Posted by tleemay on June 19, 2000 at 15:56:13:
OK, so I don't usually like to post trip reports... It seems I'm always being corrected on the facts by those who where also there (so MHK, Troy, Jason, et al -
chime in). This is a bit wordy, but I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything - actually Michael & Troy were adamant that nothing was left out. To that end, here's
what transpired during this past weekend's DIR demo and dives in Monterey sponsored by MHK and those great folks at the Monterey Bay Diving Center
First of all, hats off to Andy Voss and his "now fiancÚ - I guess'" Trina (as originally introduced by Andy) - the perfect hosts to the perfect demo weekend. Andy is
an instructor and staff member of the MBDC. He was the one who offered up MBDC to be the local org involved with sponsoring the event providing a location,
signage, and local contact point for anyone interested in the event. These two made the entire two day presentation a smooth and completely fictional event. Andy
needs a bit of education though when it comes to lighting the BBQ, but other than that, he and Trina are fully versed and well connected in the diving activities of the
area - true professionals!
The entire odyssey started in WLA as I picked up MHK from his house. There was a bit sarcasm being bantered about as to if Troy "Hog Boy" Bagwell was going
to go or not. Seems like MHK may have gotten some slight covert info that Troy may bail on us. None the less, we ready to go. As I backed the Explorer up into
Michael's driveway at 2:20 pm, I heard him proclaim "Hog Boy's IN!". Troy had just called to confirm he was ready and waiting at his home about 5 minutes
away. Michael and I had packed the night before and had loaded up the Explorer pretty much full with 1 set of doubles, a steel 95, a alum 80, 5 sets of DIR Demo
gear, 2 other bags of dive gear for us, PLUS a support tool/parts box and our 2 dry gear bags. Oh, and I almost forgot, the Gavin Scooter and battery. The ass-end
of the Explorer was drooping a tad bit.
We were bound and determined to leave LA by 2:30 pm. That point was completely understood by all parties involved. We picked up Troy at his home at 2:28:30
pm. We loaded up Troy's tank, wet and dry gear and were pulling out from the driveway at 2:30:50 pm. "Damned :50 seconds late" I mumbled to myself as I
pointed the nose of the Explorer towards the 405 freeway on ramp.
Just like any other car full of hooligans, we had quite the discussions during our 5 hour and 40 minute drive to Monterey. Other than a quick stop at the bottom of
the Grapevine in the fabulous and hotter than Hell itself San Joaquin Valley for some truck stop style Burger King, we stuck to the plan at hand; getting to Monterey
early enough in the evening to meet and have dinner with Andy Voss and his significant other.
Pulled into Monterey at 8:10:52 and took the proper off ramp. Troy began to read us the directions to the hotel. As I drove on the streets of Monterey following
Troy's instructions, I realized then and there he was full of shit and what he was telling me didn't jive with what I had read on a map the night before. Tossing those
instructions to the side, plan B was instigated and we arrived at the hotel 5 minutes later. A call was made to Andy's house where Trina answered and advised Andy
was not home yet, but she would get the message to him we were at the hotel settled, and hungry. Andy called back 10 minutes later and we proceeded to make
plans to meet at a chinese restaurant down the street.
"How will I know you guys? Andy asked Troy on the phone.
"Terry's wearing a blue T-shirt with 'Sea Divers' written on the back" Troy told him.
"John Delaney's not with you guys too, is he?" (OK, Andy didn't really ask this. It's an embellishment since I was wearing Delaney's club's shirt).
It would have been a lot easier to have said "look for the two blonde guys in the booth arguing with the loud New Yorker".
Andy and Trina showed up about 5 minutes after we arrived. We all introduced ourselves and proceeded to order dinner; hot & sour soup, king pao beef, lemon
chicken, and the chef's special low mein noodle. Following dinner, we agreed to a meet time and went our ways to get some sleep for the next day's events. After
We got back to the hotel, I was a bit pissed about a certain gift a local shit hawk left on my windshield.
"I'm going to get my windshield clean, I'll be right back" I said to the lads.
"Whatever" they both chimed in damned near perfect two part irish harmony. They both sounded tired.
I drove to a local gas station and proceeded to clean what seemed to be 3 pounds of chunky white off my windshield. As I walked into the quickee-mart section of
the station to get some clean paper towels, I decided a can of fermented barley and hops was in order to settle myself down before nodding off following the long
drive and great meal. I made the purchase and slipped back to the hotel. I arrived back in surprise to find MHK and Hog boy fully awake and watching "Law &
Order" on cable.
"WHAT is that?" Troy blurted out.
"What?" I said.
"THAT!" said Michael as he pointed to the plain brown bag holding the beer I bought.
"Bud Light" I responded very quietly. "Why?"
"And you didn't even think about US?" they both questioned.
"But it's a 24 ouncer - we can share" I hopelessly replied.
Awwww crap, now they have ammunition. "Never forget who's on your team" - this will be the battle cry for the weekend. Every time something even remotely
comes off a bit askew - from now until midnight Sunday - it will from this moment now be referenced to "that time you brought beer to the hotel and didn't think
about you diving buddies, you know, the others two that hold your life in their hands while underwater". I will NEVER make that mistake again, just like I learned
the hard way you never let go of the line.
I needed to mitigate the damage and fast. I bolted out the room door, ran across the boulevard dodging traffic which included a Monterey Police cruiser, and burst
into the Chalet Liquor Store that was prominately displaying "Welcome PGA Professionals and Fans" banners all over the freaking place (did I forget to mention that
Tiger Woods and his pals were in town partaking in some silly little pitch-&-putt event on the other side of the peninsula with another 20,000 on-gawkers?). I
trotted up to the beer case and went in search of libations for Troy and MHK - I scanned my database; Troy is after all Hog boy - he'll drink anything, but Michael...
mmmm, AH YES! Corona - no fruit. Realizing I was not completely in the clear for these faux paux, I collected a liter of Foster's Bitter to soften up the blows I was
surely going to continue receiving. I ran back across the boulevard and into the room with the corrected delivery materials. I was safe for the time being.
Next morning we arrived at San Carlos Beach following a quick breakfast purchase of latte's and scones & doughnuts from what had to be the coffee-natzi of
Monterey. We found a loading zone and started hustling gear to the tables and tent about 50 yards away. We setup all the gear and put it in prominent display for all
to see. Andy was already there with the rest of the demo gear with Trina. He had signs placed all over the area pointing to our direction for the DIR Demo and free
BBQ. For those of you un-familiar with the area, San Carlos Beach is adjacent to the Monterey Breakwater - a VERY popular diving area for classes and seasoned
divers a like. There must have been 400+ divers in/out of there throughout the day. This was to place to be if you were to give a DIR Demo, there were many to
Andy had planned for MHK's first presentation to start at 10:00 am, but by 9:40 there were already people popping by wanting to know just what DIR is and what's
all the interest about. Seems that when more showed up and any given time, even more were attracted to the event. I started to tell the initial 5 who inquired what
DIR was, how it all began and why it's useful in not only tech diving, but the typical single tank dry and shallow stuff common to their area. After I gave them a brief
history about the philosophy, I invited them to hang around to hear Michael speak at the top of the hour. Two of those persons I talked to walked over to their
instructor and told him what was going on. The instructor, teaching and advanced and navigation modules that morning, quickly hustled the students away and off to
the grassy area behind us. I later talked to one of the people and inquired why they didn't come back for MHK's presentation.
"Our instructor doesn't like the DIR principals, so he asked us to stay away from you guys" he said.
"Let me guess" I asked, "PADI?".
"Uh huh" he said.
That was about the most negative thing I observed during the entire two days we were there. As people did the demos, we make necklaces for their back-up regs
out of surgical tubing and zip-ties as a free handout in remembrance of their demo with us. About 3/4 the way through the day, MHK and Andy estimated
somewhere between 75 and 100 people had already come by and participated in the lectures, demo'd BP and wings, or just popped in to say hello having been
following the antics of DIR in various news groups and lists. Jason O'Rourke and Chris Sharpe came by from the BA. It was very clear to us that Jason had a plan
for the weekend, a plan that we, especially Michael, were happy to facilitate. Jason was to be on the boat the next day for the second portion of the demo - so
Michael let him crash at the Hotel that night with us.
Many doffed and donned the demo gear as the day wore on. Our oldest participant was 71 years old, someone who wasn't exactly happy with the way he had been
diving to date.. for almost 35 years. He was thrilled with BP wings and breathing the long hose following his in water demo. He heard of this presentation/demo by
seeing one of the signs Andy posted about the event. He had heard of DIR originally as he was in another shop in the area weeks previously. He had all the usual
questions to which we answered with all the usual answers. He had been an instructor in the area during the 70's and early 80's. He was very impressed on his
"glide" in the water and the lack of clutter across his chest. He immediately put two and two together and came up with "better air consumption".
Trina cranked out BBQ burgers, turkey dogs and garden burgers for those who came by and checked us out. She's the greatest!
Towards the end of the day, a group of local tech divers trotted by to say hello. I'm having a hard time remembering their names at this time, but they are for the
most part readers of Techdiver, Techdivers-CA, rec.scuba and scuba-BA groups and lists. We even had some other DIR brothers show up wearing their GUE
shirts. Someone asked us if the local ANTI-DIR muscle had shown up who made the threats on the Diver.net and Rodale's BBS - we all laughed as we knew the
"threats" were meaningless.
Saturday evening following the demo, we trotted off to Castroville to have dinner with one of MHK and Troy's longtime technical instructors as Jason came along
too. We had some of the most excellent BBQ from the Texas Central BBQ "shack". A very cool place complete with all the Texas memorabilia you can imagine on
the walls, and ceiling, and floor. Even the little grey bearded guy behind the counter smoking the cigarette in between slicing the meats and jabbering with the
customers seemed authentic - turned out he was the owner. We all had a huge dosage of charred animal flesh in various forms along with salads, drinks and the
obligitory texas style pinto beans. Absolutely no one finished their meal.
Note; never give pinto beans to Troy within 8 hours of bedtime. The hotel room was thick with "atmosphere" all night long and into the wee hours of the morn..
Next morning, we are to do a DIR boat demo with 10 other divers on the Silver Prince from the K dock. We paid our homage to Monterey's Coffee Nazi and
made the boat dock by 6:40 am, boat leaves at 7:00. Troy needed to swing up to Santa Cruz to pick up some double tanks he ordered last July, so MHK and I
took my dive gear and boarded the boat. Andy provided my a couple of HP 120's with EAN36 for me to use. Michael didn't feel a need to dive that day, so all his
gear was left in the Explorer. Jason also was doing the dives.
It seems as if Jason was determined to "de-stroktify" his configuration - MHK got fired up.
The console was now gone.
The computer was now on the left wrist.
The compass was now on the right wrist.
SPG was on a hose by itself and clipped off to his left hip d-ring.
Octo was now necklaced around the neck.
Long hosed primary was already in place.
Jet Fins were already in place
Attitude about DIR was already in place
After all changes were made and confirmed, MHK pronounced Jason as being 90% DIR, to whatever yardstick he was using at the time. Maybe it was Jason's
questions about integrating a camera into the system...?
I made the first dive with Jason and another diver named Adam. We did an 83', 37 min dive in 5' vis at Lighthouse Reef. There was a serious algae bloom in the
area, so we made the best of it. In a reef structure that reminded me of Santa Rosa Island's Wycoff Ledge, saw a rather large ling cod about 4' long and a medium
sized octopus about a foot across. An average dive for my tastes in Monterey, water was just at 49 on my watch, but 51 on my gauge.
As the dives progressed, we had about 6 divers in DIR configured gear. One couple were on the boat for the trip only and therefore had no idea this was to be a
demo trip. No problems, they were happy and even asked a couple questions none the less. They left with more answers than questions to ponder.
The second dive, I decided to stay out of the water as I had to make sure my dry suit was somewhat dried out before we packed up and headed back to LA. Most
everyone got in the second dive and experienced a bit better vis, although we stayed on the same spot. JAson and Adam went down together and came back with
the telling of stories about seeing huge angel sharks and naked ladies popping in and out of the reef structure (again, the naked ladies is an embellishment, they were
After the gear had been tried and the principles discussed, one gentleman on the boat we found out was the owner of a couple dive shops in the state of Colorado. I
I didn't catch his name, but he was very impressed with how the BP/wings configuration made him feel as one with his tank and Bare dry suit. He has been diving all
over the world and in all climates in a Dive Tech contraption for many years and though it was the best he ever dove in... until today. Andy jumped in and proceeded
to tell him, and the others on the boat that if there was something you wanted as far as dive gear was concerned, let him know and he will get it. The idea is, if one
person wants it, there are probably others who do too. This shop owner from Colorado vocally agreed with Andy and said he was a fool if he too didn't do the
As our DM for the morning Voytek was pulling anchor and preparing to return the SIlver Prince back to the dock, we called Troy to check his status. He had picked
up the tanks in Santa Cruz, gassed up the Explorer, and was waiting for us in the parking lot.
"While we are coming back in, swing over to the sandwich shop and get us something to eat so's we can get the Hell out of town before the US Open maniacs
decide to do the same" Michael told Troy.
"But what if the sandwich shop is out of sandwiches?" Troy responded.
"Tell them to make more, it's a sandwich shop... that's what they do."
Sadly Troy's faux paux didn't have quite the impact as the beer incident, so it will be a very long time until I live that one down.
As we did our thank yous and shook hands with all involved in the weekend project, we promised to come back in a few months to do it again. The drive home was
pretty un-eventful as Troy snored in the back seat for the first 3 hours of the trip. About 10 miles before Santa Barbara, we encountered some really thick traffic that
delayed us getting home by about 45 minutes. Turned out that 3 miles south past Santa Barbara, cars were stopping in mid lanes to watch yahoos swinging from the
paragliders off a high cliff adjacent to the ocean.
"F*cking paragliders, we were in stop and go traffic all this time for this? It's just wrong I tell you WRONG!" exclaimed Michael before settling back down to the tunes of the "Soft Seventies".
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