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    March 18, 2008

    Logged Dive #281 – Maybe The Last Chance For Bugs This Season

    Secret Location: 4e 6f 72 74 68 20 6f 66 20 74 68 65 20 67 61 74 65 20 77 69 74 68 20 4d 61 72 73 20 6f 66 66 20 74 68 65 20 68 69 6c 6c 73 20 77 69 74 68 20 47 72 65 65 6e 20 54 72 65 65 73 2e

    Southern California Buddy Diving With The Divevets off the Island Diver

    In With: 2900 psi
    Out With: 300 psi
    Max depth: 50 feet
    Waves: Minor chop, strong surge towards shore
    Visibility: 15 feet plus
    Water Temperature: 55 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 40 minutes

    Since we can’t safely go deeper, we went to our secret shallow spot for the second try.

    I again, was the first off the boat because I had the most time to out gas from the previous deeper dive.

    This place has a lot of kelp and the vis was pretty good.

    Lots of other divers and hoop netters were out trying to get their last bugs for the season.

    After I submerged off the back platform, I swam towards shore; I forgot to check the anchor line.

    I didn’t see any lobster until I got to 30 feet, but the water became very surgy – almost unmanageable.

    I grabbed for a few good ones, but unlike the flat sand of previous dives, the bottom is contoured with rocks and reefs – sometimes I just couldn’t pin the bugs.

    I managed to grab one and measured it – it was good.

    I reached for my bag and it was a tangled mess that wouldn’t open.

    I struggled with my bag harder than I did with the lobster.

    I ended up surfacing and untangling it with one hand.

    My new wrist mounted dive computer is too cumbersome for bug hunting; it tends to get caught in the bag’s metal mouth.

    I continued shallower, to about 25 feet; but, the surge was getting to be too much and I turned around.

    At the tail end of the season (no pun intended), the surviving bugs are pretty smart and fast; a lobster monster saw my light and took off.

    I made my way back to the boat, doing a shallow surface swim under the kelp – burning my air down to almost 200 psi.

    The rest of the divers made it back; Dan caught one, the rest got skunked.

    The beer party starts!

    The debriefing started on the boat in traditional fashion.

    On the way back, there was a very loud “Bang!” coming from the engine; Captain Anthony slowed the engine down.

    “I think we’re OK; we probably just blew a turbo,” he said.

    The boat continued on, slowly.

    Black Smoke Comes Out Of The Back Of The Boat

    “Uh, hey Anthony, there’s black smoke coming from the back of the boat!” I yelled.

    “We’re OK, I think it’s just something passing through the engine,” he said.

    I was a little concerned and was sort of pissed that I was no longer wearing my wetsuit, but we eventually made it back.

    As we discovered later, a pipe from the turbo on the engine had popped out of its fitting.

    Nice camera work Bob!

    The lobster that I caught was so big, Bob couldn’t fit the whole thing in the camera frame.

    The only chick on board – Annelaure – complimented my hat and called it “technical.”

    SCUBA divers debrief.

    The debriefing continued in the parking lot as is always the case; we celebrated Annelaure’s newly acquired Ph. D in Chemical Engineering.

    I bet she can brew some pretty damn good beer!

    Logged Dive #280 – Ending Of Lobster Season, Diving With The Divevets

    Secret Location: 54 68 65 20 66 61 72 6d 20 6f 66 20 70 69 70 65 73 20 6a 75 73 74 20 6f 75 74 73 69 64 65 20 6f 66 20 74 68 65 20 53 70 61 6e 69 73 68 20 52 65 64 20 42 65 61 63 68 2e

    Southern California Buddy Diving With The Divevets off the Island Diver

    In With: 2900 psi
    Out With: 1000 psi
    Max depth: 85 feet
    Waves: Minor chop
    Visibility: 15 feet plus
    Water Temperature: 55 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 24 minutes

    Two nights before the end of lobster season and I’m on the Island Diver again with the Divevets.

    The owner of the boat went to Florida with the GPS system, so the Captain Anthony stopped by “The other boat” to borrow its GPS.

    We anchored just outside Naja’s while the Captain ransacked the other boat for the navigation tool.

    Looking at Naja’s near the boat launch

    Looking at Naja’s near the boat launch.

    Looking towards Quality Seafood

    Looking towards Quality Seafood.

    Some curious tourists.

    As we were waiting in the back of the boat, looking macho with all of our SCUBA gear around, some tourists – two older females and two children – started asking us what we were doing going diving at sunset.

    Dan explained how we hunt lobsters underwater with our bare hands; they were astounded and a little freaked out.

    They were also impressed that a female was on board.

    Dan later said, “Why was I even talking to those kids? I don’t even talk to my own.”

    After 15 minutes, the Captain returned with GPS coordinates, but no GPS; he would attempt to get us to our secret spot by dead reckoning using landmarks.

    We sped out and trolled around while the Captain figured out where our spot probably was.

    A small bathtub sized zodiac was waiting in the water and started to follow us.

    A small zodiac circles us.

    We thought it was some illegal aliens or potential terrorists, but we later found out that it was a few divers that couldn’t get on board, so they just followed us out to our secret spot.

    I was the first one overboard and went down the anchor line, touching bottom at 85 feet.

    The first thing I did was check the anchor – a lot of times there’s bugs around.

    Our secret spot is an old dumping ground of sewer pipes and construction equipment – the Captain put the boat right above it.

    Pretty damn good job for not having a GPS!

    I saw a lot of sand bass and a few short bugs.

    But, this soon after sunset, the pipes and boxes should be filled with lobsters – they weren’t.

    So, none in the pipes means there probably won’t be any on the sand.

    I was feeling pretty good with a narc-buzz going on, but I kept my composure.

    I looked for a good 20 minutes and pinned two short ones.

    The longer I go without seeing bugs, the larger the short lobsters look.

    I ascended, doing an open water safety stop and swam 40 yards back to the boat with an empty bag.

    Before the recent storms and swells, this place was crawling with bugs.

    Now, I’m speculating, that maybe the bugs have gone even deeper as they did in December and January.

    All the divers made it back, and all had empty bags.

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