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    October 26, 2008

    Another Prestine Dive and Debrief At The Old Marineland

    Logged Dive #314

    Old Marineland (aka Long Point, Terranea Resort), Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

    Dove with the Not So New Chris

    In With: 2900 psi
    Out With: 1100 psi
    Max depth: 43 feet
    Waves: A few challenging swells at the shoreline, but pretty flat
    Visibility: 10 to 15 feet at 120 reef.
    Water Temperature: About 56 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 45 minutes

    I arrived at the front gate a little after 8 AM; the guard was trying to tell us to park at the gate and walk down once we geared up.

    After a few well placed phone calls, we were allowed though the gate; we’ve been going through this crap every weekend with a different guard each time.

    Nick and sort of new diver Jill actually showed up to not only debrief, but to join in the diving as well.

    The divers discuss their strategy and listen to Reverend Al's briefing.

    The divers discuss their strategy and listen to Reverend Al’s briefing.

    A few new faces joined us, among them was John who just got back from a tour in Iraq.

    I sort of tripped on entry, but was able to put my fins on quite quickly – again, I love my spring loaded fin straps!

    Nick and Jill prepare for their macho rock entry.

    Nick and Jill prepare for their macho rock entry.

    Divers off of the cove; the Terranea hotel is in the background.

    Everyone made it in without incident; we swam to the edge of the cove, divided into buddy pairs and agreed to do our best to follow Reverend Al.

    We submerged…

    We followed Reverend Al.

    …and followed Reverend Al; vis sort of sucked until we got towards the reef.

    This is what Jill and Nick look like under water.

    This is what Jill and Nick look like underwater.

    A lobster has been spotted!

    A lobster has been spotted!

    The kelp is back and in full bloom here.

    The reef was pretty clear, visibility wise, but the kelp is back in full bloom, making the dive seem really dark.

    A sunstar.

    A sunstar.

    Fish are abundant at the 120 reef.

    Fish are abundant at the 120 reef.

    A colorful sea blob.

    A colorful sea blob.

    A starfish against a reef.

    A starfish against a reef.

    Chris takes a picture of me, taking a picture of him.

    Chris takes a picture of me, taking a picture of him.

    We lost Nick and Jill after a while, then lost Al and his buddy, then found Nick and Jill again, lost them, and found Al again.

    Coming ashore, I took my fins off a little too soon and was swept back out by a rouge swell that also knocked one of the divers down; Al helped the diver.

    Putting my fins back on, I swam back and made an uneventful exit.

    The debriefing starts.

    With the diving over, the debriefing starts.

    The perfect spot, just outside the Terranea hotel.

    My brother Paul showed up to help us debrief.

    On today’s menu – bratwurst and marinated chicken;  Jill brought the chicken and gave me a bunch of crap for not having a real barbecue (a.k.a. a charcoal grill).

    I told her, “If I knew you were bringing real food, I would have brought my real barbecue.”

    Another view of the hotel that's under construction.

    The usual topics were discussed – diving, politics, diving, food, diving, beer…

    A view to die for!

    We have the best view here that I can remember.

    Everything wrapped up a little after noon.

    October 22, 2008

    Lobster Hunting From The Island Diver Part II

    Logged Dive #313
    Secret Location: 31 30 30 20 79 61 72 64 73 20 74 6f 77 61 72 64 73 20 74 68 65 20 73 68 6f 72 65 20 6e 65 61 72 20 74 68 65 20 77 72 65 63 6b 20 74 68 61 74 20 69 73 20 6e 61 6d 65 64 20 41 76 61 6c 6f 6e 2e, Palos Verdes

    Solo Diving/SoCal Buddy Diving

    In With: 2800 psi
    Out With: 300 psi
    Max depth: 65 feet
    Waves: Pretty damn flat!
    Visibility: 15 to 25 feet and very clear!
    Water Temperature: About 56 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 25 minutes

    The boat was moved 10 minutes away and anchored in 45 feet of water; another dive boat was anchored 100 yards away in 60 feet of water.

    I was the second overboard and the first to submerge down the anchor line; and again, I caught my first lobster of the dive at the anchor.

    This place had a nice and interesting reef structure but I saw less lobsters; the ones that I did see fled at the first swoop of my light.

    I continued on…

    I caught another bug and bagged it 15 minutes into this dive.

    I ascended to spot the boat, and a boat I did spot; I took my compass bearings and submerged to continue hunting on the way back.

    I spotted another lobster, pinned it, but it shot between my legs… I felt something.

    Was it my gauge like last time?

    I felt lobster legs poking in my arm and grabbed it with my other hand, dropping the light.

    I opened my bag a little too quickly and one of my detainees escaped!

    I bagged the one I had and I just hoped I was “trading up” in the size of lobsters.

    Getting low on air, I ran across the anchor line and thought, “Wow, I didn’t know the Island Diver anchored with a nylon rope.”

    I also thought I was a little too deep, at 60 feet.

    I surfaced and soon realized I had aimed for and ascended on the wrong boat; it was smaller and unoccupied.

    I looked for the Island Diver and spotted it; with only 300 psi left, I surface-swam and bitch-crawled over 100 yards of kelp

    I pose with the two lobsters I liberated from this dive.

    I pose with the two lobsters I liberated from this dive.

    Ax brought up a huge bug that Mike C. weighed - a six pound bug!

    Ax brought up a huge bug that Mike C. weighed – a six pound bug!

    Ax with her bug.

    Ax with her bug.

    After the last dive, we broke out the deco bottles.

    We broke out the deco bottles.

    The ride back to port on the Island Diver.

    We enjoyed a nice and flat ride back to port.

    Ax and Mike C. display their trophy bugs of the night.

    Ax and Mike C. display their trophy bugs of the night.

    Do I look macho posing with all my bugs, or what?

    Do I look macho posing with all my bugs, or what?

    Debriefing continued in the parking lot until a little after midnight.

    Debriefing continued in the parking lot until a little after midnight.

    Finally this season, the tide is turning for me!

    I heard tonight that the pre-seasonal swells of a couple weeks ago are pushing the lobsters deeper than usual this time of year; apparently lobsters are still plentiful off the Santa Monica break waters, but I am not familiar with that area.

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