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    February 28, 2009

    Lobster Hunt! Getting Close To The End Of The Season!

    Logged SCUBA Dive #333

    Secret Location: 4a 75 73 74 20 74 6f 20 74 68 65 20 53 6f 75 74 68 20 6f 66 20 74 68 65 20 67 61 74 65 0d 0a 20 6f 66 20 4d 61 72 2e, Palos Verdes, CA

    Solo Diving/SoCal Buddy Diving

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 1500 psi
    Max depth: 50 feet
    Waves: Flat on the water, but choppy towards shore
    Visibility: 10 to 20 feet
    Temperature: 56 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 40 minutes

    Instructor John and I took the mighty Zodiac to one of our secret lobster spots.

    Weaving through the dozen or so hoop nets that we came across, we anchored in 50 feet of water off of Palos Verdes.

    We only had time for one dive, and I was determined to take my seven lobsters for the night.

    I submerged and checked the anchor – yeah, it was there, but no bugs.

    I had a good feeling about this dive.

    Ten minutes in, I pinned a lobster in 40 feet of water, measured it, remeasured it and measured it again; it was legal!

    I knew that I wasn’t going to get skunked tonight!

    When I got to 35 feet, a lot of shorts were out foraging for food; these poor bugs had obviously had their share of being assaulted by divers – some only had one antenna, others were missing legs.

    I didn’t even bother grabbing for them.

    I came across my second bug, pinned and bagged it!

    The good news is, all the ones that I did try and pin, I caught; the bad news is, all the rest were short.

    Even the “monster bugs” fell short of my gauge; it’s amazing how big small lobsters look when you haven’t seen many legal ones.

    I managed to surface, with two surface peaks, pretty close to the boat.

    Instructor John was coming back, but overshot the boat and had to bitch crawl over the kelp on the way in.

    John caught one, I had two – neither of us got skunked.

    OK, now it’s time to start the engine and go home…

    Trying to start the engine.

    But the engine won’t start… it cranks, it’s getting gas… but the F’ing thing won’t start and the battery was growing weak.

    We took the oars out and paddled out of the kelp, hoping that if the engine started, at least it wouldn’t seize on seaweed.

    John has “Sea Tow,” but they come from Marina Del Rey and waiting for them would take several hours.

    It was time to make a sacrifice, and hope the lobster gods would help us.

    I grabbed the bigger of my two bugs out of my game bag, held it above the water and said out loud, “Lobster gods, I give back to the ocean this bug before I fart… so please let our engine start…”

    I released the lobster unharmed, back into the ocean.

    John tried to start the engine again… and it started!

    Man, that was close!

    It cost me a tasty tail, but it was better than waiting several hours for a tow, assuming they could find us to begin with.

    My catch for the night.

    My catch for the night.

    We traveled back to King Harbor and tried restarting the engine once docked.

    It started and restarted with no problem!

    February 22, 2009

    Questionable Day At Old Marineland – But Still A Good Dive!

    Logged SCUBA Dive #332

    Old Marineland, aka Terranea Resort

    Dove With Not So New Chris

    In With: 2800 psi
    Out With: 1400 psi
    Max depth: 42 feet
    Waves: Choppy at the shore, but very manageable
    Visibility: 5 to 10 feet
    Temperature: 57 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 40 minutes

    I was going to call today, based on the dive report from yesterday, but waking up at 6 AM, I thought, “I have nothing better to do than to check the conditions out, at least.”

    By the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX BOTTOMTIME!

    Max has shown how diving can make a 50 year old person look as though he is only 49!

    Just kidding!

    He looks a lot younger!

    Anyway, from the coast it looked pretty calm, so Chris and I went to the main gate of Terranea resort.

    The Security Guard scoped us out and gave us the standard lecture, “You guys can go down and dive, but have to go straight down to the beach… you can’t drive around the property or walk around the buildings and any trash you make, you have to take out with you.”

    We agreed.

    Turn out was extremely low – Me, Not So New Chris, Todd and “Moderate Bob.”

    New Chris off of OML

    Chris and I went off the cove and swam towards 120 reef and submerged.

    The vis was actually a lot better than I had expected – five to 10 feet…

    Vis was five to ten feet.

    My camera was having problems – it froze and stuck on certain settings that made the menu loop.

    After fixing the stuck button with my knife, I started to have some kind of weird problem where my camera kept freezing – that was the bad news.

    The good news – there wasn’t anything spectacular to take a picture of.

    This is how it looked.

    My camera stopped working after this great looking picture.

    I probably need to lubricate the camera housing and change the batteries.

    Chris and I toured 120 reef, spotting a few short lobsters, Sunstars, Sheephead and Garibaldi.

    We never lost one another and it was an enjoyable and uneventful dive; we headed in after 40 minutes to an easy exit.

    Me at Terranea Resort.

    We had managed to park down by the pool at the sea side.

    Debriefing was purely of the liquid kind and lasted a couple of hours – there weren’t enough people to warrant breaking out the grill.

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