Media Archive

Diving class offers opportunities to explore underwater wonders

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 11, March 13, 2002

By Sarah MacIlroy
Staff Writer

Contributed Photo
PICTURE PERFECT DIVER Gene Sutton, local diving instructor, not only teaches under water,he takes pictures under water with his special waterproof camera. Sutton took this snapshot of a friend when he dove off the coast of Florida recently.

SEBEC It isn't just a deep-sea, tropical vacation kind of hobby.

Gene Sutton has proven that even land-locked residents of Piscataquis County can enjoy diving.

"Moosehead Lake is full of steamships and bottles that are hundreds of years old with all kinds of historic value," Sutton said. "There's all kinds of historical value that one can explore under there."

"Diving is like a new a frontier," explained Sutton, "except you don't have to go out into outer space to enjoy it. You're venturing into an unfamiliar

environment and you're depending on life support to get you there and back."

At the beginning of their 5-week class, divers will stick to exploring the indoor pool at the YMCA, but before they are finished they 'll have completed two open water dives, one in fresh water and one in salt water.

Sutton, who has only been diving "a few years," said his wife initially talked him into trying the hobby.

"I love the underwater," he said. "My wife first talked me into a dive in Aruba. I said, 'Well, OK,' but from the first second that I stuck the regulator my mouth, I was hooked."

Sutton, now a certified master diver, said he has kept with the hobby for many different reasons.

"I do it for the relaxation," he said. "(Down there) there are no phones, no pagers going off and no one can bug you. You can just relax. It's also a good husband and wife recreation."

He said that during his dives he has discovered quite a few interesting artifacts. Some of the most interesting were old anchors and parts of an old steamship wheel, he said.

"You find some neat things, but you also find some really disgusting things," he explained. "You find a lot of junk that people discard. We do a lot of cleanup in the lake. It's something people should definitely be conscious of."

Sutton said that he hopes anyone who takes the diving class would be able to take away three things: a love of diving, a respect for fish life and a knowledge of how to be safe.

"The biggest danger down there is stupidity," he said. "Diving has some very, very simple rules, but if you don't follow them they can kill."

He said divers should be conscious of both the time they are under water and the depth they dive, in addition to the maintaining the proper equipment.

Sutton also said they frequently do ice dives in Moosehead Lake. For an ice dive, the divers, equipped with the right protection, cut a hole in the ice and plunge into the frigid waters.

"The water's clearer in the winter and your visibility is much farther... and you're suit keeps you toasty," he said. "But in everything you do, you have to remember you're tethered to the hole."

All Resource Divers does have rental equipment, but they recommend that for the class, potential divers should bring their own mask, fins and snorkel.

"You don't have to be an expert swimmer to do this," he said. "People of all sizes and shapes do it. It's good for everybody."

For more information on the class or diving equipment, call 564-3656.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.