Archive for May, 2009

h1

Fay Bainbridge SP, Next Step Conditioning, and Cove 2 Diving

May 19, 2009

Tuesday, we decided to take a day trip over to Bainbridge Island via the land route around the west side of Puget Sound.  Our motivation for the drive was to find Coach Izzy at Next Step Conditioning.  We knew him from Scubaboard and Facebook and knew that since we were this close we needed to stop in and see him.  In addition to his website, he also has a blog we like to follow!

When we got to Bainbridge Island, we had trouble finding Next Step Conditioning.  More accurately, we had trouble believing the GPS because the driveway led back into the woods, we thought, to someone’s home, we disregarded it and drove down to Fay Bainbridge State Park to visit there, take some pics, and look up the address to Next Step again.

At Fay Bainbridge State Park, we got some shots of the picturesque driftwood all over the beach.

Afterwards, we circled back around and looked for Next Step again.  This time we opted to drive up the driveway…. way back up the driveway.  It was very cool back in there with a few residences, as well as the Next Step building.  We poked around trying to find our way in, and Coach Izzy stuck his head out window and asked if he could help us, then suddenly exclaimed… PENNY… BOB!!! Well… I guess we were in the right place!!

Coach knew that I’d talked about a sore problematic shoulder, so he volunteered to take a look at it and worked me over pretty good.

He worked me over and left me bruised, but much of the previous strain was relieved!  Thanks Coach!  Before we left, we scheduled a return visit to work out with Izzy on Saturday.

We took the ferry from Bainbridge Island back to downtown Seattle, so that we could get back to Bob’s in time to prep for the evening dive.  The ferry was a cool experience and dumped us right downtown.  If someone lived over on the Island, this would be a great way to get back and forth to work without driving around Puget Sound!  In fact, just park on the island and walk around or use public transportation once you reach Seattle.

In the evening after Bob got off work, we headed over to Cove 2 and met up with Colleen, as well as Marc.  Colleen and I weren’t up to diving, so Penny, Marc, and Bob took a tour of the Cove, much to Penny’s delight.  Colleen and I shared coffee and many stories!

Penny, Marc, Bob

You can see in the pic one of the people ferry’s that shuttles back and forth between West Seattle and Downtown Seattle.

Another Great Day!!

h1

Redondo Beach Diving & a Brief Visit to Snoqualmie Falls

May 18, 2009

We stayed at Bob Bailey’s house in Federal Way, about 1/2 way between Seattle and Tacoma.  His place is known as “Hotel Bob” because of his hospitality toward visiting divers.  Bob is reknowned on many of the scuba forums, and goes by Grateful Diver or NWGratefulDiver.  With over 2000 dives in the Puget Sound area, he is a great guide and source of information for the area!  Visit the link to his website to see the cool things in the PNW!!

On Monday, Bob took us a couple of miles from his place to one of the dives he does the most… Redondo!

Redondo is an easy beach entry, even at low tide.  Here’s a shot looking back toward shore from the end of the public pier.

Bob Bailey

Penny &  Colleen

After the dives, Bob had to run to a dive class he was taking, so Colleen navigated us over to the North Bend Ski area.

This was a beautiful area for driving around, just 30 or so miles east of Seattle.  We got out and did some walking around, marveling that there was still snow on the ground in places that kept a couple of roads closed that we wanted to try.

On our way back to the Seattle area, it started to rain, but Colleen thought we might like the Snoqualmie Falls area.  WOW!! Was she ever right!  Beautiful falls!!

Penny and Colleen on the observation deck at the Falls

So many diverse things to do made for some full days!!

h1

Seattle’s Pike Place Market and Aquarium

May 17, 2009

After arriving into Seattle late on Saturday night, our first full day on Sunday was one to catch our bearings.  Marc and Dawn called to see if we would want to go up to Pike Place Market with them and walk around.  That sounded great, so we took them up on it!

Pike Place Market and Aquarium

Overlooking Puget Sound and the Cruise Ship terminal from Pike’s Market

After grabbing a bite to eat, we headed over to the Seattle Aquarium and took in the many marine wonders of the Pacific Northwest.  A great display and layout to the place too!  Unique displays that made the experience a good one!

Seattle Aquarium

After the aquarium, we cruised over to West Seattle where Marc showed us one of the local diving sites called Cove 2.

We know that Marc and Dawn had originally planned on laying down flooring in their house, but spent the day with us instead!  Thanks guys!!  It was a great time!

h1

Scuba Diving at White Star Quarry

May 3, 2009

Well… the dive to drive ratio was pretty low today, but despite the many hours of driving, it was great to get back in the water.

The last time I’d dove was on a cave diving trip last September when I ripped my drysuit neck seal. A week later, our friend Richard passed away in a cave system we had been doing the previous week, so that kinda sucked the wind out of my sails and we canceled a cave diving trip back to that cave at Thanksgiving, and Penny’s much needed surgery kept us out of a trip we were going to do over Christmas.

So, incentive to get my drysuit neckseal repaired didn’t really happen until we setup a trip to Seattle. While I can’t say that I’ve gotten the “dive bug” back, I will say that experiencing White Star quarry today felt like the early days of diving when I first got certified there.

I’d forgotten how beautiful White Star can be, especially when the visibility is “primo”!! Going into the block house and being able to see the bright green glow down the tunnel at the bottom of the crusher was pretty damned awesome. I hid my light most of the time because it was so bright as we decended down the tunnel. Once into the bottom of the crusher, we slowly poked our way around the bottom. I’d only seen the viz that good a couple of other times!

After we ascended out of the crusher, I took Penny on a mini-tour of the north side of the quarry where many that don’t frequent the quarry get to go. One of the things on the tour was the police car. While covered in a my thicker layer of muck than I last remembered, I decided to try my old game of climbing through the back seat. Being extremely slow, my goal was to generate as little silt and disturbance as possible. Once I got through, there was some moss floating around, but all in all, I was tickled with how relatively clear I’d left it. We continued on through several of the “tailing piles” from the old quarry operations. I’d always referred to these as “the dunes” ’cause they help give the quarry quite a bit of character!

Finally we headed back around and finished our dive before a nice slow and controlled ascent to the surface. Despite my sinuses and a couple of averted “reverse blocks”, we got back to the ladder unscathed.

It was like riding a bike… and the remarkable part was we were saying that the gear felt a lot lighter since the last time we used it, so the workouts must be paying off. In fact, I was chuckling at how much room I have in my Weezle undergarments now…. I could almost fit Penny inside with me now….

I took White Star for granted all those years when I lived 15 minutes away, but even though it’s over 3 hours away now, it’s still just as great a place.

There were only a couple of other divers there when we arrived, but they were leaving by the time we got back up from the dive. Except for the fishermen, we had the water to ourselves!

Looking forward to more diving this year! It’s a heckuva lot of fun diving with something where things are very intuitive, casual, and relaxing… I’m a lucky guy!

This is the highest I’ve ever seen the quarry. It used to be a 5 foot drop off the top of the rock face here.

Ain’t she cute?

Obligitory Shrink wrap shot

Hee Hee! Hee Hee!

h1

Cycling 17 Miles to Loveland

May 2, 2009

Now that we have a regular exercise program, we feel that we can use cycling as more of a relaxing endeavor… more as stress relief and enjoyment of the outdoors.  Saturday was no different.  We had a productive day around the condo for most of the day, then headed out for a relaxing 17 mile ride down to Loveland and back, leaving from our favorite starting point in the Kingsview Industrial Park.

We chatted a bit with couple riding a tandem bike.  This looks like something that Penny and I need to try sometime.