By Mike Fabish
When my wife, Kim, attended a bridal shower in June of 2011 in Oregon, OH, it gave me the chance to visit White Star Quarry (www.whitestarquarry.com) in nearby Gibsonburg. Since it was only about 20 miles away, I hoped to make the quick trip to check it out. At the very least, I would scope out the facility for future excursions, but I threw my dive gear in the van, just in case, and hit the road.
The county park the quarry is part of was very impressive. Not only is there the quarry with lots of dive sites, full service air fills/rentals, but also a full beach and campground to round out the package. The day was sunny and about 80 F and the water looked clear. Only one problem; the county does not allow solo diving. So, with divers everywhere, I chose an area near the crusher pit/tunnel to see if I could find other divers to “tag along” with to get a quick dive in.
I was in luck; I came across 3 divers, still dressed in their wet suits enjoying their surface interval from their first dive. I introduced myself, asked if they were going back in any time soon, and would it be OK if I joined them? They said they were planning to start their 2nd dive in 30-40 minutes and welcomed me to be a part of it. In our group shot, from left to right, they are: Norris Medley, Vernon Beard, myself, and Gary McGee. They had taken the less than one hour drive from Detroit to do some diving. Gary and Vernon are seasoned divers; Norris the newest diver in the group. Gary and I hit the crusher pit and tunnel (the deepest dive in the quarry; hitting 71’) while Vernon and Norris explored the opening where we would emerge. We then continued my “guided tour” and surfaced 37 minutes later.
I didn’t have very long after the dive to get to know my new dive buddies (I had to get back to retrieve Kim from the shower) but learned that Gary (I think Vernon and Norris, too) is a member of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) and part of M.A.S.K.; the Michigan African-American Scuba Klub and is certified in advanced openwater, cave and Tri-Mix diving. We talked briefly about Michigan dive sites, exchanged business cards, and I invited them to check out our website and to keep the Munising dive trip in mind if they wanted to head north in August. With that, we took our group photo, and I started back very happy to have made the trip, the dive, and met new friends.