Category: Water

Safety First at the Polar Plunge

January 1st might be National Polar Bear Swim Day, but Saturday, February 18, 2017 is the day to mark on your calendar. It is the one day of the year when you can watch perfectly reasonable human beings – attorneys, firefighters, high school students, engineers and retirees – purposely walk, jump, skip or even swish into frigidly cold water. For ten years this wild behavior has been going on. And all to benefit Special Olympics.

http://soindiana-rod.org/polarplunge/

Whether the skies are sunny or the snow is blowing, folks will head out to Versailles State Park for the annual Polar Plunge next month. However, before any of the participants can enter the lake, local divers cut through 9” of solid ice to clear the plunge area.

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Between the preparation and the start of the event, emergency personnel check and recheck their gear while experienced divers drink plenty of water and relax.

Every dive demands pre-planning, training and focus. The water rescue team outfits each rescue truck with everything necessary for all kinds of emergencies including dark water, swift water and ice rescues.

 

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Gear like these lines and chain saws are tested frequently and maintained scrupulously to ensure the safety of the divers and the person – or animal – being rescued.

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Each diver is only one part of a large, cohesive team. Even getting dressed properly requires a group effort.

 

Testing gear, communicating with the team and being alert are three vital aspects of any dive.

 

 

 

 

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Clearing the Polar Plunge area of debris that can injure a participant, or impede a rescue is an ongoing process.

 

 

 

 

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The divers share a bond that is difficult to describe. Words like ‘family’, ‘brotherhood’, ‘tight’ cannot define the shared life and death experiences these men and women face regularly in and out of the water as part of the Team.

Everyone has a job to do – from hauling gear, drying lines and inspecting the dive site.

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Once in the frigid water, the team does another sweep before getting into position.

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Almost ready …

 

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Another successful, safe – and fun – Polar Plunge!

To learn about upcoming Polar Plunges in your area, please visit:

http://www.specialolympics.org/Calendar/Polar_Plunge_Events.aspx

To learn more about Rescue Diving, please visit:

http://www.rescuediver.org/Classes/rd-stand.htm

X Marks the Spot Along the Ohio River

The story of the Ohio River has never been straight and clear. Like the waterway itself, the history of the river meanders and rolls, falls and loops about again. This is a river alive with the spirit of Native Americans; moving with the enterprise of frontier families, yet still learning to balance the demands of commerce with the fragility of nature.

R Rising Sun West

Be forewarned – there is a robbers’ lair tucked into the banks of the Ohio River. Named Cave-In-Rock by notorious pirate and murderer Samuel Mason, this once violent site is now a peaceful addition to the Illinois State Park system. Visitors often stay in  comfortable cabins while exploring the nearby iron furnace, or the Garden of the Gods.

Located in Clarksville, Indiana, the once impressive 26 foot drop in elevation along two and one half miles of the Ohio River is now an educational site where fossils more than 390 million years old are preserved. Due to the fluctuating water levels of the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is best visited in late summer and through early winter.

The public is invited to learn more about the Ohio River where it flows through Southeastern Indiana when independent filmmaker Dennis Neary presents his film, Take the River, at the Lawrenceburg Public Library on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6:00PM.

S is for Surf

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I love the shore and the mountains, but the ocean might be even more precious to me than the Smokies. The seaside is where I come from since I grew up near Atlantic City – before the gambling, before the noise and commotion, and before the too-big-buildings got in the way of the beautiful sea.

It’s been a very long time since I walked along the New Jersey shore, but I have vivid memories of playing in the clean sand and splashing in the salty water. I loved every minute spent near the ocean, and still feel best whenever I am near water.

In celebration of Earth Day, and in honor of today’s letter S, join me in South Carolina where the surf is calling our names, and the beaches are waiting for us.

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