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Aquawoman Dive 1995  By Janice Raber

Some divers arrived at Captree Boat Basin in Suffolk County, Long Island, on Saturday night, traveling as far away as Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, to partici¬pate in the 15th Annual Aqua- Woman Dive. This traditionally all women event, is a spin-off activity promoted by the Long Island Diver's Association. Every year we gather to dive on a wreck off the South Shore of Long Island. This year's dive would be on the U.S.S. San Diego lying at a depth range between 65 and 110 fsw.
This 15th Anniversary year was special for several reasons. We were diving off the Research Vessel "Wahoo", which was the vessel used for the very first Aqua-Woman expedition and this year would be totally female, captain, crew and divers. While our famous Captain, Janet Beiser, claims the Aqua-Woman dive is a form of reverse discrimination, we protest that we are not really making any kind of a "protest" with this women thing anymore. 15 years ago that may have been the case, but now the only state¬ment being made is to have an enjoyable day without worrying who's around while we change from bathing suits into dry clothes.


Loading gear in the warm, drizzling, August rain is not a ton of fun, but meeting new people and sharing stories has a way of diverting your attention from soggy sneakers and sticky T-shirts. One by one we staked our claim to bunks and drifted off to sleep as the "Wahoo" gently rocked on the incoming tide.
It was barely 5:45 a.m. when the chatter of voices and clank¬ing of tanks on the stern, woke us up. The drizzle persisted as the rest of the divers arrived and loaded gear aboard. Caroline Swift's perky cheerfulness filled in for the absent sunshine and managed to brighten the day for those of us who are somewhat less than exuberant first thing in the morning.

Two hours later, and twelve miles out of Fire Island Inlet, Captain Janet expertly pinpointed the mooring on the wreck of the San Diego. Mates, Sally Wahrmann, Mary Artale and Mitzi D' Alelio, skillfully prepared the vessel for diving. 1 wish 1 could report that every thing following went smoothly that day, but the intermittent rain, the steadily increasing Northeast wind, the swift current and the seven foot seas, did not make for the most pleasant dive experi¬ence. (I swear they looked like seven foot waves to me and those who provided break¬fast for the fish would agree!) Other estimates on the seas were 2 to 3 (crew and 4 to 5 (strong stomach bubble watchers). Even though the vis¬i bi Ii ty on the bottom was reported at 15 feet, Michele DePew brought up a two
pound lobster and Paula Jerman re¬trieved a weight belt, lost by some unfortunate un¬known on a previ¬ous day.
With the weather continu¬ing to deteriorate rapidly, everyone except the guy, voted to forego the second dive and head back to shore. Wait just a minute! Back up! Full astern! What guy you ask? Where did he come from? A stowaway? This was sup¬posed to be all women! Well, we were already out to sea and sud¬denly there he was! (Sporting a devilish grin on his face I might add!) Who was this lucky mystery mer-man? Maybe he was just a figment of our imaginations. . . the mind can play tricks when cast about on rough seas for a period of time. His identity shall remain a mystery, as we've sworn an oath of secrecy.
During the ride back to the dock, we probably gained a few pounds eating the big spread for lunch. LIDA President, Christine Schnell says, "The one thing never lacking on a ship full of women is food."
- Good conversation and camaraderie passed the time as we filled our stomachs. It seemed all too soon before we found ourselves back in the harbor.

All in all, this day of adventure can be summed up as a success. Mary Artale put it all in perspective, "At the end of the day if everyone's feeling good and you go home with everything you came with, it's a success." Add to that a few laughs, new friendships, a lobster and a weight belt and the day comes up, certainly not bad!
Maybe next year Long Island Diver's Association will promote a Co-ed Aqua-Women Dive, get your reservations in now!