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SurfLung
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
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Fortune Oct 11-12

Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:52 am

Fortune Pond Oct. 11-12
- SheriffDiver and I have reservations at Chicaugon Lake Motel and will be heading up to Fortune Pond Thursday. He's driving up from New Ulm and I'll be driving over from Alexandria. We're hoping to arrive by mid afternoon in time for a dive late Thursday afternoon. Anyone who wishes to join us is welcome. Claudia's full up at the Lakeshore motel but I think there are still rooms at the AmericInn and Chicaugon.
- Weather forecast looks cold... Which makes no difference to the underwater portion of diving but it makes it harder to warm up between dives. We've done this before though... October is always interesting. Sometimes its been 80 degrees and sunny. Other times we've had snow flurries.
- Fortunately we have the latrine house with rugs and buddy heaters... Good for changing and warming up. Other than that, its just a matter of getting out of our wetsuits and into dry clothes between dives.
- Water clarity is always worth the trip to Fortune Pond... This is our last chance for the season and we're taking it!
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
Master Diver
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:25 pm

I will probably end up working on Saturday. Boo. So it looks like I'll see you guys next Spring. Have a great time!

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SurfLung
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:37 am

Ultimate Solo Fortune Trip...
- As planned, Sheriffdiver Ron and I arrived at about 1:00 PM Thursday after an 8 hour drive. Weather was decent... 60 degrees, partly cloudy, and hardly any wind. We got in a couple of nice dives... Water totally clear as usual. Fall colors were peak, I think. Magnificent!
Image
- We had reservations at Chicaugon Lake Inn which is about 5 miles out in the country from Iron River. Nice clean place with a country club about a half mile down the road... There we found a great restaurant with steaks, prime rib, burgers, pizza... All excellent.
- Everything was panning out great until Ron had to go back home unexpectedly. So, for the rest of the trip I was on my own. I was a little uncomfortable about it but then I thought, "If Fortune Pond was in my town, I'd be over there by myself all the time." So, I just shifted gears, took my time to plan for and deal with the weather... And I ended up having a great time diving plus some "Alone Time" to reflect on my life. :roll: ( I shot some selfies with the GoPro and will add them to this report later... I think I got a good one of me and the Jim's Grim Reaper.)
- It was raining hard and steady Friday so I went into town and got some pancakes. The rain let up so I headed out to the lake. It was dead calm, still in the 50+ degree temps, cloudy but no rain. So I suited up and went for a nice scooter dive. When I came up it was raining and windy with temps dropping. I got out of my wet things, and into dry clothes and rubber boots. No let up on the rain so I went for a drive in the Fall colors.
- The rain stopped again so I went back to the lake... This time there was a cold wind so I parked my SUV facing into the wind and gave myself a decent wind break under the rear hatch door. Suited up and got in another nice dive before coming back out to rain, wind, and colder temps. Yikes it was cold. I had my windbreak and my buddy heater though and it really wasn't bad. BUT, I figure under these conditions two dives were enough for Friday. I went into town and got some cheese, pickled herring, and crackers for dinner back at the motel. Fortunately I was able to dry the suits in front of the room heater.
- Saturday was 31 degrees, windy, and cloudy but no rain. A corned beef hash and eggs kind of morning. When I got to Fortune, there were 8 tech divers taking up the paved parking lot so I parked kind of in the woods and into the wind on the unpaved lot. This worked out well. The tech guys were just entering the water as I suited up. I scootered over to the grim reaper and then headed toward the shore to surface and see what landmark I might find. It was kind of non-descript location halfway to the other side of the pond. So I just went back down and scootered back to the car. The wind break and heater helped but this time it was kind of a race to get the heck out of the wet suit and into dry clothes. The tech divers were packing up to leave.
- As I sat in the car warming up, The weather was getting worse... Some snow in the air, windy and 35 degrees. I figured I better do my next dive now or I would not get another chance. So, I suited up and went in for another scooter dive. This one was totally fun, I took the scooter down to the road on the right and zig zagged my way from 100 feet up to 30 feet flying around the rubble and cliffs at the underwater road's edge. I did my 3 minute safety stop on the way back so that I could just get out of the water and race to get out of my wet gear. By this time, the weather was in heavy snow flurries, wind blowing cold... It was time (probably well past time) for me to call it a day.
- Saturday night I went out for Prime Rib and contemplated some basic truths:
1. Fortune Pond underwater is always the same. Great visibility and cold water. You are usually diving in water that is at or close to the same temperature as Ice Diving. So there's no point in worrying about the water temp no matter what time of year you dive. It's always fun!
2. Solo diving in crystal clear water, where you are familiar with the location, is just as fun as solo diving with a bunch of friends topside.
3. "Managing" cold weather and cold water are the keys to enjoying Fortune Pond. I used to stay in the water for 40 minutes and then leave the bottoms of my wet suit on... I would get severely chilled. Now, I try to limit my cold water dive time to 30 minutes and then get completely out of the wet suit and into dry clothes. I did not get any of the shaking hypothermia I've experienced in the past and this was the coldest weather yet.

- I'll try and pull some of the Go-Pro shots I got diving and on the surface... I'll post them here.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
Master Diver
Posts: 1538
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:29 pm

Great report as always Eben. I wish I could have joined you, but it wasn't to be this weekend.

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SurfLung
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
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Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Tue Oct 15, 2019 10:01 am

Here are the additional photos I promised...
Image
- Above: SwimJim's Grim Reaper holding ViAnn's little white Cherub...
Image
- Above: Me with the Grim Reaper looking over my shoulder... Voit 50 Fathom reg and Twin 38s.
Image
- Above: Suited up for my 2nd to last dive... Just before it started snowing. Voit NAVY reg with single HP80 and USD J-Valve.

Sightings...
- I forgot to mention on the 2nd to last dive (where I was looking for a surface landmark for locating the Grim Reaper from shore), I found a signpost with an insane asylum sign pointing down to the Grim Reaper... This was at 30-40 feet deep I think. So there's a shallow landmark for divers.
- And on my last dive, I found Sheriffdiver Ron's little gnome and yellow Shark warning sign.

Misc. Thoughts...
- I brought along 6 double hose regulators but only used two. The first dive I dove my Voit 50 Fathom to a max depth of 100 feet at the Grim Reaper. All subsequent dives were with my Voit NAVY. I haven't used this reg much and it really is a nice one. So, I just used it for the rest of the dives and it worked beautifully.
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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ScubaLawyer
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Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:14 am

Hey Eben, is your Voit NAVY origninal or have you added upgrades? Mark
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

swimjim
Master Diver
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Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:56 pm

Love the selfie of the Grim Reaper looking over your shoulder! :shock: :lol:

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SurfLung
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
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Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:48 pm

ScubaLawyer wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:14 am
Hey Eben, is your Voit NAVY origninal or have you added upgrades? Mark
My NAVY is pretty much original except I think the curved GRAY mouthpiece might be non-factory. I saw these aftermarket Gray moldings at Ron Bensons website and had to have one for my NAVY. https://www.silentexplorers.com/online-store. I acquired one of Scuba Museums last gray silicone DAAM diaphragms awhile back so it has that in it. Also original Duckbill style exhaust. Hose clamps are the ones with "Voit" molded into them.

I've had this NAVY for awhile. Fixed it up originally when I didn't have as much experience and it breathed with a honking noise. I set it aside for a year or two then, I took the gray hoses off so that my buddy Rich could put them on his Mistral and take it to Sea Hunt Forever. So, it sat there like an unfinished project. Then somebody posted their NAVY Phoenix HPR project on VDH and shamed me into fixing it back up.

I value the original version aspect of the NAVY... Seems like there aren't enough of them around so I didn't want to upgrade it to Phoenix nor HPR. So, I have the original configuration with replacement parts where necessary purchased from VDH. My NAVY is the Gold and Black labeled version that was Made in France. It's really a beauty and a good breather. Sometimes slips back to it's honking sound but it disappears after about 10 breaths.
Image
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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ScubaLawyer
Master Diver
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First Name: Mark
Location: Laguna Beach, CA

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:26 pm

SurfLung wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:48 pm
ScubaLawyer wrote:
Tue Oct 15, 2019 11:14 am
Hey Eben, is your Voit NAVY origninal or have you added upgrades? Mark
Then somebody posted their NAVY Phoenix HPR project on VDH and shamed me into fixing it back up.
SORRY - THAT WAS ME. :)
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

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SurfLung
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
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Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:53 am

Estimating Fortune Visibility...
- We always say the visibility at Fortune Pond is something like 100 feet but it depends on conditions, which way you are looking, and where you happen to be at any moment in the lake. For example, I remember one particular dive where I swooped down along the "Tooth" formation aiming for what I thought was the bottom. But when I got there it was a ledge and I swam over it to keep going down to the real bottom. There was a road/ledge down there and I remember my ZOOP computer said the depth was 117 feet deep. And when I looked up, I could see the wave ripples on the surface just as clear as day. This was a bright sunny day. But, I don't remember seeing the rubble on the outer edge of the road that is about 50 feet away. I scared myself being down that deep and started back up right away... So maybe I just didn't look in that direction.
- Also, when I'm on scooter rides around the lake, I have encountered vaporous clouds on the far end. I don't know what causes them but, they cut the visibility to 5-15 feet if you fly through them. I just go around them because they're so odd... Maybe they're poisonous? I've heard rumors that the DNR has been injecting "nutrients" into the lake in the efforts to turn it into a trout pond. I sure hope they don't ruin this lake.
- White visibility disks. Awhile back, my buddy Rich brought along the accepted method for measuring water clarity... A white disk with tape measure. We tried to video the process as one of us swam away into the distance. But this was a low light, cloudy day and I think the disk disappeared around 50-60 feet away. So was it due to darkness or cloudy water?
- The effects of light... Just like when you are above water, the distance you can see gets shorter and shorter as the amount of light goes down. How can you see 100 feet away when you are in total darkness? You can't. On the other hand, I've been diving in Fortune on a bright Sunny day and I could see the surface light rippling on the bottom 70 feet deep. These are the times when lateral visibility must be in the neighborhood of 100 feet.
- I think the bottom line is that when visibility is so far that you can't tell whether the limits are due to light, or silt, or whatever...
That's Dang Good Visibility!
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

swimjim
Master Diver
Posts: 1538
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:11 pm

If you look at some of the drone footage that has been done topside you can clearly see 50 feet down from the surface! Generally at Fortune pond if you get a couple hundred feet from where most divers are entering and swimming the viz IS in excess of a hundred feet. When you see other divers and they appear to be smaller then plastic army men yet you can see them clearly... well, that's a clue.

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SurfLung
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Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:02 pm

Image
Something Weird About This NAVY?
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

User avatar
ScubaLawyer
Master Diver
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Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:25 am
First Name: Mark
Location: Laguna Beach, CA

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:21 pm

SurfLung wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:02 pm
Image
Something Weird About This NAVY?
The answer to your question Eben is YES.
"The diver who collects specimens of underwater life has fun and becomes a keen underwater observer. .. seek slow-moving or attached organisms such as corals, starfish, or shelled creatures." (Golden Guide to Scuba Diving, 1968) :D

swimjim
Master Diver
Posts: 1538
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:28 am
First Name: Jim
Location: Belgium WI

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:23 pm

Hey, I had one of those..... Well, Eben sent me the sticker anyway. Lol

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SurfLung
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Posts: 1474
Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 2:03 pm
First Name: Eben
Location: Alexandria, MN
Contact: Website

Re: Fortune Oct 11-12

Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:15 pm

Image
- Before I acquired a REAL Voit NAVY, I made up rectangular labels to fit DA AquaMaster. The labels are made up on bumper sticker material to be waterproof. For those who don't already know, the Voit NAVY is a DA AquaMaster underneath. :)
SurfLung
The Freedom and Simplicity of Vintage Equipment and
Vintage Diving Technique are Why I Got Back Into Diving.

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