Diving has been on hold

November 16, 2009
Since the end of 2008 I have been unable to dive.

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No Diving in March

March 30, 2007
I might as well go shoot myself since I havent' been able to dive!

No dives in February

February 28, 2007
No diving this month either--damn!

No dives in January

January 31, 2007
Again, those darn work and family aspects of my life have interfered!

No Dives in December

December 30, 2006
Too much family, Holiday cheer and overall tiredness from work.

No Dives in November

November 30, 2006
Too much to do at work, business trips and family.

Dusk and Night Dive at Breakwater

October 14, 2006
Today (2006/10/14) we; Julie, Glenn and I; dove breakwater at dusk and then at night. We were hoping to see the shift in active animal species between day (diurnal animals) and night (nocturnal animals). So dive planning involved finding out when the sun was predicted to set (predicted time was 6:33pm), the phase of the moon (we had less than last quarter) and then counting backwards from sunset for a half hour serface interval (6:00pm), and subtract about 40 minutes for our first dive (5:20pm entry time). We arrived at 4:00pm with overcast skies. We parked on the breakwater (lot 2) where we suit up for our dusk (crepuscular) dive.

Our dusk dive started when we walked into the ocean at around 5:00pm followed by a 10 minute surface swim to our drop point. We all brought our lights for this dive. Glenn had bought a new housing for his digital camera to give it a try. We decended with our lights on and came to rest in 30 feet of water. It was still too bright underwater to see the bioluminescence so we swam off on our heading of 70°. Glenn captured some nice pictures and videos while on this dive. During the dive we saw the nearly ubiquitous Pachycerianthus fimbriatus, there was very little Macrocystis sp. or other types of alga, of course there was Calliarthron sp. (red coralline alga), there was only one or two Phalacrocorax pelagicus (pelagic cormorant), Cryptochiton stelleri were found on the rocks of the breakwater, Citharichthys sp. (Sanddab), many Paralabrax clathratus (kelp bass), Cymatogaster aggregata (shiner surfperch), and another fish I could not identify. The unknown fish was 5-6" long, only 3/4-1" wide at the head and swam like an eel. We surfaced about 5:45 and swam back to shore. We were back on shore about 6:00. [Max. Depth 46 feet for 34 minutes]

Our nocturnal dive started with us walking in at 6:30pm and swimming out along the breakwater for 10 minutes. At this point it was dark enough to see a small amount of bioluminescence while on the surface thanks to the cloud/fog covering the moon and stars. We dropped down into 30 feet of water again and gathered together. We switched off our lights and waved our hands through the water to see the faint blue (some people see a faint green or white color) bioluminescence of the zooplankton. Afterwards, we switched our lights back on and swam on the same heading as the first dive (70°). We quickly ran into another group underwater. They were heading in the opposite direction which meant we were going to be swimming through all of the junk they stirred up--it knocked our flashlight vis down in half. The junk settled out of the water quickly and we found ourselves near the breakwater. There were fish hanging near motionless in the water column like stars. When we shone our lights near them, they swam for cover. On the seafloor between the Pachycerianthus fimbriatus was many clusters of tiny ball-bearings reflecting a copper color. On closer examination the ball-bearings turned out to be the eyes of Neotrypaea californiensis (Bay ghost shrimp). During this dive, I believe I was mistaken when I thought I saw a Holocentrus sp. (squirrelfish) belonging to the Holocentridae family. It was more likely a Sebastes spp. (Rockfish) belonging to the Scorpaenidae family. [Surface interval of 40 minutes, Max. Depth 49 feet for 34 minutes]

No Dives in September

September 01, 2006
Too much to do with family and job.

Monastery North Rocks

August 26, 2006
Today we were at Monastery (north side) for an advanced dive. The underwater topology at this site make this an advanced dive. The entry can be a truly hazardous entry. There is a steep sloped dune that leads to the water's edge. A short wave wash zone and a quick drop off from knee deep to chest deep. The underwater canyon comes very close to shore here so that there is a potential to go well below the recreational diving maximum of 130 feet. The tide, weather and waves cooperated with us on this dive day. It was foggy with a light wind coming off the ocean. The waves, surf and swells were minimal; we still walked in backwards with our fins on though.

On our first dive, we planned to swim out along the edge of the kelp (heading 330) and drop down near the canyon and go below 100 feet followed by an ascent back to 60 feet for the rest of the dive. We put our masks and fins on at the edge of the surf and backed into the waves. While we kicked out to the edge of the kelp, two white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens) swam near us. The pair were swiming and jumping out of the water. Once we made it to the edge of the kelp, we descended. We followed a heading of 330 along the rocks. The horizontal vis was amazing, 40 feet with fog covered sky! We came across all sorts of things on our first dive. We saw Parastichapus californicus (California Sea Cucumber), Archidoris montereyensis (Lemon Dorid Nudibranch), Pycnopodia helianthoides (Sun Starfish), Julie saw another eel that Glenn and I didn't see, coryanactis anemones, burrowning anemones, strawberry anemones, Cryptochiton sp. (Gumboot Chitons), Asterina miniata (Bat Stars), Loxorhynchus grandis (Sheep Crabs), Loxorhynchus crispatus (Decorator Crabs), Ophiodon elongatus (Lingcod), other fish, and some mollusks that I can't identify yet. These unknows were white exposed shells about 3-4 inches long with three large keels. One running dorsomedially and the two others running down the sides giving the shell an overall circular profile when viewed fro the top down and a half circle when viewed from the side. Each keel was 3/4 inch in height. We kept swimming at 330 and reached the edge-of-the-world. The edge of the canyon was at 80 feet. I looked over the edge and saw a rocky plateau and decided to head down to it. I watched my depth gauge tick up toward 101 feet where I came to rest on the rock. Julie and Glenn followed me down. We spent only 1 minute at depth and headed back toward the rocks and kelp at 65 feet. We ascended and spent 5 minutes at 15 feet to off gas. The dolphins were nearby during our exit swim. Glenn walked out onto the beach while Julie and I crawled out. [Depth 101 feet, Time 31 minutes]

Our second dive was planned as another exploratory seach through the rocks. This time we put our masks on at the edge of the water again, but Gelnn and I walked in while Julie backed into the water. We swam out to the edge of the kelp and descended to 35 feet. Again we headed out at 330. We swam along the outside of the rocks and we also penetrated into the kelp bed. We saw many of the same things except Julie did not see an eel this time. The horizontal visability had worsened a little (now only 30 feet). This was a great dive. Our surface swim back was uneventful. We sat outside of the shore break and counted the big waves. Julie started for shore first and crawled out. Glann left next and crawled out. I opted to walk out this time. [Surface Interval 1:30, Depth 69 feet, Time 33 minutes]

McAbee Beach

July 29, 2006
The weather was not so good today (7/29). It was foggy and the sun was not breaking through, but it was not too cold. I picked up Julie at 6:30am and drove down to the usual parking lot across from El Torito on Cannery Row. Parking was $10.00 for the day; later they raised the price to $20.00. Our two other dive buddies; Jay and Glenn, along with Glenn's girlfriend and her sister; showed up at 8:30am. The sisters were our personal photographers.

We all got into our gear and headed down to the shore. The plan was to make two dives at around 40 feet. That was not going to happen. As it turns out, the area was overgrown with kelp and other alga. About 200 yards offshore, there was a kelp wall that was helping to keep the wave action down, but it also provided a nearly inpenetrable barrier too.

After a not-so-thorough buddy check (alert! alert!), our dive plan was to head out 60 to the edge of the kelp and work our way west along the kelp wall. We descended into average visibility (surface vis: 10 feet horizontal, bottom visL 10 feet horizontal). At the bottom we started working west and didn't see anything more interesting than alga and kelp. There were a few fish (surf perch). At one point, I turned around to check how everyone was doing and to check air supply. Everyone was doing well and had plenty of air. We surfaced because visibility was making it difficult for four people to dive as a group. At the surface, I divided the group into two primary buddy pairs. We took a new heading (120) and started our descent again. I tried to penetrate the kelp wall, but thought better of it. It was so dark and thick with kelp stipes that it would have made diving too dangerous with a group of four. Our primary buddy pairs got separated during this time. James and I made a one minute search and headed for the surface. Julie and Glenn surfaced later. Glenn's BCD was not power inflating so we cut the dive short. [Depth 19 feet Time 18 minutes]

Jay could stay for only one dive, so the three of us headed down to the shore to do buddy checks. This time, Glenn's BCD was working properly. Our plan was to head out 70 to the edge of the kelp wall and work west again. This time, the visibility was better at the surface and at depth. We descended onto more algae covered rocks and started swimming on a heading of 330. We crossed over one of the old Cannery Row waste pipes that run from shore out to deeper water (60). Then we passed over a sandy area. With a quick brush of my hand over the sand, I revealed a number of cowries burried just underneath the top layer of sand. We headed farther west and actually found a less dense portion of the kelp wall. We penetrated the wall and proceeded to do an air check. Glenn had plenty and I had plenty. While Julie was reading her gauge, Glenn and I started pointing vigorously toward Julie. She though we were trying to rush her, but we were pointing out a harbor seal. We all watched the seal swim around us (at a distance of two body lengths). We turned our course back out of the kelp wall. We surfaced because I was becoming to positively bouyant. We took a new heading of 170 which would take us back to the sandy area and then we would head into shore (270). Julie took the lead so that when I was unable to descend, the dive could continue. Julie lead us back to the sand and right back to the waste pipe. We turned toward shore to finish our dive. On the way back, I did some litter removal. I found a party cup and a coat; I deposited the coat on the beach and the cup I tossed into the trash. [Depth 19 feet. Time 26 minutes]

Boat dive on the Escapade

June 25, 2006
Julie T. and I made our way down to Monterey on Sunday (6/25) for a boat dive. We boarded the Escapade at 8:15 and we headed out into a cold and foggy sea to our first dive spot. The captain chose Chase Reef for our first dive. Later we went to Playground.

Chase Reef was a good spot for a sunny day, but with little sunlight above, the bottom was dark. Our descent down the anchor line dropped us into a dark abyss. The bottom (at 86 feet) came up quickly once our eyes adjusted. At depth, we have 10-15 feet of horizontal visibility. We took a heading west into deeper water along the reef. We saw Parastichapus californicus (California Sea Cucumber), Archidoris montereyensis (Lemon Dorid Nudibranch), Pycnopodia helianthoides (Sun Starfish), Julie saw an eel that I didn't, kelp fish, coryanactis anemones, burrowning anemones, strawberry anemones, and other invertebrates. We made a 3 minute safety stop at 15 feet before surfacing. Overall, the dive spot was not very good on this day. [Depth 86 feet, Time 25 minutes].

Playground is a dive spot just east of Chase Reef. Playground offers many dive activites. There is a wall to dive along, three pinnacles and some other stuff. The fog was burning off but the sun was not yet out when we dropped down the anchor line to visit the pinacles to the south. We hit bottom at about 68 feet. The horizontal visibility was better here at Playground than it was at Chase Reef. This area is more protected from swells so the bottom sediment was not churned up as much. On this dive, we saw a huge black Cryptochiton stelleri (Gumboot chiton), a very edible and good sized Ling-cod (Ophiodon elongatus), more dorid nudibranchs, sea cucumbers and coryanactis. We stopped at 15 feet for a 3 minute safety stop again. [Surface Interval 58 minutes, Depth 68 feet, Time 36 minutes]

We were pushing our NDL on the last dive. Thank goodness for computers. When I logged my dive and plugged the numbers into my logbook with the RDP, we were well outside of the RDP's NDL.

Intern as DMC for Rescue Class

May 07, 2006
I spent the 6th in the pool with the Rescue Class.

All day today (4/7) was at the ocean with the Rescue Class.

Last two ocean dives with an Open Water class as a DMC at Breakwater

April 02, 2006
I left home at 5:25am and got down to Breakwater at 6:30. I was an hour early--doh! The morning was beautiful. Partly cloudy and no wind left us with a smooth and quiet ocean. We were going to have good visibility.

Today we had two students and two Master Instructors (Ron and Bud). Each one took out a student so that all skills could be covered simultaniously. I worked with Ron and his student Angela. Bud worked with Daniel on his skills. As the students got suited up, Ron and I went out to set the float. Bud would bring the students out to the float while they performed their surface navigation skill. We set up the float in 20 feet of water. When Bud, Angela and Daniel arrived at the float, the students performed a free descent with reference (the tag line). At the bottom, they performed fin pivots and mask full flood and clear. They also performed underwater navigation (straight out and back from the tag line on a heading of 0). Finally, they performed buddy breathing stationary and ascending. Once at the surface, we all dropped back down for the underwater tour. Because the day was very calm, Ron lead Angela along the breakwater. On the tour, we saw a Loxorhynchus crispatus (Decorator Crab), many Parastichopus spp., many Cryptochiton stelleri (Gumboot Chiton), of course many Patiria miniata, a Syngnathus leptorhynchus (Pipefish), Cymatogaster aggregata (shiner surfperch), we also saw a Phalacrocorax pelagicus (Pelagic cormorant) underwater.

Dive two started after a debriefing during the surface interval (1:29 minutes). The students performed a descent without a reference, mask removal and replacement, and mid-water hovering. During the tour, we saw many of the same thing, but we also saw a Anisodoris nobilis, and Citharichthys sordidus. The first internship of two OW classes is now complete. I need to take 4 more written tests, intern on three more classes, and pass the physical skills tests.

First two (plus #3) ocean dives with an Open Water class as a DMC at Breakwater

March 18, 2006
Today I also finished my EANx specialty.

I signed up with Ron Angell as a Divemaster Candidate in February this year. As part of becoming a Divemaster, I must do an internship in two Open Water classes, one Advanced Open Water class, and one Rescue Diver class. As an intern, I am required to assist the instructor in a very limited fashion. My only function as a DMC is as a rescue diver. I worked with the instructor Chris Latam, DM Rolf, DMC Louis and two students (Chris and Jason). I was diving nitrox for the first time (pO2=0.353 MOD=99 ft.). I felt less tired when breathing nitrox, but I felt colder underwater--it may all be psychological, but that was my experience with nitrox.

The day was beautiful. The wave model predicted waves above storm level, but the morning was great. Rolf and I set out the float and tag line while Chris and Louis got the students to the water. When placing the tag line, make sure it runs parallel with shore. This first dive was the tour and getting comfortable with the gear in the ocean. No skills were performed. During the tour, we saw many sand dabs Citharichthys sordidus, some sea cucumbers Parastichopus spp., bat stars Patiria miniata, and a Sea Lemon Nudibranch Anisodoris nobilis.

Dive two was the start of skills. The students performed well. On the second tour dive, we saw many of the same biota as before.

The class decided that they could make dive number three and leave only one for the next day. The wind had picked up quite a bit and the ocean was showing white caps. The waves were much larger and the shoreline water was getting very turbid and brown. After getting out past the waves, the students dropped down and performed their skills. Louis removed the float and tag line and started toward shore while I followed Chris and the students on the last tour dive. When we surfaced and started heading in toward shore, Louis was being pushed into the breakwater by the waves. He had been near shore and removed his fins to carry the float out, but a large wave had pushed him off of his feet and pulled him back out into deeper water. I swam over and started a tired diver tow.

Rescue Diver Class Scenario #8 (Scene Management and Lost Diver Search) at MacAbee

October 30, 2005
Two divers signaled for help about 110 yards offshore. We immediately donned our gear because, we could not talk them into shore, couldn't reach them with a pole, couldn't throw a ring or buoy to them, and we didn't have a boat or other watercraft available. By the time John and I hit the water, both divers had gone underwater. We swam with our heads up to the last place they were seen. We met John #2 and Susan out there and we decided to do criss-crossing U-turn searches. They would make their way perpendicular to shore and John and I would move parallel with shore moving deeper. Jonathan and Susan descended and started their search. John was having trouble descending with an AL80 tank so we were about to head back in when another search team surfaced nearby. John assisted with the surface BLS and I partnered up with another diver and we started our search. We came up from behind the victim and proceeded with the reaction-test. When the diver did not respond to mask taps, we started a rescue assent. On the surface, we started the rescue breaths and gear removal. Our victim became alert after a few rescue breaths. We swam in together while maintaining contact with the diver.