We had talked and talked about getting up to Michigan and diving. There’s so many places to dive there, you can make a career of it. With our trip to the Bahamas finished, we were already looking for the next thing. So with some vacation days to use up, we decided to make it happen. The game plan was simple: My aunt needed a new roof on her barn and I’d promised to help with the project. Over a year ago. I know, I know...I’m a terrible nephew. In exchange for stripping shingles and slapping on new, Ben and I could stay at her place, using it as a jumping off point to dive our little black hearts out. After the work was done, of course.
So we left after work on a Tuesday. Ben’s Escape was loaded down with everything we’d need to dive and everything we’d need to slap on a new roof. The drive was easy but long and we arrived just before 1am. The beds were already made so nothing to do but crash.
Day one was interesting. It was colder than back home and it rained off and on all day. We shingled a small shed. Actually, Ben shingled most of that while I tore off half the barn roof. We each performed the tasks best suited to our abilities. He’s detailed and that one required more cuts so it was perfect for him. I just like to wreck things.
We finished up around 3pm and headed off to Traverse City so we could link up with some local divers for the straight word on planning our dives. The dive club out of SCUBA North was doing a dive that night in West Traverse Bay so that was numero uno on our list.
We made the drive north and met Bob, the owner. Super nice guy and lots of info. The shop is clean and well organized with just about anything you’d need. We talked for an hour at least. Bob told us we could dive with the club that night and if we wanted, he could hook us up with a divemaster for the weekend to check out some of the other sites around. He also gave us the number to NorthWest SCUBA if we wanted to do some boat dives up in Lake Charlevoix. Have I ever dialed a number faster?
Anywho, we drove over to the site to check out the bay and get a lay of the land. We shot a quick Facebook Live video then saw a sweet rainbow right over the water. The sun had finally decided to join us! So beautiful and a nice addition to an otherwise rainy and gray day. Hunger struck and we walked downtown Traverse City in search of some much needed sustenance.
After one of the best Reuben sandwiches of my life, we headed back and started chatting with the club divers as they rolled in. Man I wrote that and realized I can’t remember the name of that little diner. I’m making a note to take better notes. Anyway, we started unloading gear and putting things together, making sure to go through everything twice.
We buddied up and grabbed the flag. The entry was just a straight walk off the beach. By now, the sun was down and it was a relief to get underwater and on our way. The dive plan was a northeast swim until we hit a pair of pipes that used to belong to a nearby power plant. We would follow the pipes out into the bay where they end in some sort of crib where fish like to hang, then turn around and head back once half the air was gone. The swim is a long one - a quarter mile.
We didn’t make it. We made it to the pipes and we followed them until half the tank was gone. I swam over to Bob who was casually swimming around on his DPV and signaled we were heading back. Ben and I turned around and headed for the beach. After the swim back, we realized quickly that most divers didn’t make it all the way out to the end of the pipes. In fact, several beat us back to shore. The club straggled in slowly in buddy pairs and someone offered up some key lime cupcakes. Perfect way to finish the evening for us. Take a look at what we came up with!