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CHUM Claims the Comal 2019 - Trip Report

Discussion in 'CHUM Trip Reports' started by Siren, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Siren

    Siren Tiger Shark

    CHUM Claims the Comal 2019 Trip Report

    This was my 11th year Julie-ing the CHUM Claims the Comal trip. Every year is uniquely different, with fun and special memories. Despite the Sunday morning rain, I hope my fellow CHUMmers enjoyed this weekend as much as I did. :)

    24% and I arrived at Landa RV Park on Thursday early evening, and began eagerly awaiting our fellow CHUMmers the next day. The river looked beautiful, and my fingers were crossed the weather would hold out so that everyone diving would get to experience a clear Comal.

    JPipes (Jason) was the 1st CHUMmer to arrive on Friday around 12:45pm. He quickly set up camp, and the three of us decided it was a perfect afternoon for a dive. He and 24% staged his truck down at Prince Solms Park for the end of our dive. Once they got back, we geared up and jumped in. It was a warm afternoon, and the water felt like the perfect temperature. The sun was shining brightly, and really illuminated the water. It was crystal blue (not green!!) and the fish and crawfish were a plenty. Some big big big bass were swimming around and possibly a Plecostomus (or a large chunky catfish?) shot by me with tremendous speed. The rays of sun coming through the water made it the brightest and clearest dive I’ve ever done at the Comal. It was a very enjoyable 38 minute dive down to Hinman Island Park. We easily found 12’ depths, which makes me think the Comal is a smidge deeper than normal. Congrats to JPipes for logging his 1st dive in Comal!!

    Once we got back to Landa RV Park, we showered and awaited the rest of our CHUM buddies. Next to arrive was Seaagg05 (Richard) in his BIG 5th wheel that he rented for the weekend. We got him backed in and hooked up, and low and behold….ReefHound & Watermonkee pulled up to their campsite….in the daylight…not the last ones there!! We were all speechless. :p LakeDiver (Jen) arrived shortly after, followed by Volans (Giles) & Vivi, and Legoblox (Simon). We stood around and marveled at Volans’ compact trailer-camper-awning-popout tree house-tent in the sky contraption. ReefHound & Watermonkee left to meet her daughter and family at the Phoenix Saloon, while others popped a top on a cold one and started the Circle’o’CHUM. I made a quick run to the grocery store and picked up pizzas for everybody. We enjoyed a quiet night around the propane firepit, eating pizzas, drinking beer, roasting marshmallows and making smores. Our last CHUMmers to arrive – Murse Shark RN (Phil) and his lovely wife Mrizk (Maya) joined our Circle’o’CHUM around 10pm, and brought the most delicious homemade salsas and chips. Dragon Fruit salsa, and a Papaya Salsa. HOLY YUMMY!!! One by one, as the hours went on, CHUMmers slowly began to fade away back to their tents for some shut eye. The final holdouts (me, 24%, LegoBloxs, Seaagg05, and LakeDiver) finally broke up the circle around 3:40am. There may or may not be video proof of Seaagg05 snoring around the campfire.

    Saturday morning forecast was supposed to rain and rain and rain. The plan was to dive around 11am, but as patches of rain rolled through the area, and we watched the radar, we saw a big enough opening in the storms to get in a dive earlier. As CHUMmers were gearing up, Seaagg05 and JPipes staged their trucks back down at Prince Solms Park, and ReefHound brought them back. We donned all our gear, and 24% was kind enough to wake up and get properly dressed enough to come out and take photos of us getting the water and beginning our dive. Thanks, 24%. I’ll nominate you for CHUMmer of the Year for this generous act of kindness. :D We entered the water way up near the dam and Landa Falls, which made for a slightly longer dive, a more interesting start to the dive with swifter currents and larger boulders to dodge. Most of us were successful in avoiding them, with the exception of LakeDiver whose knee got intimate with one of the larger rocks. That boulder got quite frisky with her, as we later learned it ripped her wetsuit and drew blood. :eek: None of us knew this happened until after the dive. What a trooper!! Buddy teams were me, LakeDiver & JPipes; Seaagg05 & LegoBloxs; and ReefHound & Watermonkee. Volans & Vivi were surface support in their kayak, with Vivi often free diving down to us CHUMmers giving us the “okay” signal before popping back up to the surface. She was such a joy this weekend. :) The sun wasn’t out like it was on the dive the day before, but the cloudiness meant the crawfish were out in full force. We’ve never ever seen this many crawfish. It was almost an invasion. 40 minutes later, with some CHUMmers finding 14’ depths, we all exited at the tube shoot and returned to camp. We all showered before heading out to lunch. Some of us showered TWICE (****Reefhound****) Let’s just say that I walked around the corner to find him standing in front of Seaagg05’s camper SOAKING wet. Drenched, to which I asked “Why are you soaked?!?” I will let him tell his 2nd shower story in a post below. :p:p:p

    Murse Shark RN and Mrizk decided to skip the morning dive and ate a late breakfast at Union Street Café, so they didn’t join us for lunch. They decided to enjoy the afternoon walking around the downtown area and visiting a local pub. JPipes, not wanting to risk the weather forecast, and after logging his 2 dives, decided to break down camp early, and was going to return to Houston after lunch. Murse Shark RN and Mrizk also decided earlier in the day to get a hotel room for Saturday night, so their evening plan was to take their tent down as well. They were going to join us later for our grill out.

    Lunch for the rest of us was at Dos Rios Mexican Restaurant. A few of us stopped off at the grocery store to get goodies for dinner, and we all returned to camp with overly full bellies. LegoBloxs and 24% hung out in the Circle’o’CHUM while Vivi and I played with our hair. Everyone else tried to rest, as it was a lazy few hours of quiet-ish time. :)

    Saturday evening was full on Circle’o’CHUM time. Storms were brewing and building all around us, so we decided to put up 3 EZup tents and moved all our chairs plus 2 picnic tables underneath them so we would be dry no matter what came. We were SO incredibly lucky that all the storms stayed either a mile north and/or a mile south of us. Lots of lightening, but no rain on our Circle’o’CHUM. 24% manned the grill and cooked us hot dogs and brats. Also on the menu was macaroni’n’cheese, potato salad, applesauce, and more of Murse Shark RN’s delicious Papaya and Dragon Fruit salsas. The Circle’o’CHUM lasted only until the late 11o’clock hour. 24% and I spent some time securing the tents for overnight storms before finally heading to bed.

    I awoke at 6:15am to thunder, and after a quick look at the radar and the monster storms that were heading towards us with threats of 50-55mph winds, I startled 24% awake, and we quickly got dressed and ran outside to better secure everything. We waited inside our motorhome for the storms to arrive, closely watching the tents outside to make sure they wouldn’t blow away. Nearing 8am, they hadn’t gone anywhere yet, so we stumbled back to sleep. Apparently, it was at this time that all of our other CHUMmers were waking up to wet tents and tons of rain. They all decided to break down their wet camping gear in the pouring down rain, and stood around wet and cold underneath the tents and awnings deciding what to do. I received a text message that stated everyone wanted an earlier breakfast and that they were headed to Buttermilk Café. 24% and I threw ourselves together, texted Murse Shark RN and Mrizk to wake up and meet us at the restaurant. There was a considerable wait for a table of 12, but the restaurant managed to make us a nice long table in the middle of the back room. The food was warm and yummy which was a welcome sign for our cold wet unhappy CHUMmers. :) The best surprise was having Waterproof (Christa) surprise us at breakfast. She drove down from Austin to join us!! It was awesome seeing her and catching up with all that is new in her life. After a good breakfast with great service, we took a few a pictures, exchanged hugs in the parking lot, and everyone began their return journey to Houston.

    But CHUM Claims the Comal continued. :D Seaagg05 and 24% and I had booked Sunday night at the campground as well. We returned to camp and took a nice long afternoon nap. The 3 of us sat around in the late afternoon totally low key, chatting, and relaxing. We watched what we thought was a baby bobcat stalk one of the deer across the river. The attack luckily never happened. Several other deer ran through camp behind us in the woods, and we watched several birds and squirrels. 24% and I did our bi-annual shuffle of stuff while Seaagg05 supervised and helped move stuff around. We ate all the leftovers from the night before and had a few drinks before wrapping up the weekend at 11pm.

    Seaagg05 pulled away around 7am this morning to head back to Houston, and 24% and I left around noon. Now that the CHUM Claims the Comal 2019 is officially behind us, you may all begin to carry on about the upcoming Red Sea Schmed Sea trip. ;););)

    Oh, and there were trains. :D
  2. Siren

    Siren Tiger Shark

    On a personal note, I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to lead this annual trip. The biggest thing 24% and I miss about living in Houston is our CHUM. I really love being a part of these CHUM Claims the Comal weekends, as it allows me to feel closer to all of you. I continuously check the forum multiple times a day every day to read anything new. Please keep posting about your trips and dives, no matter how small they seem to you, they make me feel more connected. I love being a part of this club. You all should really cherish and appreciate the camaraderie and friendships that have formed over our shared love of diving. This club is priceless.
  3. Heidi Ho

    Heidi Ho CHUM Fan

    And may I add, dear Siren, that your attention to detail on your trip reports makes those of us who couldn't be there feel as if we were.
    Lakediver likes this.
  4. Lakediver

    Lakediver Tiger Shark

    What a great trip report, Siren! Thanks so much for organizing the trip! I had a great time, in spite of my bum knee. I already posted the pics that I took, including Seaagg05 and LegoBlox snoozing in the Circle o' CHUM! :D
  5. ReefHound

    ReefHound CHUM President Staff Member

    It was a wet weekend. As it has been the last 3 or 4 times we've camped. Our tent is trash. I suppose there's no way to completely avoid wet and muddy stuff when packing up in the rain though. The company made it all worth it. Weather was nicer than expected Friday night and Saturday night.

    My second shower: We showered after the dive to go out to lunch. We had a short torrential downpour but we were dry under SeaAggs awning. Texted siren that we were all ready to go, SeaAgg decided to retract the awning in case of winds. I was standing just under the edge and about 30 gallons of water on the awning dumped on top of me. I was shocked and and jumped a few steps into an even bigger waterfall. I may have some some bad words. I was not happy but soon saw the humor and only wished someone had caught it on video. A quick change of clothes and we headed to lunch.

    The dive was nice. Tons of crawfish posing as baby lobsters. Tested out a new pair of fins and they did well. Was plenty warm in a 1mm full with 3/2mmm shorty, since my 3mm full decided to retire in Costa Rica.
    Seaagg05, Sushi Boy and Lakediver like this.
  6. Lakediver

    Lakediver Tiger Shark

    JPipes and I had a ton of fun playing with the crawfish! They are so funny! Totally unrelated, I've been craving crawfish ever since that dive :D
  7. Siren

    Siren Tiger Shark

    A gallery has been created for our CHUM Claims the Comal pictures. Lakediver, any chance you can link those pictures to this gallery, too?
    Lakediver likes this.
  8. Lakediver

    Lakediver Tiger Shark

    I just moved my pics over to the new gallery. You need to upload your pics, lady!!
  9. Seaagg05

    Seaagg05 Vice President Staff Member

    My mistake, I thought you hadn’t had your shower yet, can’t be too clean!
    Siren and Lakediver like this.
  10. JPipes

    JPipes Tiger Shark

    I had a great weekend hanging out with y'all, it was everything I hoped for. It was a great introduction to the group, from the experience to the stories told, it is a really unique crowd.

    There were a few trains...ha yeah more like that is one of the most vital rail routes in the country. As far as I know they stopped running once I went to sleep, I didn't hear one, proof I sleep through anything.

    Saturday's dive brought a new experience to my resume. While gliding along I ran face first into a fishing line. The split shot weights on the line hit my regulator and gave me enough warning to find the line before being hooked in my face. I rolled around while reaching for a cutter and got the questioning look from Lakediver about what was going on. Snipped it and took a look at my catch. I had the hook with a live minnow attached to the line. And yes I am ready for crawfish this weekend after watching so many last.

    Siren & 24% thanks again for an awesome time and warm greeting Friday.
    Heidi Ho likes this.
  11. wanderwoman

    wanderwoman Tiger Shark

    I was so sad to miss this year! Thanks, Siren, for a trip report that allowed me to enjoy the weekend vicariously. I look forward to the 2020 Chum Claims the Comal trip.
    Lakediver and Siren like this.
  12. Siren

    Siren Tiger Shark

    I have uploaded all my topside and underwater camera photos in the gallery. I smiled collecting all of these photos, thankful for such a fun weekend with my CHUMmers. :)

    Here is our one and only full group photo! :p:p:p

    CHUM Panarama.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  13. LegoBloxs

    LegoBloxs Tiger Shark

    This was the first time in a few years my schedule has worked out to get to CHUM Claims the Comal and I was looking forward to it. Leaving work on Friday I took a quick detour home to get the last of my stuff before venturing into the Friday afternoon traffic and was pleasantly surprised there was none, well very little, and after a pleasant drive through Bastrop I pulled in with daylight to spare to set up home for the weekend. A few bent tent pegs latter and I was ready for a beer in the sunshine, this felt like it was going to be a nice weekend.
    Pizza and smores courtesy of Siren began an evening of conversation and tall tales until well into Saturday morning. Saturday dawned and after some coffee set about getting my gear set up for the dive and then looking over Volans's camp trailer. Dive time came around and I had plans for a nice relaxing dive, no camera, no dry suit, single tank, just drifting along. Gearing up after the initial shock of water getting in my suit we were ready to go, has it been that long since I last dove wet? Being out of the main flow, the new entry point was easy for the group to stay together before we set out and offered an interesting high-flow area right at the start. The dive itself proved very relaxing as Seagg05 and I drifted down the river playing with the craw-fish.
    I'll not double up on what Siren has already posted but a hard afternoon of snoozing in the sunshine, occasional showers, hot dogs and more of Murse Shark RN's amazing salsa I turned in happy on Saturday night and slept like a log. Then the rain started with a bit more determination. Oh well, more coffee and packing up a bunch of wet camp equipment signaled time for leisurely breakfast and a chance to let the weather pass.
    I had hoped for a relaxing weekend and it certainly delivered. Thank you so much to Siren for leading and I hope to get back next year.
    Siren and Lakediver like this.
  14. Heidi Ho

    Heidi Ho CHUM Fan

    ALL the pictures are great - poor Lakediver's boo boo knee, though...

    Also, love Vivi's CHUM name - Freediver :)

    Thanks again for sharing the stories and pics.
    Lakediver likes this.
  15. Lakediver

    Lakediver Tiger Shark

    Not to worry, it is mending quickly! I'm already able to bend my knee again and walk normally, which is a vast improvement from this weekend. I'm even sitting Indian-style right now ... no way I could have done that a few days ago!

    Also, a big thanks to my fellow CHUMmers for helping me out! Siren made me ice packs, LegoBloxs loaded my tank back into the trunk, Seaagg05 helped me break down my tent, etc. I know these sound like small things, but they were a huge help to me. You guys are the best!
  16. Lakediver

    Lakediver Tiger Shark

    I just went through all of Siren's pics ... holy smokes! I had no idea you took so many! I feel like I just relived the whole weekend again!
    Siren and JPipes like this.
  17. Siren

    Siren Tiger Shark

    "Siren, Lakediver. Lakediver, Siren." --official introduction
    Lakediver and Sushi Boy like this.
  18. Heidi Ho

    Heidi Ho CHUM Fan

  19. Seaagg05

    Seaagg05 Vice President Staff Member

    Holy cow, when did you take all of those! One doesn’t even need to attend anymore, you captured everything!
    Lakediver likes this.
  20. Lakediver

    Lakediver Tiger Shark

    She's sneaky!!!

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