For some time now, our friend Georg has been an enthusiastic scuba diver, who practices this hobby with great enthusiasm and a lot of willingness to learn and practice.
In addition to his job, scuba diving has become his favourite pastime, which fills him with great joy and the associated zest for action. In addition to diving destinations in Egypt, Turkey and Croatia, Georg is always looking for nearby destinations to pursue his hobby. Safety and environmental protection are the top priorities, so it is clear that diving should only be tackled with a "body", i.e. a diving crew of at least two people. Last week we had the opportunity to accompany Georg on a dive at the Friedberger quarry pond near Augsburg.
Water quality usually for excellent underwater visibility
The Friedberger quarry pond is located just north of the B300 between Augsburg -Hochzoll and Friedberg at about 480 meters above sea level. Locals also call the lake Kreisisee or simply Friedberger See. After our short journey, we already meet some divers who are present at the lake and belong to Georg's circle of acquaintances. Members of a local diving school are also active at the lake for training purposes. The Friedberger quarry pond is popular with divers due to its above-average depth of between 12 and 15 meters, since the great water depth and the associated water quality usually ensure excellent underwater visibility of over 10 meters. The underwater landscape, which is marked by cliffs and faults, also offers a good incentive for hobby divers. The diving club belonging to the lake has long since set up a map with artificial targets drawn on it to increase the attractiveness for recreational athletes under water. However, the Friedberger quarry pond is also known for other leisure activities, such as a heavily frequented water ski facility, playgrounds and sunbathing areas, toilets and shower facilities, which make the lake and its bathing facilities of over 18 hectares of water an interesting local recreation area. Of course there is also a lifeguard station.
Diving yesterday and today
From our investigations into the history of human settlements in Turkey, we know that human development has always had a strong connection to water, be it settlements on lakes, rivers or the sea and the related availability of food in the form of fish and mussels or crabs. So it's no wonder that people wanted to venture into regions under water early on. From archaeological finds we know of free divers in East Asia, India and the Arabian Sea, who dived under water around 4500 BC to find pearls, mother-of-pearl, sponges or corals. To this day, diving for the delicious awabi mussels is a widespread tradition in the Japanese prefecture of Mie. The so-called Amah mermaids bring the mussels to the surface from great depths without snorkels and compressed air.
From around 2500 BC, diving also found its way to Europe, where sponges were first dived in Greece. These animals were harvested in large quantities, because it was quickly learned that the skeletons of the so-called horny sponges are free of needles and consist of a network of flexible spongin fibers. The cell material is dissolved and flushed out using a special process. This process is called maceration. The spongy skeleton that remains behind is very suitable as a bath sponge due to its special absorbency.
Ballast of lead helps underwater
At the time of the Persian wars, diving was used for the first time for military purposes. Around 450 BC there were the first Greek naval combat divers who were supposed to approach enemy ships and drill into them in order to sink them. ancient Aristotle was the first to describe the system of a diving bell. He had observed Greek sponge divers in the region of today's Bodrum, who used the air supply in the bell to stay under water for a longer period of time. It is also said that Alexander the Great attempted diving with a diving bell.
Another 200 years later, Archimedes discovered and interpreted the laws of buoyancy, which are so important for divers and ships. It was the year 250 BC when Archimedes discovered that the buoyant force of a body is just as great as the mass of water displaced by the body's weight. The physical correctness of this legislation, which is named "Archimedes' principle" and which every diver must understand, apply and be able to control, still applies today: balancing one's own body underwater to achieve the state of levitation. Every diver takes a certain ballast of lead with him under water, which is then balanced by forcing air into the diving vest depending on the depth.
Around 60 AD, the Roman general, politician and scholar Pliny the Elder, who also wanted to build a canal between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, used Archimedes' findings for his combat divers. He had them outfitted with snorkels and weights that allowed them to swim underwater for longer periods.
Georg and his diving colleagues have put on their diving equipment
In the centuries that followed, these, like many other techniques from antiquity, were completely "forgotten". Only about 2,000 years later did the Greek Scyllias use an inverted cauldron corresponding to the myth when searching for sunken ships to salvage their valuable cargo. Should this myth ever be confirmed, Scyllias would be the first scuba diver in human evolution.
Only in modern times could diving be "discovered" again. In the 1950s and 1960s, it was above all the German researchers Lotte and Hans Hass and the Frenchman Jaques-Yves Cousteau who developed the first practical diving equipment and made it usable. With this development, diving as a popular sport also progressed and the first diving organizations were able to emerge.
But now back to the Friedberger quarry pond, where Georg and his diving colleagues had meanwhile put on their diving equipment and were on their way into the lake. Devices and equipment were checked quickly and professionally, cylinder pressure and navigation were coordinated. The first dive could begin.
Georg proudly presented his logbook
After about 20 minutes under water, the group of four around Georg came back, but a little disappointed because the visibility today was just a little more than 50 centimetres. Probably the heat of the last few days had caused too much algae to develop, which clearly visibly colored the water a bit. But maybe the many bathers were also responsible for the fact that too much fine sediment was simply whirled up and the water clouded over. The underwater photos we brought with us allowed us to explore the poor visibility under water in both ways.
The technical data for the dive was entered into the so-called logbook and confirmed by the diving buddy or "body" with a signature and stamp. In addition to his signature, each diver has a personal stamp, which also contributes to his identification. Each dive is recorded neatly and thus also serves as proof of one's own activities. Georg proudly presented his logbook, which now contained 37 dives.
After a short rest and brief conversations with other divers present, Georg's group got ready again for the next dive. Compressed air was still sufficient. This time it went in the opposite direction in Friedberger quarry pond, which hopefully had a better view.
Coordinates Friedberger Baggersee♁48° 21′ 45″ N, 10° 57′ 51″ E
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