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
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.
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.
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!