Posted by Eric S on August 05, 2001 at 21:22:54:
Saturday I dove with Mike (seahunt ) up here in Sonoma County. He was up here on his annual abalone hunt so he called me up and we went diving. First we blew a tank at Gerstle Cove State Reserve. I wanted to show him that site because of the extensive marine life found there. I led him on a tour as he shot photos like mad.
I know there has been a lot of controversy on this board lately between a few people so I wanted to take the opportunity to report my experience. BTW, I ALWAYS reserve comment on people ONLY after I have met them in person, and in the case of diving, have dove with them.
Mike wore a 7 mil 1 piece with a hooded vest, a regular BC, an aluminum 80 filled with air (that I brought up) full foot fins with no booties (he is a big guy with huge feet and they don't get cold, even in 52 degree water!), and 32 Lbs. of weight on his belt (he was light and could have used another 2-3 pounds but he is used to using an HP steel so that explains it).
After a wonderfull dive we headed out and went north to sea ranch to get in some ab diving. As we got to the gate at the top of the hill leaving Gerstle we were pulled over by DFG and thoroughly searched inside and out. I felt it was like check point charlie! They completely went through my van and mikes car as well. One of the Sheriffs deputies looked at me and asked "Why do you need a camoflage suit! What do you plan on using that for?" I had to explain that it was a special freediving suit and the camo is designed to hide you in the kelp and that if they made it in any other color I would have gotten it.. blah blah blah... Their getting bad!
When we got to sea ranch, where he was staying, we at a little lunch (light) talked about the BBS for a while, I met his wife Debbie, we geared up, and jumped in. The ocean was beginning to pick up considerably by now, so we needed to find a suitable entry where we wouldn't get thrashed. We found a calm tide pool that had a chute leading out to the ocean. the waves were spilling in and out so we timed it just right and got out with the surge just like a giant toilet flushing! It was actually quite fun.
The abs were scarce, at first I didn't see any. I looked over and Mike had already gotten 2, both over 9"! We were diving in about 35-40 feet of water with pinnacles up to 15 feet. The bottom terrain on this part of the coast os very dramatic with lots of huge boulders, swim throughs, big giant cracks and crevices. I finally found a good size ab and layed my 9" guage on it and bamm! 9 1/8"..Cool. Grabed him, back up, go over to show mike, he's now got three over 9"!
We continued to dive mesmerized by the beauty of this place. I got 2 more (I was only going to take 2 but I was having to much fun so I took three)
Mike got his fourth and it too was in excess of 9".
I must admit, I thought I was a pretty good ab diver but Mike blew me away with his breath hold skills. He was doing some long deep dives and completely relaxed, and it was beginning to get to be no picnic out there and I could see the skills of a veteran diver. Like I say, don't judge someone that might be coming from a different point of view until you have dove along side them and witnessed their skills first hand, they might just surprise you.
So, Mike got a 9", 9 1/8", and two 9 1/2"'s.
I got a 8 15/16", 9 1/8", and a 9 1/2".
In summary, I found Mike to be a very pleasant, nice guy and a pleasure to dive with. I would definitely dive with him again.
Also, I have a whole bunch of pounded ab meat ready to go in my fridge, so if any of you So. Calers want to come up here and get it it's here... yeah right!
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