It's hard to pass up rotten ice diving. It's more fun to play in and on than dive under. This deep into the ice diving season I've seen about all the ice diving I care to but being creative with soft ice is fun.
My regular crew has been jumping ice every weekend since the lakes skinned over in December. I've made it out many times but I've had other distractions. I've been diving ice since 2003, I think, so with 10 seasons of ice and maybe 150 ice dives I don't mind missing a few here and there.
The one thing I always make time for is Ice In and Ice Out. Last year it warmed so fast the ice pulled away from shore and was gone before the next weekend.
This year is great. The ice is crap but it's not melting in the cold. I expect to go out next weekend and play on it again.
We cut the hole as usual but the ice is so poor it melts out and gets lumpy within an hour or so. We measure it at 16 inches but it can barely hold the weight of the gear sled. I estimate that at 400 pounds. The sled becomes a boat for 20 feet while we ferry it from shore to ice strong enough to hold the 400 odd pounds. It takes 3 guys with grimacing looks to push it up onto the better ice and return it to shore without swamping it.
It's an hour or so later and we are mostly just playing in the water and ice. We chop at the ice and it candles into long thin spears. I'll show a picture later but for now that's what's filling in most of the hole. You may be wondering what happened to my sunglasses. Well, it's a short story. I put my head under and the ice broke the frame and the lens popped out. One lens is still better than nothing so I make due.
Joe and I have a good time playing in the hole while Trinity and Popo try and get some serious diving done. Joe and I don't stop Popo so the yellow line is going to a diver while Terry tends and Robert is the rescue diver if needed. Sure we goof off a lot but we take the divers' needs seriously and if they throw my tank into the hole, I'd be after Popo in a minute or less with Robert and Terry tending and Joe backing me up.
Sometimes, everyone is in the hole and we are splashing around like children. That's not so bad. I've said it before but if you cut a hole in a frozen lake and you need to take turns playing in it, you have the best friends.
Ok, about now you may wonder why I'm still sitting in the hole. It's weightless. Standing on the ice for hours is tiresome. The water is 36 degrees and the air about the same. So I don't get cold and weightless is better.
When ice melts it gets porous more than it gets thinner. When it freezes it gets thicker but melting it gets weaker but not much thinner. The below photo shows ice from below and how it's getting spongy. In winter this would be as smooth as glass but now it's cut deeply with holes.
Last bit is a video of what it's like to dive in and around this ice hole. The video is about 4:45 so its a little long but I cut as much out as I could. If you find something dull jump forward 20 seconds and something will happen. Enjoy and I'll put up a pot luck post soon that has some Arrowhead video and other good bits that don't have enough content to stand on their own.
We expect the ice to weaken and allow for a larger swimming pool to play with so you're going to get one more of these, but this is the last post on ice diving for the year that I expect. I have a bike ride Saturday and then more ice on Sunday so we'll see if either is worth a show and tell.
I owe you pictures of candled ice.