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November 01, 2006

Haunted Night Dive, Anyone?

Each October for the past few years, there's been a murmur at Loch Low-Minn quarry of a Haunted Night Dive. Just to set the record straight, it's not a rumor ... It's a fact! Ok, so there may not be any REAL ghosts, but there are some that "hang" around underwater!

The idea for a Haunted Night Dive hit me while walking through a Halloween store. Ted and I decided we'd make it a project and have all of my Dive Master candidates participate.

We started gathering monsters and goblins and ghouls ... pumpkins and ghosts and cauldrons ... witches and bats and spiders ... things that go Bump in the night.

Once everything was on paper, the real planning and preparation began. We figured out what all props we had and drew out a map of the area we were to decorate. Once a route was in place, we began the prep work of the props.

How would we suspend the ghosts? The pumpkins? The bats? How would we illuminate them all? Well, we used a lot of balloons and chemical glow sticks! How would we make the cauldron bubble? Easy! A scuba tank would be attached to a device that would slow the flow of air down.

Over the course of the weekend we learned a few things. First, an inflated balloon is next to impossible to sink! We'd later design another method that would better suit our needs. Second, we learned the chemical glow sticks are an excellent way to illuminate the path! Third, we learned that even by slowing down the flow of air drastically, the air didn't last long enough, so it was back to the drawing board.

This year we perfected some of our techniques and found solutions for other problems. The ghosts were a piece of cake. Each ghost is made up of a white plastic bathroom garbage can turned upside down. Three holes are drilled in the lip of the can to allow for three strings to hold it in place. A small anchor made of concrete was made and strategically placed in the quarry. The strings were attached to these anchors and air was purged into the cans. A white sheet was then draped over the can and two blue chemical glow sticks were placed inside.

The pumpkins were those plastic pails that kids use for Trick or Treating. A hole is drilled in the bottom and a neoprene ring is glued to the underside of the pumpkin to give it more flotation. Without the neoprene, the pumpkin is only slightly positively buoyant. Two glow sticks are attached to a string that runs through the hole in the bottom. The string is then tied to a rock and stays somewhat stationary unless disturbed.

The bubbling cauldron problem was solved with a little thought. Ted found that a few pounds of dry ice, a three pound weight, and three green glow sticks were the answer! The dry ice bubbled for over an hour in water 67 degrees ... Plenty of time for all the divers to see and enjoy the effect.

My dear friend Donna and her husband Tom donated a coffin last year, so we used it again for a corpse made of a mannequin draped with black fabric, a skeleton mask, skeleton glove hands, and an axe. A glow in the dark tombstone at its head read "R.I.P"

Bats were hanging in trees, tarantulas were also. A witch had "melted" on the quarry floor, leaving behind only a black cape, a broom, and her hat. A pirate was hiding in a rock pile, a ghoul was suspended above the platform, glowing pairs of eyes were lurking amongst the grasses, severed body parts were scattered along the quarry floor, hanging out of a concrete alligator's mouth, and out of the Loch Ness Monster's mouth as well.

Hot chocolate and flavored coffee awaited all divers once they exited the water. The air temperature was much colder than the 67 degree water, but everyone agrees it's always worth the effort to make this dive.

Next year's Haunted Night Dive will be a bit different. I will not be responsible for pulling the entire thing off. Stacy and Rick and I have decided to get more divers involved by making it more of a contest among individual divers and groups. Everyone will construct their own creative display and place it in the quarry early in the month of October. Everyone will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite display. A night dive will be planned so that everyone can enjoy the area in an eerier light. Later in the month the votes will be tallied and a winner will be announced.

If you'd like more information or suggestions in creating your own Haunted Night Dive, or if you have ideas you'd like to offer, please contact us. We're always open to suggestions!

Posted by Carol at November 1, 2006 04:07 PM