenre Said,

    October 13, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

    I hate that you had more dives and much better dives that I did this past week.. *sigh* But yeah, I’m going to get my advanced cert next month… who would have thought that I needed to keep up with you 😀

  2. Daehag Said,

    December 26, 2009 @ 12:50 pm


    I found your pm in Scubaboard today. Thanks again adding me as a friend.

    Long, long time ago, I liked to do Modeling. I remember I wanted to use very sharp knife just after use clipper to make clean cut. Tried to paint on it, but It was so hard to me, and I was really not good at coloring.

    Hope you have good holidays and let’s dive together sometime.

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