Duane and I participated in a Chicago ritual this morning. Most of the year, shore diving is prohibited in Chicago, but on New Years day, the powers that be turn a blind eye and we didn't have to bribe anyone.
The morning started out gray, overcast, windy and cold. A great day for diving! The dive site is downtown, between the Shedd Aquarium and the Alder Planet-arium. Thanks and gratitude to the divers that set up the ladder to make this dive possible.
That white stuff they are standing on is ice!
The wind and the water conspired to cover everything in ice!
This is the view from the water.
We had about a dozen people get into the water and even more who just came out to offer moral support. There were free flows in spades. Some divers had to call the dive as soon as they splashed in because of freeflows. There were also regs frozen to tanks, LP hoses frozen to inflators and drysuits, and drysuits frozen solid. Good times!
The dive itself was surreal. Duane and I descended in the shallow 6' section and it was like swimming in white milk. I could still see shadows within arms length. We ascended and decided to run a reel. While at the surface, we had drifted over the "deep" 14' section, and while I was descending, the white milk had turned to dark, chocolate milk. I was actually scared that I found a bottomless bore hole because it felt like I was descending into an abyss. Once I touched the bottom, I tried to deploy the reel, but we were in a featureless section with nothing to tie off to. I groped around for a rock but there was nothing there. The dive then became ridiculous. I had fouled the reel, but I literally couldn't see it to unfoul it. I was wearing blue gloves, so that complicated things. To make matters worse, I was lazy about gear so I didn't have any lights or backup reels. I did have my knife and thought about cutting the line, but that seemed a bit drastic for a 15' fun dive. By this time Duane's toes were cold, so he was ready to get out.
I did bring my camera, but the vis was so poor that only the topside pictures are useable. Hopefully, Duane has some decent video.
I wouldn't do this dive any other time of the year, but it just seems right on New Years day. Happy New Year!