2023 – Jan 17 – Michigan Underwater Divers – Newsletter

January – “2023” – Newsletter

Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Michigan Underwater Divers

January – “2023” – Newsletter

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

Meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

(3rd Tuesday of every month except December)

Standard Agenda – Club President / Officer calls the meeting to order.

Club Officer asks if there are any Visitors and ask them to introduce themselves.

Presents an overview of the preceding month goings on and current Club updates.

Identify dive related 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 – Attendees please contribute!

Attendees speak about current diving experiences, “lessons learned” or reinforced from a dive near miss or not!

Open session.

Wow, can you believe mid-January already and time is really flying by!

The November meeting was called to order by the President at 7:39 with only 8 members in attendance. Item’s discussed included  mentioning the Shipwrecks and Scuba Symposium on Saturday November 19, in Huron, OH.

Jim Scholz mentioned that he will be bringing back the “Turkey Dive” this year but doing it with a twist. Wolf’s Divers Supply will be seeding the River between the old bank building and the Whirlpool building with turkeys. Anyone who recovers a turkey will receive a prize from the shop. There is no charge to participate but all dives must register for insurance purposes. 

The annual New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day dive is also in the planning stages but as always, the weather is a determining factor. This will be the 47th year of the tradition of bringing the new year in underwater!

There was no old business that we needed to take action on so we moved into new business.

New Business

We are in need of some more business cards for the club so Jim is going to order them. When the come in we will make cards available to all members so you can pass them out and help to bring some new divers into the community.

The results of the 2022 November Elections were:

President –  Amy Ailes – – frogmom1972@gmail.com

Vice President  – Mary Beth Thar –- mbthar@comcast.net

Treasurer  – Ted Tomaszcwski –- cdandwb@outlook.com

Secretary – Jim Scholz –.-. jescholz@yahoo.com

Web Master – Kevin Ailes – Wreckhunter@yahoo.com


Amy Ailes, MaryBeth Thar, Ted Tomaszewski and Kevin Ailes agreed to continue in their current positions of President, Vice President, Treasurer and Web Master respectively. With no other nominations for those positions a motion was made and passed to have them continue in their respective positions. Jim Scholz was nominated for Secretary and Don McAlhany for News Letter Editor. With no other nominations for those positions a motion was made and passed to elect Jim and Don to their nominated positions.

There was a discussion on how we can get club meeting attendance up and how to bring in some new people and ideas into the club. Passing out business cards and inviting / bringing other divers to the meetings was suggested along with doing some polls / surveys online to find out what divers in general suggest increasing attendance.

Everyone was reminded that there is no meeting in December and our next meeting will be January 17, 2023. Dues will be due in January so bring your $15 in cash and a few bucks for a beverage or snack after the meeting.

One topic to be discussed in 2023 is whether to begin the club meeting earlier at either 6:30 or 7:00 so be thinking about it.

As a 2023 year reminder, for those who are going to be able to attend the club meetings and have not already reviewed and updated your “on file” membership application form and activity waiver documents, please get with the club secretary and update them as necessary. After you review these forms, date and initial them making sure they are current and correct.

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, the Secretary can email you a current member application form and waiver for you to complete and return. You can let us know by dropping a line to us at muddydiver@aol.com. If you every have any dive or diver related news items that you think others would interested in please send them our way also.

There are only a few of the new club Tee shirts still available and sizes are very limited-so let us know if you are interested.

Though its past News, the Muddies had a great showing for last “October’s Turkey Dive” at Fisherman’s Park in Benton Harbor. Now we did not have many bodies in the water but loads of participants for tending duties and bubble watchers.

Kirk Wutzk, Ken Reimer, Ted Tomaszewski , Darrin Jillison, Karen Mann, John Nedoba, Jim Scholz, Sir Larry Steelman – not pictured are Don McAlhany & Barb Mann.

And though it was a last-minute dive call due to weird & changing weather conditions there was a “47th MUD Club New Year’s Dive” held at Riverview Park in Niles, Michigan. As always the dive could not be made without the greatly appreciated assistance of the tenders, bubble watchers, and the all-important comfort station keepers. This Mack’s 47th in a row and Sir Larry Steelman’s 46th dive.

Comfort Station = Shelter w/Hot Drinks & Munchies                           Karen & Barb Mann

Its early yet but is anyone planning a “Mackinaw Shipwreck” dive week this year? I am sure some of the participants at prior dives will be at the meeting to brag, I mean, talk about the great wreck dives that had. (For example: Cedarville, Minneapolis, William Young, Eber Ward, Sandusky, Barnum, etc.)

As a reminder, though the club has not sponsored an “Ecology Dive” for several years, are you interested in working to have one in the summer of 2023? Do you know if any community located on a body of water that would be interested in working with us to sponsor one? Or, if we are not up to having one, perhaps we can plan as a club to participate in an established one such as the annual Underwater Cleanup in Marquette’s Lower Harbor. What do you think?

Its early but keep an eye out for this year’s Mermaid Fest at theLake Arvesta Sports Complex, as they may have need for experienced safety personnel and divers.

Looking ahead toward the summer, last year’s Club Potluck Picnic had a sizeable attendance and with COVID slacking off (and hopefully ending!) start thinking about selecting a month to hold it. Historically it’s been in August or September.

And we need to determine if we are going to continue having mid-week dives like the Tankful Tuesday or Freaky Fridays dives? We really have had minimal participation so is this something to do again this year. Let’s hear from YOU and if You will be attending and or leading them.

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

And remember, we all like to see your river grubbing finds so bring them out for “show & tell” at the meetings. In October Mack brought in a collection of bottles recovered from the river to include Hutchinson’s, embossed medicines, sodas, milks, jars and included blob tops, corkers, and at the November meeting Mary Beth brought in very fine Codd-neck bottles with the marble stoppers intact. A very nice collection!

Don’t forget the “Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival” presented by the Ford Seahorses and Sea Lancers on Saturday February 25, 2023, from 8:00 AM till 5:00 PM at the Embassy Suites on 19525 Victor Parkway, Livonia, MI.

Hope to see YOU at the next Mud Club Meeting!

Comments – Questions – Concerns?  Drop a line to muddydiver@aol.com and let us know!

Lessons for Life

Partially Closed Tank Valve Causes Buddy Separation and Angst

Lessons learned, as reported by one of the divers, when an equipment problem caused him to become separated from his buddy.

Reported Story

On a recent boat dive trip with my girlfriend, we arrived at the dive site and discovered that the current was a little stronger than expected. My partner and I decided to do simultaneous back rolls to enter the water at the same time to avoid being separated by the current. Once under, we made contact and gave each other the OK signal before descending to catch up with the rest of the group that was already heading down to the bottom. At about 30 feet down, I looked just behind me to my right where I expected to find my dive buddy swimming but, to my surprise, she was not there. I looked around and did not see anyone descending from the direction from which I had come. Even with the visibility at over 50 feet I did not see my partner anywhere.

I began swimming back and heading for the surface thinking that she must have surfaced and had probably drifted back in the current. In my hurry to find my partner, I inadvertently ascended too fast and my dive computer alarmed warning me to make a safety stop even though I had only been in the water between 2 to 3 minutes and no deeper than 36 feet. I knew that my risk of DCS was minimal at this point because I could not have absorbed enough nitrogen in that short time at that shallow a depth to be at any serious risk. However, I vaguely remembered reading in my owner’s manual that if I ignored a mandatory safety stop, the dive computer would lock me out for any dives in the next 24 hours. I stayed at 15′ to comply with the safety stop parameters while continuing to head towards the boat and look for my buddy. When I got closer to the boat, I could see my dive buddy hanging onto the back of the boat and felt relieved knowing that the boat captain was there to help her with any problem that she might be having.

Before my safety stop ended, my partner came down and joined me and we caught up with the group. After we finished the dive and were back on the boat, she explained to me that her regulator was breathing hard as we went down and, rather than continue down in the strong current with an unknown problem, she surfaced and went back to the boat to figure it out. It turned out that her regulator valve was screwed down to an almost closed position and she had not realized it. It was a simple problem to correct and, once she did, we continued the dive.

Diver’s Comment

This incident taught me several lessons.

First, stay within eyesight of your buddy when descending. It can be tempting to increase the distance between you and your buddy on dives with good visibility; however, a situation can deteriorate from a simple problem to an emergency very quickly. My buddy made the right decision to abort the dive at that moment and solve the problem before it became a bigger problem in deeper water. However, she was not able to get my attention to let me know what she was doing because I had moved ahead of her and was focused on joining up with the group.

Second, if you lose sight of your buddy you need to make sure that you do not forget normal practices (such as a controlled ascent) when trying to regain contact. In cases where there is no known emergency and you have simply separated from your buddy; an ascent is an ascent.

Finally, read your dive computer manual carefully. In my case, I had just started using a new dive computer and thought that I risked locking up my computer for the next 24 hours if I surfaced before the safety stop was completed. My computer was actually trying to compensate for my increased rate of ascent with a recommended safety stop. If I had violated this recommended safety stop, my computer would have only shortened the available no-decompression time for my next dive and I could have simply prolonged my surface interval time to correct this.

As it turned out, everything worked out, but you should always know what your computer is telling you and fully understand its operation in order to make the best decision in any circumstance.

      “Partially Closed Tank Valve Causes Buddy Separation and Angst – Divers Alert Network…”

Note: NOT a DAN (Diver Accident Network) Member?  In my opinion You should be!

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

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