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    October 30, 2010

    The Divevets 6th Annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest

    It’s once again time for underwater pumpkin carving and world class debriefing!

    The Divevets have to, once again, defend their title against ECO Dive Center as the best underwater pumpkin carvers.

    This whole event sort of reminds me of Roller Derby from the 1970s.

    Roller Derby came on after wrestling and featured the Los Angeles Thunderbirds; they would play other teams from around the country, but if you looked closely, you would notice the only thing that changed was the color of the opposing teams uniform – the opposing players were the same every week.

    And guess what?

    The Los Angeles Thunderbirds would win every single time; seriously, they NEVER lost!

    Well, I sort of felt sorry for anyone on ECO’s dive team as they never had a chance to win the grand prize which was billed as “a trip to Belize or a beach towel, I forget which.”

    It had rained for a bit the night before and earlier there was a question whether it would be too rough to enter as the waves were up.

    Someone had the brilliant idea that if we couldn’t dive, we could carve our pumpkins under the running water of the beach showers.

    Luckily, conditions calmed down enough to dive.

    I dove with Donna The Hot Biker Chick, as she just wouldn’t feel safe diving with anyone else.

    Logged Dive #374

    Veterans’ Park, Redondo Beach, CA
    Dove with Donna The Hot Biker Chick

    In With: 2800 psi
    Out With: 1500 psi
    Max depth: 30 feet
    Waves: Some annoying chop in the surf zone, a few big waves
    Visibility: 4-10 feet
    Water Temperature: 64 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 30 minutes

    It was an easy entry through the surf.

    I had a small pumpkin and my camera.

    Donna and I ascended and started to carve our pumpkins in 15 feet of water – We should have gone deeper as I had buoyancy problems at that depth.

    I basically just cut my pumpkin in half so I could fill it with candy and money to bribe the judges.

    I waited for Donna to finish her masterpiece; I even had to rescue it once, when it started to float away.

    After that, we surfaced to look for bubbles of other carvers; I was trying to get video for PDP’s spectacular epic.

    We found a couple more groups and I did my best to document the action – visibility sort of sucked.

    Donna and I exited the water with no problems.

    Debriefing followed with hamburgers, hotdogs and – since this is a public park – “apple juice in blue cups.”

    I had no idea that Anheuser Busch made “apple juice.”

    My scheme paid off – I won third prize for my “pumpkin candy bowl.”

    The prize was a DAN first Aide kit.

    Anyway, enough of the narrative because Professional Debriefer Paul has once again done an excellent job of documenting the event…

    To view this video on YouTube, click here.

    October 14, 2010

    Operation: Enduring Lobster Freedom

    I missed out on lobster liberating last week – it is a long story involving a broken email account, beer and a psychotic woman.

    Anyway, Jim, Instructor John and I were off in the zodiac around 8 PM to a spot off of Palos Verdes.

    The spot is usually pounded by surf; but tonight the area was fairly calm, so the decision was made to try this area.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #373

    SECRET LOCATION: 41 74 20 74 68 65 20 74 69 70 20 6f 66 20 74 68 65 20 47 61 74 65 73 20 6f 66 20 4d 61 72 2c 20 69 6e 20 76 69 65 77 20 6f 66 20 74

    68 65 20 68 6f 75 73 65 20 6f 66 20 6c 69 67 68 74 2e 0d 0a 0d 0a, Palos Verdes, CA

    Solo Diving, SoCal Buddy Diving

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 500 psi
    Max depth: 35 feet
    Waves: Slight swells on the surface, surge underwater
    Visibility: 4-8 feet
    Water Temperature: 64 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 40 minutes

    The water was comfortably warm, coming in at 62 degrees.

    I followed Jim’s advise and peed in my wetsuit before submerging.

    I spotted and pinned my first lobster within five minutes; I had to remeasure it several times, but I was certain it was legal.

    Jim was beside me before going on his own and I saw him pass up one – yeah, it was so short, he didn’t even bother to pin it to make sure.

    I saw a lot of lobsters, at one point I even came across a lobster hole, stuffed with bugs.

    The only problem was that all these lobsters were short – to the point where the “monster” bugs were a quarter inch under legal.

    There was a horrid surge in the shallows, with visibility that was in the four feet range.

    I pinned five more bugs, all shorts – they were released unharmed.

    I surfaced twice to spot the boat and plan my return.

    Unfortunately, when I did surface with 500 psi, I was about 40 yards away from the boat – and when you’re that far away, looking at a 14 foot zodiac, it looks as though you have to swim miles.

    The surface kelp was thick and I basically had to bitch-crawl over to return to the boat.

    I remeasured my bug – it did not shrink when it was exposed to the air, so into my liberation bag it went.

    Instructor John came back with two, I had my one and Jim got skunked.

    It is suppose to rain Monday, so between now and then remains to be seen.

    Everyone has agreed that this season sucks for us, despite talk of people limiting in Orange County and the Redondo Beach break water.

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