> Last summer I enrolled in the Advanced Open Water Diver course offered at the dive shop (for non-divers, this is sort of the equivalent of getting a real driver’s license after driving with the “Cinderella license” — instead of being limited to 18 meters, I can now dive to 30.) I was almost finished but due to time and weather constraints, we had to leave the last day of the course until this summer, and yesterday I finally finished up all the required dives and theory, at this lake, der Plansee, in northwest Tirol.
The last dive was a “deep dive”–Michael, the instructor, took me down to 30 meters (app. 100 feet) and asked me to do some very simple tasks, in order to see if I was affected by nitrogen narcosis. The extra nitrogen which enters your bloodstream after a certain depth can make you feel drunk, giddy, stupid, give you tunnel vision, or perhaps a funny metallic taste in your mouth. It’s all temporary and has no lasting effects, as long as you don’t do anything stupid. I felt nothing unusual and he said my reactions seemed just fine.
At 29 meters there’s an old sunken rowboat to check out. My beau was following us, taking photographs of us and of some interesting plant formations we passed.
There were also tons of little perch in shallower areas, and they swim right up to you. This lake (like many others) also supposedly has a spot (officially off-limits) where one can find small WW2 artifacts, such as ammunition. One lake has an RAF plane in it (too deep for recreational divers), another a car that retreating Nazis left behind and the locals pushed into the water, fearing bombs from the air raids. It’s now a popular landmark for the local sports divers.

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