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    July 29, 2007

    Freediving At Malaga Cove With Ed

    Malaga Cove, Palos Verdes, CA

    Free diving With Ed

    Max depth: 15 feet
    Waves: 1-5 foot swells
    Visibility: 5-8 feet, sort of silty
    Water Temperature: Maybe about 60 degrees, but chilly at depth
    Total Ocean Time: 35 minutes or so.

    My girlfriend Jane asked if I was going SCUBA diving today.

    I said that I was going free diving with Ed.

    She asked, “Free diving? Like they did in the movie ‘The Big Blue’?”

    “Well,” I said, “we’re not going to free dive to 500 feet, just 15.”

    “Oh, so you’re just going snorkeling.”

    I told Ed what Jane had said, he laughed. “Yeah, I guess we are only going snorkeling!”

    We arrived at Malaga Cove and geared up by 9:15 AM.

    We decided to walk down to the sandy beach and hunt for Halibut.

    The water off the rocks looks slightly rough and muddy.

    We entered with no problems and trolled above the sandy bottom and occasional reef that that lays 100 yards out between the sandy beach and rocks at Malaga Cove.

    I almost was run over by three true snorkelers who were in the water with just bathing suits.

    One I think had on a shorty.

    Not expecting to find any fish, I submerged every so often after resting to see how long I could stay down.

    The more I dove, the longer I could stay down.

    My best guess is that I could stay down about a minute at 15 feet while kicking along the bottom.

    That’s no world’s record, but probably better than a lot of people.

    After 35 minutes or so, Ed said he couldn’t find any fish and was going back in.

    Worrying that he was going back to drink all the beer, I followed.

    I later remembered that I was carrying the car key.

    Ed exited on the rocks because the waves were calmer than on the sandy beach.

    I exited the sandy beach, because I hate crawling over rocks.

    Once up and in the parking lot with a few cold beers in our hands, we started talking to a surfer who was packing up.

    I guess the waves weren’t spectacular for surfing and the vis wasn’t great for diving, but as this guy put it, “So what?

    “The surfing and diving aren’t great today, but you’re out in the sunshine enjoying the outdoors with nice people.

    “It’s a lot better than sitting at home, watching TV and stuffing your face with potato chips.”

    Amen to that!

    This is my Sunday service!

    Nick and his girlfriend Jill pulled up to crash our party.

    We all wound up at Redondo Pier eating seafood and drinking beer.

    July 22, 2007

    Freediving At Malaga Cove With Ed

    Malaga Cove, Palos Verdes Estates, CA

    Free diving With Ed

    Max depth: 15 feet
    Waves: 1-2 foot ankle breakers
    Visibility: 10-15 feet, sort of silty
    Water Temperature: Maybe about 60 degrees.
    Total Ocean Time: 30 minutes or so.

    Malaga Cove is really shallow and I do enjoy free diving – here more than SCUBA.

    I picked up Ed from San Pedro around 8 AM.

    We stopped by Long Point (aka Old Marineland) to check out the newly opened public beach access.

    Without going in to great detail, it sucks.

    The parking lot is very small – 10 cars, maybe? – and the walk down to the beach seems like an endless fence maze.

    We arrived at Malaga around 9:30 AM.

    I ran in to Jim Molica in the parking lot – he was a “student body supervisor” (the students called them “narks”) when I was going to Palos Verdes High School twenty years ago and hadn’t seen him since.

    He said my name sounded familiar — yeah, I bet it did!

    We caught up very briefly on what we had been doing in the last 20 years, and talked about how stupid the school administration was in my Junior and Senior year – I almost got suspended for being drunk because they smelled Binaca breath freshener on me and thought it was Vodka.

    They also didn’t know the difference between smelling like cigarettes and smelling like pot.

    Ed and I suited up and did the pleasant walk down to the water with just our spear guns and free diving equipment.

    Compared to lugging SCUBA tanks around, I almost felt naked.

    We made an uneventful rock entry and swam out a hundred yards or so, clear of the muddy shoreline.

    In 15 feet of water, we could see the bottom.

    I loaded my spear gun, checked the safety and trolled for fish.

    Maybe a White Sea Bass or Halibut?

    No more Sheephead for me!

    They’re too easy to shoot.

    As the saying goes, “Shooting a sheephead is like shooting your dog.”

    After 30 minutes of trolling and diving, neither of us saw anything.

    Ed headed in about ten minutes before me.

    He complained that his new wet suit was too buoyant.

    We rested and headed up, giving a dive report to a group of SCUBA divers walking down.

    In the parking lot, we ran in to Tom from the old American Diving; he had collected some Uni (aka Sea Urchins).

    Tom couldn’t keep a straight face when he saw us.

    He was laughing, “I saw you guys a few weeks ago carrying that kayak down to the water and only making it out to where the shore divers were.”

    He continued to laugh, “You guys looked ridiculous hauling that heavy thing down to the water just to anchor right over there.”

    Tom was laughing so hard, he could barely stand.

    We had some beer in the parking lot while we dried off.

    Ed asked if we could drink here.

    I said, “Everybody is drinking beer here, they just hide it.”

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