You Ain’t Seen Nothing

Working full time at a dive shop gives you lots of interesting diving opportunities. I’m not talking about the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean dive trips that they make me go on. (Perhaps make is a strong word.) No, I’m talking about the commercial and salvage work we do here locally a couple times a year.

Our yellow page ad mentions that we do commercial diving work. This has lead to some interesting jobs we’ve taken on over the years. First there’s the glamorous side. At least twice a year we get calls to go out as safety divers on a movie or commercial set. This usually involves hanging out for long periods of time, sitting around without doing a whole lot. The second type of job we get is the no-brainer. These are the jobs that any diver can get. Diving in a swimming pool to fix lights or leaks. The only reason we usually get these is because it’s the off season and water temps are in the low 40’s to 30’s. We’ve dove a number of community and private pools, condo or apartment complex pools and even the Olympic Winter Sport Park’s Pool they use for the freestylers in the summer.

Then there’s the not so glamorous side which is normally the type of work we get. These are also the most fun (usually) since they pay well, no two jobs are the same and did I mention they pay well? Of course the reason they do is because no one in their right mind would normally want to dive in these places. Some people have occasionally joked with me, where do you dive in Utah? The Great Salt Lake? The Jordan River? Unfortunately yes. Once we had to help rescue a water truck that accidentally rolled into the Jordan River. And we’ve searched for various lost things in the Great Salt Lake. Nothing like having to dive with 50 pounds of weight to help you sink.

We’ve done the occasionally boat recoveries. This last year we dove East Canyon to help get a boat out and Scofield Reservoir to try a find a boat and then get it out. Rule #1 for Search and Recovery – If someone tells you they know exactly where a missing object is but it’s not exactly marked, you can assume the object is anywhere but there. If you come across a 15 foot aluminum fishing boat down there, let us know since we can tell you exactly where it wasn’t. Not for lack of trying though. 8 – 40 minute dives searching 100 foot circular patterns sure was fun.

This last summer we got to dive up at Secret Lake up at the Alta Ski Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon. This was cool, since it’s a watershed and you can’t normally dive there and the fact that I have hiked there about 30 times. Alta wanted to drill a hole and stick a pipe into the bottom of the lake to get water for snowmaking. The only problem was once they drilled through, vis in the lake went from 10 feet to nothing. 0 vis, close you eyes, that was what we saw. Add to that searching through up to 8 – 12 inches of silt for pipes and things. Silt that you can’t see but can tell is there because you feel some resistance but not much. Now throw in the occasion rock or tree branch to freak you out. And lastly, place some 15 foot long, 12 inch diameter pipes that weight some 3000 pounds that need to be found, have lift bags attached to, lifted and moved out of the water and you get the idea of how I spent my summer vacation. Oh, did I mention the last time we were up there it was getting ready to snow, the water temp was 40* and my drysuit had a leak in it? Fun, fun, fun.

Actually it is pretty fun stuff since it doesn’t come up all the often and we’re always up for a challenge. So next time you feel like putting in some snow making equipment in the bottom of your pool or you forget to put the plug in the bottom of your boat or were certain your snowmobile wouldn’t go through the ice, give us a call. But please, don’t tell me you know exactly where it is.

Let’s go diving!
Fall 2001