Long Island, New York Scuba Diving

Our Long Island Scuba diving adventures and events

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Bridge Jumper - A Ponquogue Bridge Dive

Yesterday, I found myself at the Ponquogue Bridge. As usual I had gotten there early so I had plenty of time to check out the conditions and watch the tide. I was on the North side of the channel where there is less fisherman and divers. It’s a much longer swim to some of the sites but I’ve become accustomed to it. On this day the bay water was a very sloppy green with tons of seaweed mixed in. The prospect of swimming the 100yds to blue water in the main channel was not something I was looking forward to.
As always, I took a walk to the end of the bridge to check the conditions in the channel. Amazingly there was a clear line between the green bay water and the fresh ocean water of the channel and it was only five feet from the end of the bridge. I also noticed that someone had torn down a few feet of chain link fence from the end of the bridge and now the low rail was very exposed and accessible. Peering over the rail down to the water I estimated a drop of nine feet or so. I stood there for a few minutes working out the execution of something I clearly thought I would dismiss from my mind. However, when I put the pieces together it worked out. I knew I could handle the drop even if I belly flopped and there didn’t seem to be anything I could snag on. The only real issue was climbing up and over the rail with all my gear and weight on. From there I would have to get into a sitting position and just tip forward a little with a slight push from my feet. In the worst case I figured I would tip over backward and land on the bridge again.
With the physics worked out, I walked back to my gear still believing I would bail on the whole idea. But I found myself gearing up and walking back to the end of the bridge. The fisherman on the bridge looked a little cross-eyed as I casually strolled past them in full regalia and armed with a speargun. In moments I was climbing the rail and swing my fins over to the outer side. It was a little precarious balancing there for the 10 seconds it took for me to make sure nothing was hanging loose. I had gathered all my gear and mask and belt and had a good grip on all of them. And then over I went and landed with an uneventful splash. I half wanted to give an OK sign but quickly realized the fishermen might mistake it for water ballet and pelt me with sinkers.
A quick “phsst and a gargle” from my BC and I was on the bottom. In two kicks I was in clear water with a full tank.
I went on to have a very long relaxing dive. I hit the pipe field, the new bridge and everything in between. I even took a few Fluke for the table. When I came out an hour later most of the fishermen were still there and they were waiting for me. It seems my dramatic entrance had somehow inspired them and they wanted to ask questions and see if I caught anything. I passed out a few lures I had picked up off the bottom. I figured it was good diplomacy and they were sure grateful.
Anyway, that’s the story of the day I jumped off the Ponoquogue Bridge. I don’t recommend it and I hate to think of some Schmuck getting hurt trying to duplicate it. After all, I am a professional. With just the right amount off idiot mixed in to make it fun.

2 Comments:

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger Dig This! said…

    Hi Matt,

    I'm a new free-diver. Just got basic certification at PFI in florida. Looking to free-dive on long island. Where would you rec?

    You can e-mail me at kelly.ordinaryartblog.com

    Thanks,
    Kelly

     
  • At 5:44 AM, Blogger Maninirosha Thala said…





    That's interesting! Can you please share more about it? Thank you.



    Scuba Diving in Andaman

     

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