A Dive to Remember …

September 2, 2008

I finally got a chance to dive the Warren car … a dive I’ve been wanting to do ever since I first heard John Rawlings talk about it a few years ago. In fact, the reason I ventured into tech diving was so that I could do this dive.

I almost didn’t get the chance … by circumstance, the guys on my tech team … we call ourselves “The Misfits” … got the permit on the same week-end that Cheng and I were originally booked for Neah Bay (until the Mark V troubles cancelled that trip), and then she made plans to go to Winthrop instead. We decided that I could do both Winthrop and Lake Crescent in a week-end, so we headed east on Friday afternoon, and came back Saturday evening … just in time for me to grab a few hours sleep, toss my gear in the car, and head west to Lake Crescent.

I met up with my fellow divers on a cold, blustery day … it felt more like April than a few days before August. The plan was for me, Bones, and Marc Greenway to scooter out along the wall to the Warren car at 170 … then drop down and continue east till we found the Steele car.

The rest of our group was going in at a different entry a bit further east and kick-dive down to the Steele car … they didn’t bring scooters. So the three of us lined our scooters and deco bottles along the beach, geared up, and waded into the crystal clear water of Lake Crescent to begin our dive.

We found the Warren car within about four minutes, and spent a little bit of time circling the car, checking out the little memorial plaque, and saying a brief prayer for the restful peace of the souls of the young couple who perished there. Then we were on our way … heading out, and down.

The lake is renowned for outstanding visibility, and it lived up to its reputation … at 200 feet I didn’t even really need a light to see where we were going. At one point the group split momentarily to avoid the upreaching branches of a large tree laying along the steep slope … I went up, around, and down … and in the excellent viz (and my exhuberance at being here) I suddenly found myself at 211 feet, with the other two guys looking down at me as if to say “where the hell are YOU going?”. Oops … I banked back up the slope to join them at 200 and continue on our merry way.

Within a few moments we’d located the Steele car … what looks like a ’50’s era car sitting on the slope at about 195 feet. We spent the last of our bottom time swimming around it (and avoiding a couple more tree branches), till at last we’d reached the limit of our allotted time and needed to begin our ascent.

We used the scooters to head back west while slowly making our way up to our first stop at 140 feet. At that point, we clipped off the scooters and made a hanging ascent … following the slope up … for the 25-minute ascent to our 20-foot stop. Once we’d made our final gas switch and tidied up a bit we unclipped the scoots and headed back along the contours of the slope toward our entry point … which we arrived at about 15 minutes later.

I’d brought my camera down and clipped it off to the buoy line at 20 feet … thinking that once we’d completed our deco I’d like to pass it around among the group so we could get some pics of each other on the scoots (taking advantage of the clear water, after all). We ended the dive by spending a few moments playing like little harbor seals in the shallows … enjoying the day, and one of the most memorable dives I’ve ever done.

Scooting the Warren car

Scooting the Warren car


One Response to “A Dive to Remember …”

  1. David Carey Says:

    Enjoyed dropping in on your website. Great article on solo diving & the steele car dive. Haven’t done any deep diving since I moved from Hawaii years ago. I used to voluteer to wokr the civilian chamber on Oahu. I started profiling some of the deep dives the locals who fished for a living did & they did some serious deep dived to feed their family. This was before mix gas was popular. Every so often they would come in to decompress in our chamber & most of the time they didn’t have deepth guages or any accurate info. I started to go out with them to log their dives & they were off the charts. It was amazeing how liite they got bent. I’ll be doing Cay Sal which is some of the best visability & deep walls all drift diving [no scooters necessary] this spring. I see you get away on quite a few trips. Would love to invite you so maybe you can get a trip going. The gulfstream is a live aboard 102 ft. serious dive boat& we do the warm waters in remote spots almost all year round. Didn’t mean to turn this into a commercial. Love the pictures great job. Keep up the good work with best NAUI> DAVE

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