DC/VA/MD SCUBA MEETUP GROUP
Dutch Springs Diving & Camping Event
September 29 – October 1, 2006
Hope you’re ready for a fun weekend of diving and camping! With the arrival of fall, temperatures are falling just enough to make for perfect weather for both diving and camping. I (and I believe many of you) am planning to drive up to Dutch Springs on Friday, September 29 and stay through the weekend. Others are planning to come for the day only, either on Saturday or Sunday. We’ll be joined for the day on Sunday by the New York City and Stamford, CT SCUBA Meetup Groups.
Please read through the following important information, which should answer the questions some of you have asked and the questions you might not have thought to ask. Let me know if there’s anything else you need to know. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell phone at 703-999-5273.
Let’s go diving!
The Dutch Springs Web site (www.dutchsprings.com) contains a wealth of information.
If you haven’t browsed the site yet, please do so before the trip to familiarize yourself with the facility.
FEES (per person)
Adult SCUBA Diver: $25 per day daily admission
Camping: $10/night + next day’s $25 admission
Saturday Night Dive: $5 (requires Advanced C-card)
Fills: $6 (air), $13 (nitrox)
Rental tanks: $16 (air), $19 (nitrox)
Weight rental: $1/lb up to 10lbs, $10 flat fee for more than 10lbs (weight belt included)
Example for diver camping Friday and Saturday nights, renting a tank, and diving three dives on air on both Saturday and Sunday, plus Saturday night dive (7 dives total): $25 admission x 2 days = $50
$10 camping x 2 nights = $20
Night dive = $5
Rental tank = $16
Fills $6 x 6 (tank is full when rented) = $36
TOTAL = $127
If you plan to stay the night Saturday night but leave the following day without diving, you will still need to pay the $25 daily admission fee for Sunday, but it will be refunded as long as you leave by 9:00 a.m.
Note: We do not have enough people to qualify for a group rate, so everyone will be responsible for paying their own fees upon arrival and throughout the weekend. The facility accepts cash, Visa and MasterCard.
CARPOOLING & GETTING THERE
Dutch Springs is about 200 miles (four hours) from the D.C. area, so carpooling is strongly encouraged. Please post your carpooling availability/desires and any other relevant info or needs on the Meetup group’s message board:
Detailed driving directions, maps, photos: http://www.dutchsprings.com/directions.htm.
Please let me know what day and approximate time you plan to arrive, so that I have some idea of who to expect when (especially if you will arrive before me; I will try to be
there before 6:00 p.m. Friday evening). If you have trouble finding our ―base camp‖ upon arrival, call my cell phone (703-999-5273). I’ll post some Meetup signs around our tents.
When you enter the facility, stay to the right, and follow the road to the furthest parking lot to the right (see the map in the accompanying PDF document
(dutchsprings_camping_nightdiving.pdf). We’ll make camp in that general area, near the
picnic pavilion, which the NYC Divers have reserved for Sunday (I’m trying to get it for
us for Saturday). Note the color-coded areas on the map where we can/can’t pitch tents.
Note: You must arrive NO LATER THAN 8:30 p.m. if you’re camping, or you will
be turned away (the gate will be locked).
Dutch Springs offers all the typical underwater toys for divers (truck, airplane, boats, school bus, helicopter, etc.) at depths of up to 100 feet. The lake is spring-fed from an underground aquifer that filters through limestone to provide excellent visibility. Check out www.dutchsprings.com for more information about what you’ll see underwater.
Night Diving: Dutch Springs allows night diving on Saturday night only, for a $5 fee. You must have Advanced certification or higher, according to their Web site, and are required to have a dive light and tank light (light stick or strobe light). Divers must be in the water no later than a half-hour after sunset, and out of the water by two hours after sunset. See accompanying PDF document for more detailed information.
SCUBA diving is an inherently dangerous activity, so please dive safely. If you’re not a Divers Alert Network (DAN) member, or don’t have dive insurance, I highly recommend
getting it (most health plans don’t cover expensive trips to the recompression chamber).
Here is a link with some excellent information for first-time visitors to Dutch Springs: http://www.dutchsprings.com/newdivers.htm.
If you have any camping gear needs (such as a need to borrow or share a tent), please post on the Meetup group’s message board. I have a two-burner stove; I’m willing to
share, but hopefully others will bring stoves also. I’m not sure if there are any
permanently installed BBQ grills on site.
Ground fires are NOT allowed, and there are no fire rings. But what’s camping without a campfire? Portable fireplaces—the kind that sit off the ground—ARE allowed; does
anyone have one they can bring? If so, please let me know. If not, I will try to pick up a cheap one at Target. Please bring some firewood.
There are two food establishments on site, Noble Roman’s Pizza and Toscano’s Subs,
open from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Two heated bathhouses with hot showers are open all night.
POTLUCK DINNER SATURDAY NIGHT
Let’s plan to have a potluck dinner Saturday night; everyone bring something to share with everyone else. To avoid a situation where everyone brings a main course or a dessert, please post what you’re bringing for the potluck on the Meetup group message board. Alternatively, we can be lazy, and all pitch in a few bucks to buy several large pizzas on site as our potluck. Again, post your opinions on the message board.
It’s too soon to predict the weather with certainty, but the extended forecast looks great: sunny and clear, highs around 70 degrees, lows around 50 degrees, light breeze (10 mph). Keep an eye on the forecast as the weekend approaches.
Alcoholic beverages are not allowed at Dutch Springs, so exercise discretion (e.g., use a plastic cup) if you plan to bring some. I’m not sure how strict they are about this rule; the same rule applied at Lake Rawlings, but they were rather lax about it there. For the record, anyone bringing or consuming alcoholic beverages assumes responsibility for their actions and consequences thereof (such as getting kicked out). But my best guess is that as long as we’re discreet and don’t draw attention to ourselves, anyone bringing ―adult beverages‖ will probably go unnoticed.
QUESTIONS BROUGHT UP AT LAST WEEK’S HAPPY HOUR
How cold is the water at Dutch Springs?
According to the graph on the Dutch Springs site, surface water temperature should be above 70 degrees. There is a thermocline about every 30 feet, with the temperature dropping about 10 degrees each time. So figure about 60+ degrees at 30 feet, 50+ degrees at 60 feet, etc. The site states that the temperature at the bottom stays at the mid- to
upper-40s year round. If you plan to dive deeper than the first thermocline, you’ll want a 7mm wetsuit, hood and gloves (especially if you’re planning repetitive dives).
Is there a dive shop nearby?
Yes: The Scuba Tank, 610-868-7373, voice mail 610-861-0558, 4102 Bath Pike, Bethlehem, PA (3 miles west of Dutch Springs). Marc has also found a PADI shop within a mile of the lake; see the message board on the Meetup site for more info.
Are there hotels/motels nearby?
Yes, you’ll find a Best Western, Hampton Inn Suites and other options just minutes away. For more info, see http://www.dutchsprings.com/lodging.htm. Keep in mind that if you
choose this option instead of camping, you will have to leave the Dutch Springs facility after diving, because they close and lock the gates. (So you’ll miss out on the potluck
dinner and campfire fun.) Anyone not camping or night diving (Saturday only) must leave by 6:00 p.m. See the accompanying PDF document
(dutchsprings_camping_nightdiving.pdf) for more information about closing times, rules about leaving, etc.
Do they do Nitrox fills?
Yes. Fills are $13.