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    June 13, 2010

    Free Diving Terranea Resort, Palos Verdes, CA

    I had to get in the water today.

    I have been stressed out and sedate in my macho activities for too long.

    Just a swim in the ocean might be enough.

    I arrived at Terranea Resort around 8:30 AM; since I had no air, I was just going to free dive.

    Some of the regular SCUBA divers had already geared up and were walking down.

    The water looked pretty calm, but visibility remained to be seen.

    The water looked pretty calm, but visibility remained to be seen.

    Free diving Terranea Resort, Palos Verdes, CA

    Max depth: About 20 feet
    Waves: Predictable one to two feet swells
    Visibility: 5-15 feet
    Water Temperature: Maybe about 63 degrees
    Total Ocean Time: 35 minutes or so.

    Entrance was easy; I swam to the right side of the Cove.

    Kelp is very abundant now, which is quite a change from a few years back.

    Kelp is very abundant now, which is quite a change from a few years back.

    Visibility was OK;  I could see the bottom from 15 feet.

    Visibility was OK; I could see the bottom from 15 feet.

    I was perfectly neutrally buoyant with my very used 7 mm wetsuit and 16 pounds of weights.

    I held my breath and plunged down to 20 feet.

    I held my breath and plunged down to 20 feet…

    I touched the bottom.

    …I touched the bottom.

    I’m still sort of macho, I guess.

    The ocean water felt good, there was beer waiting for me in the car… and best of all – no psycho women!

    About 30 minutes later, a woman took a picture of me making my easy exit.

    I guess I’m that famous?

    It seems when you free dive here, people actually watch you from their hotel rooms and pool.

    I was asked what I was hunting, did I see any dolphins, how are the lobsters?

    I told the guys that I was simply out for a swim, but I told all the women that I was out hunting sharks.

    Beer in the parking lot washed the salt water out of my mouth.

    11 AM rolled by and I noticed none of the other divers had made it back from their dives.

    Was something wrong?

    The dive started on time, but by 10:30 AM, most divers would usually have returned.

    Two beers later, Nice Bob pulls up in his truck with Military Bob, Chipper and Jordan.

    It seems they planned and executed an extremely macho dive – going off the Point, diving one way, across two coves to make a beach exit at Cardiac Hill.

    Nice Bob had dropped his car off at Cardiac Hill earlier for the return trip.

    They had reports of five to 15 feet of visibility.

    They said it was a nice dive, but it kicked their asses – especially the walk up Cardiac Hill.

    Macho divers debrief.

    Debriefing continued as usual.

    It was sort of a light SCUBA diver turn out, but I noticed a lot of oriental free divers carrying big spear guns – maybe three groups of them.

    I didn’t notice anyone coming back with fish.

    October 18, 2009

    Free Diving (Well, maybe just snorkeling) Terranea Resort

    Finally, I was able to get Brother Paul (aka Professional Debriefer Paul) into the water for more of a snorkel voyage than a free dive.

    I offered to provide a weight belt, but he declined.

    “You’re going to float like a cork,” I advised him.

    “That’s fine by me,” he said.

    Debriefer Paul

    Paul could barely fit into my old wet suit, and wasn’t able to put on an old pair of gloves.

    Terranea Resort, Palos Verdes, CA

    Free diving (more like snorkeling) With Brother Paul

    Max depth: About 15 feet
    Waves: Lots of surface chop, tricky swells crashing on shore
    Visibility: 10-15 feet, pretty good
    Water Temperature: Maybe about 60 degrees
    Total Ocean Time: 35 minutes or so.

    I briefed him on the way to get out and reminded him, “Spend the least amount if time in the surf zone.”

    Paul made it out with no problems, but he started coughing, or gagging once outside of the surf zone.

    “Man, it’s really hard to breathe,” he complained.

    He later told me that he had the same problem at Baja Reef, 20 years ago when we worked at Marineland.

    The wind chop made the waves crash against us as we bobbed up and down on the surface like a couple of corks; Paul kept getting mouthfuls of water.

    “Don’t do that, breathe air, not water,” I advised.

    We swam out to 120 reef, but couldn’t see the bottom; we went shallower, towards the other side of Pigeon Shit Cave.

    We could see the bottom reef structures in 20 feet of water; I practiced some breath holding dives – I am out of practice and couldn’t stay down very long.

    Dive Terranea

    Having hung out here for years, but only on shore, this was a view of the property that he had never seen before.

    Coming in, I said, “You can either take your fins off and walk ashore, or crawl ashore and behind a rock – but don’t spend too much time in the surf zone.”

    Paul rushed his exit, hanging on to a boulder as a swell was trying to suck him back out.

    Another swell came in and slammed him hard against a rock; he’s probably going to have a big bruise on his chest tomorrow.

    Making the mistake of leaving our beer locked in Reverend Al’s cooler, Dive Bum Don gave us some Rolling Rock while we waited for Al’s crew to return.

    Chris and his grill.

    It was a typical debriefing Sunday – quiet, low key, beer drinking and grilling in the parking lot.

    Cyber The Attack Dog blocked part of the parking lot so nobody would run over the grill or equipment.

    Cyber The Attack Dog blocked part of the parking lot so nobody would run over the grill or equipment.

    Debriefing at Terranea.

    It was going to happen eventually…

    Getting hassled.

    “Hey guys, you can’t do the barbecue thing… we don’t let our guests grill, so you can’t either,” an undercover Terranea security guard said.

    Someone must have complained; he also told us not to park in the hotel parking lot, but up in the public area.

    He didn’t act like he wanted to tell us that.

    Of course, Brother Paul has documented the day on Youtube:

    To view the video on Youtube, click here.

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