Dive Station Hemmoor
Well it's midday on day 3. We just had a fun 1 hr 3 min dive down to 20 metres to look at the old crushing works and a lorry parked there before a nice wall dive ascent to take in the scenery. Now it's time for lunch before returning to Kreidesee for a couple of afternoon dives.
I've had a wander around the store and the accommodation here and I have to say I am impressed. Got lots of photos so you can see for yourselves.
There is a fantastic well stocked store with good quality products, particularly for the DIR diver. Staff are busy but always quick to turn around fills and stay open until late so you can still get gas. The fill station set up itself is fantastic and raises the bar on standards quite high.
The accommodation is clean, highly maintained and equipped and a great place to chill out and socialise. Perfect for the travelling diver who can simply go next door for their gas.
Of course, I am biased. But I love the place. Have a look for yourselves...
Welcome to Dive Station Hemmoor
Front of the shop and loading/unloading area
The fill station
Well stocked shop
Spot on fill
The accommodation block
Accommodation block kitchen
Accommodation block twin bedroom
Accommodation block twin bedroom
Accommodation block bathroom
Accommodation block bathroom
Classroom also available for instructors or team training
Day 5 at Hemmoor
Well, it is now the morning of day 5 and I seem to have settled into a very agreeable pattern of diving, lazing around, followed by more diving then lazing around intermingled with eating amazing food and sleeping. It has given me time to reflect on the trip so far...
The dive duration increased for days 3 and 4. The quickest dive being 45 mins and the longest 1 hr 24 mins. Day 3 was a day of wall dives, as most have been during this trip. Unfortunately the visibility doesn't seem to have improved as the week has gone on and so spectacular sheer walls of the former quarry site are only able to be observed 3-4 metres either way. Nevertheless this has proved very effective at sharpening my skill of maintaining my depth in the water alongside a sheer wall which I notice seems to have the effect of fooling the diver and drawing them down deeper if they aren't paying attention.
For the second dive of the day Michael and I agreed we would do a similar dive again but this time work on some skills at the end. At the end of this dive we located the 11 metre platform and performed some managed ascents stopping at every 3 metres for a duration of 1 minutes. Once at 3 metres we would descend, again stopping at every 3 metres. We did this 3 times until both our sinuses told us to stop being silly. Managing ascents and stops was something I had struggled with at the end of my Rec 1 course but I now seemed to be getting the hang of it. I will admit to cheating now and again and going out of horizontal trim on the ascents as I found managing the gas in my suit and wing 10 times easier this way. I think I will adopt this technique when, after attempting to manage my buoyancy in horizontal trim, I feel I am starting to lose control. Hopefully with time the need to do this will reduce until I no longer need to do it at all. When not ascending directly in the water column and instead slowly ascending such as up a submerged quarry road or wall I am able to manage my buoyancy effectively whilst horizontal so I know I can do it. Something to work on for the future.
Day 4 saw an epic hike to entrance 5. Either this week of humping equipment around has increased my fitness a little bit or just caused me to man up, but either way I was finding the equipment more manageable out of the water and the long hike wasn't too demanding. Which made it even more humorous when a female walker walked past later huffing and puffing causing my buddy and I both to look at each other and shake our heads. Again, another wall dive was order of the day. This to be the most spectacular of all the walls and unfortunately again limited by the visibility. There was various remains of former quarry constructions, albeit minor bits of concrete and pipework but that is the sort of thing that gets my juices flowing so I enjoyed seeing that. My more experienced buddy chose to park himself on the outside of me, positioning me closer to the wall. I noticed that my already suspect frog kick was disturbing some of the silt and so adopted a modified flutter kick for the duration of the dive and will save the frog kick for flatter terrain. After exactly 1 hour in the water we performed a managed ascent with stops at every 3 metres (more for practice than deco) and casually popped up with head and mask just ever so slowly exposing itself out of the water. I seemed to really be getting the hang of this managed ascent business and reckoned from someone on the surface I must have looked like a Navy Seal calmly peaking out the water to view his target. That's how my mind works anyway! Reality was very quickly slapped back into me with the 12 mile camel ride back to base-camp (Translate as 300 metre hike back to the van)
How we must have looked to others... maybe
For the second dive of the day Michael obviously felt I was getting far too comfortable and gave me a primary light to get on with. To be honest, using a primary light in itself wasn't a great challenge. What was a problem was figuring out what to do with it and its lead when time came to dump gas or manage other equipment. It was just a bit more task loading which gave me something else to juggle but proved to be a hugely valuable tool in the poor visibility. Without even thinking we both projected our lights spots onto the wall next to each other so we knew we were both still in position without having to constantly look. We could casually check each was okay with the circular okay?/confirm signal
. This allowed us at times to instead adopt a one-behind-the-other formation knowing we could easily signal to each other which saved the irritating fin clashes from frog kicking each other. Despite the poor vis caused by sediment the lights didn't really help with illumination of objects as the ambient light was already quite high, but for team communication... perfect!
Sadly no more photos. Might try to get some more tomorrow, my final diving day, for some memories but I am trying to concentrate more on skills and learning as this is the first time I have been let loose on the diving community since completing my Rec 1 course.
Time to put my feet up again. I like this lifestyle! ;-)
Day 5 - Der Rüttler
Well... what a fantastic dive
. Michael navigated and directed us straight back to the 'Der Rüttler' or gravel shaker. This is a great concrete construction with a tipper lorry parked on the top and a large metal hopper with a hole in one side at the bottom.
At the moment I seem to have a particular interest for man made constructions be them wartime bunkers, Victorian engineering, shipwrecks or underwater buildings rather than reefs, walls and wildlife. If you are the same then Der Rüttler is probably of interest to you. As I was also trying to work on my skills I used the opportunity to explore as a way of practising positioning using helicopter turns, back kicks and generally manoeuvring myself where I want to be and back out again. During my travels I found a sign which read:
Zutritt nur für mit glieder.
Die Kids vom Heimbachort"
As an exercise I noted this down in my wetnotes and found it surprisingly easy. I guess because by writing your arms remain in the correct position. I had a rough idea what the sign meant from my fragmented secondary school German lessons but translated it reads:
With entry restricted to members.
The Kids from Heimbachort"
Clearly a bit of German humour from whoever placed it there on the railing! :-D
Dropping down off the edge of Der Rüttler there is a very cool and large swim through which lets you pop out the top of the hopper at the back of the truck.
Navigating our way back we felt the warmth of the thermocline instantly and followed the banks back having fun by wiggling our way over, under and to the side of the many trees here until we met 3 or 4 silt ploughs who I initially thought were in a panic as they were finning wildly. They then shot off at warp factor nine like a UFO in the New Mexico desert leaving behind a truly awful silt out reducing our visibility to zero. So then another skill, the diving equivalent of instrument flying. We very slowly made our way through, negotiating the trees and I have to say I quite enjoyed it. Something about having zero visibility and knowing there are obstructions made it pretty exciting. We emerged out the other side after a few minutes and found our way back to the road frog kicking our way past the other assembled divers at the entry point at less than a metres depth to finish with our trademark SEAL team exit.
If you can only do one dive at this site I recommend Der Rüttler. Have a look at the diagram and see for yourself. There is more to see than I was limited to, including an air pocket, as it extends well beyond the limit of my certification.
An unexpected request - Hoodies
It seems the German tech diving community likes our hooded tops. They were never intended for general sale but having had a number of requests for them I have created an online store with our current design and will create some new ones too. If you like the look of them and fancy wearing something unique rather than the usual agency/manufacturers clothing on and off the dive site you can now order them via our online shop in a variety of colours and sizes: Kent Research & Exploration