31 December 2007

Ice diving vs. writing books

I don't tend to spend a lot of time underwater this time of year like I used to. Heck, ten years ago Doug Welsch and I would grab the chain saw, cut a big triangle in the ice of Lake 16 in Allegan County and jump in!

Looking back that was a bit crazy, but...we were a lot younger then, too. I guess the worst part about it was there's just one way out -- the same way you went in. Lose your way, and you die. No questions. Even worse than a typical shipwreck.

Not only that, but Doug and I used to do it with just the two of us, which was sort of stupid. The prescribed methed of ice diving is to have two divers in the water, two safety divers (the 2nd team) and one surface tender.

The two divers in the water are tethered to each other, and then to a line leading to the hole. The tender keeps the line in his hand secured to a stake which we used to pound through the ice and then put a cotter pin through so it can't be pulled out.

If the team in the water lost the line, they were taught to surface to the ice and stay put. The tender would feel the slack and deploy the 2nd team with a slightly longer line. That team would go straight out and scribe a circle with their line, hopefully sweeping up the lost divers on the way. We practiced this drill but never had to use it, thank God!

These days, my winter Sunday afternoons are spent putting the finishing touches on my first book. It's called, "FOR THOSE IN PERIL: Shipwrecks of Ottawa County, Michigan". This book started out as a database of local shipwrecks, but when fleshed out, began to resemble a book. "What the heck", I thought, "I wonder if anyone would actually like to read this?"

So, watch for it in 2008. And let me know if you'd like a copy. it'll probably sell for about $14.99.

No comments: