Sunday, July 31, 2011

Entry: Camping at Cataloochee

Had a great time this weekend camping with Sean, Betsy, and Heather up at the Cataloochee camp site in NC. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the scary-as-heck you're-all-gonna-die dirt roads that we took to get there. It's odd how they'd spend all that money to landscape dirt roads like that but not a single penny on guard rails to keep people from plummeting to their doom in their vehicles.

A panoramic shot of the mountains.

Heather (left), Betsy (middle), Sean (right).

Random wilderness shot.

Heather tending house in our tent. You can't rough it without your double-height queen-size inflatable bed!

As you can see, our tent didn't exactly fit on the "slab" that was apportioned for us so it kinda hung off the side.

A great shot of heather by the river (with a sunbeam bisecting her body).

The fire between my legs.

My trunk turned into a kitchen pantry.

Betsy showing us how it's done on the ol' Coleman grill. Those were some pretty awesome pancakes, too! (And sausage, and hash browns).

Panoramic shot of our campsite.

I was stalking Heather with my camera as she read by the river.

Our first real "wild animal". This elk is so wild that it has a collar.

Nobody would have ever believed me if I told them that I saw a golf cart made to look like a Hummer unless I had a picture of it.

Awwww. Betsy and Sean (as we begin our 8-10 mile hike).

Gandalf finds his staff.


WTH is this?? It perplexed us for a while until we accidentally destroyed it with Gandalf's staff.

This tree was awesome. Someone had hollowed out the base of it with fire. It had really good acoustics!

Just hopping along our merry way.

The bridge that was mysteriously broken in half.

Kinda looks like I'm walking the plank.

Sean trying to fix his beach chair with...wait for it....twine!

Awwww yeaaaahhh!! Dinner that evening consisted of potatoes cooked with carrots and onions, chicken breast, and corn-on-the-cob.

The dinner as it cooked.

Overall, the weekend was a raving success. I only suffered a bee sting, a sore knee, and some near-blisters on my feet. Looking very forward to the next outing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Entry: Diving Lake Jocassee

I completed my Level II ("advanced") checkout dives this weekend up at Lake Jocassee. Talk about a ton-o-fun!

I've attached images but I must warn you that they...well...they SUCK! This was my first time playing with my camera underwater and I can tell you now that I am completely ineffective with it. Firstly, I don't know how to handle the flash at all. Secondly, my camera has issues focusing at depth. And thirdly, I have yet to do anything to compensate for the light absorption (which is why everything under the water appears to be nasty and green).

A shot of the "dive boat". A big thanks goes out to Josh for letting us use this for our dives.

Put'in in.

A shot of the cliff adjacent to the dive site.

Random shot over the dive site. I think they said the site was called 'The Junkyard'. Makes sense considering what we saw down there.

Now, remember what I said about light absorption and the color green. EVERYTHING is green from here-on out since we were cruising at an average depth of 60-65 feet. The blurriness is from my simply being an incompetent photographer.

My dive buddy, Andrew, at the Tic-Tac-Toe table pondering his next move.


I think that everyone and their cousin had a sign down there.

My experimenting with the flash. Probably the ONLY clear picture in this entire set.

Andrew standing next to a mast of one of the sunken boats. Of course, the mast just happened to have a giant Jolly Roger flag on it and a plastic skeleton (which can be seen here).

Random picture of me.

Scary-as-hell picture of me.

This shot reminds me of that movie, 'The Fog' (the original...not that horrible remake). It's Andrew sitting on top of a boat hull.

Anyone who's read 'World War Z' will appreciate this.

A random floating drum.

There were a lot of cool things down there that I didn't get shots of. I REALLY wish I could have gotten shots of everyone on the motorcycle!

But all was not fun and games (and let this be a huge lesson to me). I suffered a pretty bad case of dehydration during these dives. I saw the symptoms the day before and tried to be diligent about handling it (bananas, water, no caffeine/sugar, etc) but failed miserably. The splitting headache started right about the time I got back to the surface and lasted for a few hours. This was accompanied by the obligatorily horrible case of nausea. I mention these details for two reasons....1) because I'm a dumb*ss and 2) for other people to learn from my mistakes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Entry: Diving the Edisto

So, I spent some time in the Edisto River yesterday with my dive gear. The purpose of the trip was to collect fossils and indian artifacts. The truth of the matter is that I spent the whole time fighting the current simply because I didn't have enough weight. I'm cool like that. :)

I was hoping that the visibility would be a bit better so I could play some with my underwater camera. I ended up getting more pictures on the surface than I did under the water given how murky it was.

The walkway to the dock.

More walkway to the dock.

Even MORE walkway to the dock. (Exciting...ain't it?)

View of the river from the dock. And no...I did not perform a slide entry although it was recommended.

More river.


Unfortunately, the owner of the tank on the opposite shore forgot it there and didn't realize it until we were packing up?

Just an idea of how murky it was. certainly don't do this kinda dive for the scenery.

Would you believe that this is actually a picture of the bottom taken at almost-point-blank range?


More murk.

I gotta say...I'm not too impressed with the durability of these ScubaPro fins. One little piece of plastic snaps and the whole thing is useless (unless you have an unlimited supply of tie-wraps like I did).

This dive actually reminded me of the time I spent in the Cooper River last week although the visibility in THAT river was much worse. I didn't end up finding anything but I continued learning lessons on what to and what NOT to do in different diving environments.