Tour of Texas 2002
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The short of this story is that we had a lot of fun!
We headed out of town for the tour of Texas on Friday 07-June-2002 and arrived at Whitney Lake Friday evening around 9:00pm. As always, Whitney proved to have an extremely nice group of people staying at the Scuba Park campgrounds. While setting up camp several other campers came over to assist and made us feel right at home. Saturday morning the dive fest began as we explored the submerged attractions and cliffs that lie off the shores of The Scuba Park. The surface temperature was about 80 degrees with a thermalcline of about 73 degrees. The visibility was down to 6 feet which was lower then the previous week where divers had 15 feet visibility. We could not seem to get enough of this Dive area and stayed submerged a good portion of the day checking everything out. Darrell and Judy Puryear (owners of The Scuba Park at Whitney) are always great people to be around as those of you know that have visited the Scuba Park. Thank you Darrell and Judy for a great time and your hospitality.
Sunday 09-June-2002 we headed to The Reef Quarry in Houston with excitement of diving in new waters. The Reef is a spring fed body of water with a maximum depth of 40 feet that has 24 sunken boats, 3 busses and several platforms that are conveniently marked with buoys on the surface. The surface temperature was in the eighty's and it felt like there were at least two thermalclines before 30 feet deep and the visibility seemed to deteriorate with depth. The park was filled with picnickers and swimmers but very few divers. The entrance fee was $20.00 per diver which was more then the the swimmers entrance fee but did not have a separate parking area for divers. If you are at this area in the near future, be sure to walk out on the docks prior to gearing up. While we were there, some of the docks seemed to tilt to one side if two divers with full equipment were on the same side at the same time.
Sunday evening we headed to Aransas Pass to stay the night before going to the beach in Port Aransas. We arrived at Port Aransas Monday morning 10-June-2002 and headed straight to the Jetties to check out the water conditions. The visibility can change dramatically from day to day producing 5 to 15 feet and some days the visibility may seem like zero. Arriving at the Jetties we found large waves coming into shore and a thick layer of seaweed floating at the surface along the jetties and throughout the water at different depths which kept us from gearing up, but there is always something to do at Port Aransas. After aborting the dives we started the journey to the end of the Jetties to watched the waves crash over the boulders. Some areas the walkway had a thin coating of green slime that was slick as ice which we quickly learned to avoid after doing a little jig trying to keep our feet underneath us. If we would have had a video camera, we may have had some new dance moves and had to laugh at each other and our self's each time it happened. At the end of the jetties there were large waves crashing onto the block like boulders sending spectacular splashes into the air which would have made a great place for pick nick lunch. After we returned to the shore line we headed down the sandy beach but it started to rain, so we headed into town for lunch at Virginia's by the Bay previously known at Tortuga Flats. After the rain passed we headed back out to the beach and while wading in the water we became surrounded by 20 to 30 small stingrays swimming to and from shore in groups of 3 to 10. Hypnotized with the beauty of these gliding stingrays, we followed them down the beach totally loosing track of time and received a sunburn, but it was well worth it. Being born in Corpus and visiting the beach about every year since, I have never seen anything like this before but hope to encounter these graceful creatures in the future.
Tuesday 11-June-2002 we headed 100 miles directly west of San Antonio to a dive area on the Nueces River called Chalk Bluff. Park Chalk Bluff is a nice dive site for shallow warm dives with large boulders, aquatic plants, some submerged fallen trees and an abundance of fish in the area. Water temperature is generally 80 to 85 degrees F with an average dive depth of 10 to 15 feet in the river channel. The depth can vary depending on water levels and the visibility is generally 40 to 60 feet. After a few minutes underwater we located a group of fish which I swam up to and took pictures of. After the second picture was taken I realized that I had swam up and put my hand next to large snake that the fish were schooling around. To make things even better, after I got the pictures developed two snakes can clearly be seen in the first picture as I am swimming up on them. The second picture only shows the one that I had my hand next to, makes you wonder where the other one was. This is the first time that I have seen a snake in this dive area and they are only known to be up and down stream, generally keeping clear of this area due to the commotion of of swimmers that are generally in the area. Don't let this stop you from enjoying this great dive spot if you are not fond of snakes because you are not likely to see one in this dive area.
Wednesday 12-June-2002 we headed to Canyon Lake which is just north of San Antonio to dive the shores of North Park. The visibility was less then normal at only 6 to 8 feet. On the dives at North Park we saw several sunken boats, platforms, cars, motorcycle, a Halloween type casket and a wet suit that some one had filled with sand or cement. There is almost always something new to see here.
Thursday morning 13-June-2002 Geff Willstrop from
Canyon Lake information picked us up at Potters creek campground on his
28 foot sail boat for a little sailing and diving. We started out diving
at party cove to look for sunglasses and stuff that had been dropped the
overboard from boats roped together the weekend before. Upon entry of
the water I tossed my weight integrated BC into the water like normal,
but this time a valve opened on impact, purged the air out of the BC and
sank down to 41 feet. The BC was quickly recovered, but the jokes
continue. My lesson has been learned, keep your equipment close when
diving in deep or murky water because any thing can happen.
Friday 14-June-2002 we headed to Travis Lake which is located close to Austin. We stopped at Dive World to get our tanks filled which was previously Dive Texas and Aquatic Adventures. After we got our tanks filled we headed to Mansfied Dam Park to dive close to the Dam. There was a florescent orange that was stretched from the shore down into the water. Following this line down we first came to a training platform, from the training platform there were submerged traffic signs in front of a large sail boat where the line split in two different directions. Following the line to the right we came across a small plane that appeared to be upside down which took a little while to figure out what it was, past the plain was another platform. Following the Split to the left from the submerged signs we found large boats, a bicycle, and a large barge. The florescent line was great for helping find the underwater attractions and I hope it stays around for a while. The water visibility at Lake Travis this day was about 15 feet making for great diving and the dive area is set up for easy compassing
Saturday 15-June-2002 we headed back to Canyon Lake for our traditional underwater fish feeding. There were not as many large catfish as normal but the few that did come along with the flood of perch kept the dive interesting. We fed the fish at several cars and the large boat almost finishing up an entire package of hotdogs.
All and All the 2002 Tour of Texas was a lot of fun with exploration of new and familiar dive areas. We met allot of nice people and got reacquainted with some old friends and dive buddies. What could be better then returning home water logged after 8 days of diving and craving more!
Dive Safe and Have Fun!
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