September 2021 – Newsletter

September 2021 – Newsletter

Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Southwest Michigan Regional Airport, 1123 Territorial Rd, Benton Harbor, Mi.

Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

(3rd Tuesday of every month)

Standard Agenda –

Club President / Officer calls the meeting to order.

  1. Club Officer asks if there are any Visitors and ask them to introduce themselves.
  • Present Specific Club Information
  • Identify dive events upcoming or planned. (Dives & Road Trips) 
  • Identify & discuss diving-related news important to divers.
  • Present any Show & Tell that anyone would like to share – Please!
  • Attendees speak about current diving experiences or “lessons learned” or reinforced from a dive near miss or not!
  • Open session.

Once again, we can have a “in person” gathering for this month’s club meeting. You’ll notice that the parking area has been changing and should now be better suited for all your parking needs.

As a side note, for those who may want some “refreshments” after the meeting, please mention your ideas BEFORE the meeting ends – who knows who might show up.   😊

I know I am repeating myself but if you have not reviewed your club membership application form and waiver documents, please get with the club secretary, and update them as necessary. After you review these forms, date and initial them that they are now current and correct. Again, if you are unable to attend, as I know some of our distance challenged members are, you can either download the two forms from the club web site or if you need, drop a note to me ( so I can email you a updated  member application and waiver for you to complete and return. Let me know please!

It’s my understanding that if you have paid for one of our new T-shirts it should be available for pickup at this month’s meeting. For those who are out of town and already paid, I will pick them up and get them in the mail to you. they will be mailed to you.

Since there was no club picnic this year, hopefully COVID-19 and its variants will soon be history and we can have a large one next year.

Many club members ARE still interested in having a local Ecology dive. If anyone knows of a community, located on a body of water, that would be interested in working with us to sponsor one please have them contact us. If nothing local is happening let’s participate in the Annual Underwater Cleanup in Marquette’s Lower Harbor.

The Muddies have again been getting wet this month in the Lake Michigan, inland lakes and dives in the St. Joseph River, Big Paw Paw Lake, Lake 16, and local shipwrecks that include the Havana, Ann Arbor 5. Summer is over and autumn is here – get some river time in before the leaves fall and hide all the shoreline goodies.

Anyone have any feedback on the Mermaid Mega Fest 2021 held in August?                

Let’s not forget our “Tankful Tuesday” & River Grubbing dives. If you can make them, please come on down!

Sept 21: MUD CLUB meeting (7:30) 1123 Territorial Rd, Benton Harbor, Michigan,

Sept 25: High Noon Dive – Niles … Riverfront or Marmont- TBD!,

Sept 28: South Haven North Pier, South Haven, MI.,

October 1 thru 3: Great Lakes Wrecking Crew – Fall Meet & Greet – Gilboa Quarry,

October 2: High Noon Dive – Niles … Riverfront or Marmont- TBD!,

And to close out the meeting I would not be surprising if there was another end of meeting “game time” (or something similar).  Who know, you 2 could be a winner—

See you at the next Mud Club Meeting!

Comments – Questions – Concerns?  Write to                                         

Mary Beth Thar – President –     

Amy Ailes – V.P. –

Ted Tomaszcwski – Treasurer –

Don McAlhany – Secretary / Newsletter / Club Site & FB Site

Lessons for Life

Scuba Diver with Leg Cramp Gets Swept Away from Their Buddy

Separation from a photographer buddy gets a scuba diver into real trouble.

Angie slowed her breathing while she hovered just above the reef. She attempted to make herself invisible in the water so the tiny blenny fish would reappear. She really wanted a close-up of it coming out of its hole.

A small issue, such as a leg cramp, can quickly escalate into a larger problem.

Finally, Angie was rewarded with the perfect shot. She took three frames before the blenny disappeared back inside, startled by the flash from Angie’s underwater strobes. Moving away from the reef, Angie looked around for her dive buddy, Cliff.

THE DIVERS – Cliff and Angie had been scuba diving together for years. They had a routine. Angie was an avid underwater photographer, but Cliff liked to hang out in the water and enjoy the scenery. He had a sixth sense for finding small critters in the reef, so he often searched for Angie’s next subject while she worked with her camera. Cliff never moved too far from Angie; neither one of them liked to be a bad dive buddy. They made a good team, supporting each other in the water. They were both in their 40s and in good health.

On the morning of the dive, Cliff wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but he wasn’t about to let that get in the way of making the dives. They hadn’t had a chance to dive in a while, and he didn’t want to disappoint Angie. He skipped breakfast, hoping his stomach would settle down.

THE DIVE – Conditions were nearly perfect for the planned dives from a small charter boat. The charter specialized in small groups — no more than six divers at a time — and that’s exactly the way Angie and Cliff liked it. It minimized the chances another scuba diver would disturb Angie’s photos or damage her camera.

The dives promised the rule of 80s: 80-degree air, 80-degree water and 80 feet of visibility. There was a strong current on the bottom, moving diagonally across the dive site, but Cliff and Angie agreed they would hide in between coral formations and stay near the boat. Angie was after small critter photos, setting up her camera for macro photography, so there was no need to swim away from the reef.

THE ACCIDENT – After watching Angie set up her shot and move into position to photograph the blenny, Cliff decided to explore the reef and look for Angie’s next subject. He knew she was hoping to get a photo of a clownfish on an anemone for her portfolio.

Finning from one coral formation to the next, Cliff moved out from behind the protection of the reef, exposing himself to the strong current. He swam against the current so he wouldn’t be carried away from the dive site, working hard to move to the next outcropping.

Cliff was nearly to the next coral formation when he got a cramp in his left leg. When he turned to stretch it out, the current caught him and pulled him away from the reef and out toward the sand. Realizing what was happening, he struggled to stretch his calf and swim at the same time. Neither worked well, and he floated farther away from Angie and the original dive site.

Angie finished taking her photos and looked up and around to find Cliff — just in time to see him struggling as he floated away. She clipped off her camera to her BC and swam toward him. Cliff was attempting to self-rescue and swim with his hands. Angie realized what he needed and grabbed his fin while supporting his ankle, stretching out his leg. She signaled to him that he needed to relax and just float. In a few moments, the cramp relaxed, and Cliff could swim again.

Looking around, the scuba divers realized they had floated too far away from the dive site to make it back. They agreed to surface, swimming in the direction of the boat while they did. On the surface, Cliff deployed his surface marker buoy and signaled to the boat crew that they were both OK. The crew kept an eye on the dive buddies while they recovered the remaining divers, and then moved to pick up Angie and Cliff.

ANALYSIS – Often, underwater photographers get so absorbed in what they are doing, their dive buddies feel as if they are diving alone. In Cliff and Angie’s case, they had an understanding about their respective roles on the dive. Despite that, Cliff really didn’t have a buddy on the dive. No one was keeping an eye on him or ready to help him out in an emergency.

A small issue, such as a leg cramp, can quickly escalate into a larger problem. We have discussed many times in this column how a small trigger can lead to panic and a serious accident. When a diver is uncomfortable or unprepared for a dive, all it takes is a small incident for the perceptual narrowing that comes with panic to set off a chain reaction.

In Cliff’s case, he wasn’t feeling well and was mildly dehydrated on the morning of the dive. They hadn’t been scuba diving in a while, so he wasn’t used to wearing fins. Those factors likely led to his leg cramp. He began the process of a self-rescue and was under control, but he was floating away from Angie.

Cliff was smart and swam into the current when he moved away from Angie initially, ensuring that he would be able to make it back to her, but he hadn’t planned on the cramp. While trying to relieve the discomfort, he drifted away from the coral formations and directly into the flow.

This dive incident is relatively minor, and not uncommon. Slight complications, such as an accidental mask flood or cramp, happen every day in the water. It is always the diver’s response to the problem that determines whether it is a quickly forgotten minor inconvenience or a potential disaster.

In Cliff’s case, had Angie not seen him floating away and responded to give him aid, and had he not remained calm, he could have easily panicked and bolted to the surface. In a panic situation, it is easy to forget your training and neglect to exhale on ascent. It would not be the first time something as simple as a cramp led to a series of events that ended with an air embolism.

Lessons For Life

1)  HAVE A PLAN TO SUPPORT YOUR BUDDY Even if you have a task on a dive, don’t forget about your buddy. Alternatively, your buddy should seek training in solo diving and be prepared to be completely self-sufficient.

2) PRACTICE SELF – RESCUE SKILLS Too often, divers learn skills in their open-water courses but never practice them again. During your next safety stop, remove and replace your mask, and practice relieving a cramp. It will serve you well.

3) PRACTICE BUDDY-RESCUE SKILLS See above, but the next time, practice air-sharing drills.

4) DON’T DIVE IF YOU AREN’T PREPARED No diver wants to disappoint a dive buddy by backing out of a dive, but don’t dive if you aren’t mentally and physically prepared for it. It is better to miss a dive than it is not to come back from one.

5) DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE Always maintain an open airway on an ascent.

By Eric Douglas – August 31, 2017 / Miko Maciaszek


There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. Why? Because it removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence.

And ALWAYS remember that when You are diving and You become uncomfortable for ANY reason on the way to a dive, just before the getting in the water, or as the dive progresses, you can and should stop your dive.  At the minimum, the life you save may be your own!

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