Bear Lake: Manawa, WI –     June 2019

Max Depth: 24 ft. Bottom Temp: 49 degrees

Bear Lake

This was our first dive without a  dive master. We met up with the group Diver’s Realm.  We thought we would be going as a group, we started out following two experienced divers but lost them quickly. This was also our first time using a dive flag and in a lake with boat traffic. 

We had brand new tanks to try out and were nervous and excited! There was a small decline going in near the dock and as he was going in, husband buddy suddenly slipped down the decline and fell backwards on his brand new tank! Thankfully he was not hurt and just scraped the tank a little bit. 

After that hiccup we had a great dive. The visibility was slightly yellowish and hard to see at some times, probably because we kicked up the bottom. We made it out and around for just over an hour! It was a lot of fun after the initial nerves passed. 

The other divers found some awesome bottles, one labeled with the date 1957, some anchors, cans, and old fins. We did see a school of pan fish which was a highlight and I almost ran into a tree underwater. 

This lake is one I would like to return to and explore more! 


























Lodging: Divine or Dive?

Where we stayed:

Our open water certification dives were in South Beloit, IL. We had quite a drive and two days of diving. We chose to drive down on Friday and spend two nights at the Hampton Inn, Janesville.  We were unable to book a room closer to our dive site, we were about 24 minutes away from Pearl Lake. We paid between $120-$130 dollars a night. 

Rating Scale:

1: Dive to 10: Divine

Our rating: 6


Pro: Cleanliness and space

Pro: Continental breakfast, coffee options with fun cups!

Con: Not near dive site

Pros and Cons:

When we decide where to stay we are not planning on being there much. The majority of our days are spent diving.  

The pros included; cleanliness, enough space to hang our dive gear in between dives, and awesome continental breakfast,constant coffee with lots of options.

The cons include; distance from our dive site, not the most budget friendly. 


Open Water Certification Dives

Pearl Lake: South Beliot, IL – May 2019


Want to find out about where we stayed? Click Here

Excitement, fear, excitement, hope (that I remember everything). One main fear I have is not being able to see. Not being able to see the bottom, not being able to see something approaching me, not being able to see something touching me. 

There was a poster that I saw when I was teaching and it gave me that adrenaline stomach flip just from looking at it. It encapsulates my fear of not being able to see!

With that in mind, we surface swam out to a dive flag that marked the training platform we were diving to. I’m next to Zach, my mask is on, and I look down… then immediately look of with a look of panic in my eyes, enough that zach sees me and asks if I’m ok.  I pull it together, stop looking down, and take some deep breaths.

Thankfully there was a line connected to the dive flag that we descended along. We made it down to the platform. We start going through, one by one, practicing the skills we need to know. Things like mask removal, removing and replacing regulators etc. Somewhere in the skills we were practicing, I look over and see Zach with what seems like a free flowing regulator. Picture all the air from the tank coming out of the regulator at once. He moves to his octopus which then also starts to free flow. I froze. I regret not grabbing him and giving him my octo. He does an emergency ascent and we all ascend as well. (Find out more from his perspective in a future blog post.) It turned out the temperature of the water (very cold!) affected his regulator and caused it to free flow. He got a one of the extra regulators attached to his gear and eventually joined back in to practice skills.

My dive notes are slim for the four dives we did that day. I have written for the first dive, “There were fish I didn’t see any.” It was a lot of information and skills to process. Plus it was COLD! We took warm water in thermal mugs to make tea and have something warm to drink in between dives. The first three dives were all different skills that were required to complete so the dive masters could sign off on our certifications. The fourth dive was supposed to be ours to plan, “plan the dive and dive the plan” is the phrase used a lot. However everyone was cold and a storm was rolling in so it was short.

At the end of two days of dives we were certified! 

~Wife Buddy


Day One

Getting certified. Day one, at the dive shop classroom. Book review and test. I brought Jolly Ranchers and shared. There was a lot of reading, correcting, and talking. 


Day Two and Three

Pool. The first time breathing underwater felt rushed and crazy. I thought, “Ok we are just going to do this” and the rest was a blur! That first time underwater I felt like I was just going to tip over and ‘turtle’ (picture a turtle stuck on it’s back), and I was just trying to stay under. There were lots of skills practiced and then it was time to go. Exhaustion! We slept so well that night! I was just as excited to start again the next day. We started with a 200 yd swim (NOT with any equipment on) and a 10 minute float/tread. After getting our regulators, BCDs, and tanks hooked up it was back underwater! It seemed so much more comfortable and we got to spend a lot more of our day underwater. We finished the day playing catch underwater with another diver. Our pool dives were complete! Then after stuffing our faces at Noodles  and Co. we made our way back to reality, anxiously awaiting our open water dives! 

The Details

  • We worked with Underwater Connection in Menomonee Falls, WI.  
  • We were certified through PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). 
  • Before our in class book review and test, we had to read and complete a workbook with quizzes and watch several videos.  


Husband Buddy


Wife Buddy