In February '11, The Edge Diving Centre hosted a scuba ice diving trip to Edmonton, Alberta. On this trip, divers were certified in ice and altitude diving.
Narrow Lake was our destination, located just outside of Edmonton for the two days of diving. The lake is at 2290 ft elevation. We were lucky with the weather which remained sunny and a balmy -8 degrees celsius as opposed to the -20 degrees celsius the weekend before.
What drew me to ice diving was the opportunity to try a unique type of diving that involves a group of people working together, such as ice shovelers, drillers, chainsaw operators, and line tenders. It is a team activity. Because it involves diving in an overhead environment, ice diving requires advanced diver training.
The diver below is tied to a line that is tendered by somebody at the surface. That diver is then attached to their dive buddy on the same line or have a separate line than their buddy or guide. This is considered to be a safe form of diving because you are connected to your buddy above and below the ice. Through line pull signals, the line tender is able to communicate with the diver.
Diver to Tender:
2 Pulls = Give me slack
3 Pulls = Take up slack
4 Pulls = Pull me up
5 Pulls = Emergency
Tender to Diver:
2 Pulls = End of rope
3 Pulls = Time is up
4 Pulls = Come up
Looking up at the surface, and watching our bubbles gather in pools under the ice was mesmerizing. While there was not much to see below, the experience was one that will bring me back again and again.