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  • December 21, 2008

    Winter Solstice Dive At The Old Marineland

    Logged SCUBA Dive #325

    Old Marineland (aka Long Point, Terranea Resort)

    Dove With Dennis G, Reverend Al, SCJoe and the Nice Bob

    In With: 3000 psi
    Out With: 300 psi
    Max depth: 60 feet
    Waves: Pretty much, flat as a lake
    Visibility: 10 to 25 feet – Pretty damn good!
    Temperature: 56 degrees
    Total Bottom Time: About 45 minutes

    Reports from yesterday rated Old Marineland as “spectacular” with vis as good as 25 feet off The Point; looking at the swell maps, I was hoping for better conditions today.

    Pristine conditions are apparent from the top of the cliffs.

    Conditions appeared to be good peering down from the overlooking cliffs; the ocean was as flat as a lake with really blue water.

    I filled out my lobster report card and brought my game bag just in case we saw some lobsters that we were lucky enough to catch.

    We made an easy entry off The Point.

    I followed Reverend Al, SCJoe, Dennis G. and the Nice Bob off the calm Point.

    It was low tide and sort of a challenge to me not to get hit by rocks when the tide receded, but I managed a pretty much uneventful entrance.

    We swam a little West to try and find a wreck called the “Newburn” and descended.

    The plan was to follow Nice Bob to the Newburn wreck, then to the statue at the Pinnacle and then make our way to an exit at the Cove.

    Dennis G. was the only diver besides me that was diving with an Aluminum 80, everyone else had 100 to 120 cubic feet of air.

    I told Dennis that if we hung out around the Point for too long, I was probably going to exit at the Point.

    We checked under the rocks and between the reefs for lobsters.

    We checked under the rocks and between the reefs for lobsters.

    Apparently at one point in the dive, we did come across the Newburn wreck.

    Later, Reverend Al asked me, “Didn’t you see those two polls?”

    “Yeah, those two pipes,” I replied.

    “Well, that’s pretty much what’s left of the wreck; it has seen better days,” Al replied.

    A deadly, man-eating horn shark awaits his next victim.

    A deadly, man-eating horn shark awaits his next victim.

    Lobsters have been spotted!

    We spotted lobsters in 60 feet of water off the Point.

    We dug in the reefs to try and liberate lobsters.

    We tried to dig several lobsters out of the rocks; I caught one with my left hand, while holding my camera with my right – how macho is that?!

    Unfortunately, my lobster was short; Al caught another short – both were released unharmed.

    The legal lobsters were too far in to grab – another example of Darwinism.

    A fish off a reef.

    A fish on a reef.

    I tried taking most of my pictures without using the flash to see if they came out better than with using the flash – “flash back” was eliminated, but the pictures turned out a little blurry because of the exposure time.

    An albino nudibranch.

    Nice Bob pointed out some kind of albino nudibranch.

    An interesting reef structure.

    We passed by “Anvil Reef” – OK, I just made that name up right now.

    The statue at the pinnacle.

    We made it to the statue at the pinnacle.

    I was down to 800 psi and had lost the group while taking a few pictures.

    I decided to make a cautious exit at the Point, rather than do a long surface swim and exit the Cove.

    With 300 psi left, I inflated my BCD, switched to my snorkel and floated carefully back into the large boulders at the Point.

    I had to make my way over some slippery and barnacle encrusted rocks, but looking back, it was better than surface swimming and bitch crawling over kelp to the Cove.

    The rest of the group made a safe exit at the cove.

    The rest of the group made a safe exit at the Cove.

    The debriefing begins!

    The debriefing begins, even though most of the beer was mistakenly locked in someone’s car!

    That situation was remedied in about 30 minutes.

    My artistic shot of the Bratwursts with the debriefing lot behind.

    My artistic shot of the Bratwursts with the debriefing lot behind.

    Cyber The Attack Dog consumed the excess beer and bratwursts.

    With the crowd thinning out early, Cyber The Attack Dog consumed the excess beer and bratwursts.

    There are talks of doing a Pagan dive on the 25th, but it’s also suppose to rain and there’s a slight dispute over where it should take place – Old Marineland or Veteran’s Park?


    1. Nice Dive Report! I dove 120 reef on Saturday and it was superb conditions… Easily 25ft of vis in places. Conditions from your first picture, showing Long Point, looks even better then it did yesterday. Whats a Pagan dive? I might be down for some X-mas action @ Old Marineland… Keep us updated!

      Comment by Frank — December 22, 2008 @ 12:24 am

    2. Sounds like a killer dive PSD. Too bad I’m in bubba land (Mississippi) far from any scuba diving. An exit at the point–that is indeed macho, and the first time I’ve read of anyone doing it. We really got to get you a 100ft^3 tank. Save that 80 for the pool.

      Comment by New Chris — December 23, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

    3. Hi, great dive report and pictures! It’s just amazing (also frustrating) how the bigger lobsters are so quick and always seem out of reach. What’s Pagan dive? Looking forward to your updates.

      Comment by celineyongscuba — December 25, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    4. Hey Jeff,
      Congrats on not getting killed exiting at the point. I have a few dozen exits there, none without some excitement. Now that I’m in a drysuit with camera and Merry in tow I’ve learned to tolerate the surface swim. I try to time the dive by dropping on Ted’s pinnacle, removing any trash left in the statue and slowly making my way back so I can surface in five feet right in front of Jeff’s Rock. Works every time. Send me your email address. I have a nice picture of the Newbern for you.

      Comment by Phil Garner — December 26, 2008 @ 2:21 pm

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