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    September 27, 2014

    Opening Night Of Lobster Season! Dive #1

    It’s a tradition – Opening Night of California Lobster Season.

    This is the night where most first time lobster divers, and even experienced lobster divers, all meet to try and get their one night a year fill of bug catching.

    I had a spot on the same boat as I did in a couple of previous years…

    The Asante
    The Asante – a 40 foot 12 pack diving boat out of Ports O’ Call in San Pedro.

    The boat had nine experienced divers on board – Yours Truly, Tim, Eric F., Donna The Hot Biker Chick, Reverend Al, Chris I, Chris II, Nice Bob and Chipper.

    Like all previous Opening Nights, this was a “You better know what the fuck you’re doing, because there’s going to be nobody around to help you” type of dive – unless you can manage to make it to the surface on your own.

    You could feel the machismo in the air.

    Donna finds out I'm on board
    Donna finds out that I am on the boat.

    The Captain gives a briefing

    The Captain gave a briefing – the problem was, the swells were up.

    He would try and make it to Catalina, but if it was too rough, he would turn back and we would dive Palos Verdes.

    With the massive swells that have rearranged the rocky coast of Palos Verdes, I doubted that the lobsters would be shallow at the beginning of this season and I couldn’t see us getting that deep there.

    I was prepared to get skunked – I had already packed my Harakiri sword.

    We set off a little after nine o’clock in the evening.

    Rough ride over
    It was a rough ride after leaving the harbor, but we kept going.

    The puke ride
    We didn’t get soaking wet like previous years, but the ride made us hang on for dear life – we kept going all the way to the island.

    Shortly after midnight, the Asante anchored in a secret location in 45 feet of water.

    I was the first one off the boat – I think.

    I swam to the anchor line and submerged.

    Logged SCUBA Dive #474

    Solo Diving

    Secret Location: 54 68 65 72 65 20 69 73 20 61 20 63 6f 76 65 20 74 68 61 74 20 62 65 6c 6f 6e 67 73 20 74 6f 20 57 68 69 74 65 79 2e – Catalina Island

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 200 psi
    Max depth: 102 feet
    Waves: Pretty flat once we were there
    Visibility: 10 to 15 feet
    Water Temperature: 68 degrees with a thermocline at 80 feet
    Air Temperature: 70 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: 26 minutes

    I decided to swim towards the island and check bug population.

    That was a big mistake- sand, more sand and a few lobsters the size of shrimp.

    I went deeper, to 60 feet and found some sea grass.

    I looked and looked – nothing.

    I continued on, and at 80 feet I felt the water temperature drop about 10 degrees and came upon a piece of wreckage.

    I have no idea what the wreckage was, I just cared that there were bugs on it.

    I spotted three terrorist lobsters and went to pin the biggest one – BAM!

    Got it!

    Finally, I am not going to get skunked!

    I could barely fit my hand around the carapace, so there was no need to measure; I dropped my light that was in my other hand to open my bag, and the terrorist lobster began flapping its tail and flew out of my hand!

    FUCK! REALLY?

    I went deeper and started to see a lot of shorts around some giant kelp.

    I spotted two nice sized lobsters at 90 feet, but they were hiding under some debris.

    Hmmm… I examined the debris and noticed it was just some sort of thin metal sheet.

    Using my white belt Jiu Jitsu skills, I lifted the metal sheet up to the amazement of the stunned bugs.

    Before they could react, I pinned the biggest one and bagged it.

    I looked for the other one, but it did not stick around.

    By this time, I had 600 psi left and was at 100 feet – I was not into deco, so I headed towards the surface aiming for the direction of the boat – slowly, but with no safety stop.

    I was pretty close to the boat and made a short swim back.

    When the Captain went to refill my tank, he mentioned, “You know how close you came to running out of air?”

    “Yes, that’s why I came back,” I said.

    Most got skunked – out of nine divers, three had a total of six lobsters.

    My first bug of the season
    My first bug of the season!

    Donna loses it.
    Reverend Al comforted Donna when she started to get sea sick.

    Details of Dives two and three will be posted after I get some sleep – STAY TUNED!

    September 26, 2014

    California Money Grab, Good Luck Hunting – And Other News…

    So, I’m getting ready for lobster season, and stop by Big 5 to get this season’s lobster report card.

    If you remember, prior to last season, the report cards lasted the entire calendar year.

    Last season, if you bought a lobster report card at the beginning of the season, the card would last the entire season.

    If you already had a report card from that year from the previous season, that card would be valid until the end of the calendar year.

    If you wanted to continue that season after the first of January, you had to purchase another report card that would expire at the end of the season.

    Confusing, huh?

    Well, I was one of the people that had a lobster report card that I bought in early 2013 and then had to buy one again in January – that one lasted until the end of that season.

    I filed my lobster report for the year 2013 by January 30, 2014.

    So, I’m in Big 5 this afternoon and ordered a lobster report card.

    They asked me for one of my drivers licenses; I gave him the one I use for my fishing license.

    The total came to $21.60.

    “Holy, crap, the lobster report cards have really gone up!” I said.

    The machine printed a small green piece of paper.

    “I guess so, I wonder why the machine didn’t print the whole card,” The cashier said.

    Mystified, she called the manager.

    The manager came over and handed me the paper.

    DFG Money Grab

    “You didn’t file your report for last season, so you just paid the fine,” he said.

    He continued, “Now that you got that out of the way, would you still like your lobster report card?”

    Isn’t technology great?

    I hope they never start using that kind of technology when they send out Jury Summonses – which I have never gotten.

    In other news…

    RIP - My flooded camera
    My flooded camera is – deceased.

    I volunteered last weekend to dive in the Heal The Bay clean up.

    The diving at the Santa Monica pier was cancelled due to big swells.

    I had volunteered for the Redondo Beach clean up, on the side near the Chart House.

    We canceled the dive on our end due to conditions, but the clean up under the pier went forward.

    Waves at Redondo

    I don’t have any news on what kind of cool stuff they found – I took off when our diving was cancelled.

    I’m on a boat tonight for the opening morning of Lobster Season.

    We’re planning on doing three dives off Catalina and the swell models are promising to make the trip quite the puke-bucket adventure.

    I like quality posts over quantity, so it may take me until Sunday to complete all the posts from Opening morning.

    So, fellow lobster hunters, be careful, be safe and good luck!

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