Nitrox Cert. Dive Report - lonnngggg one

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Posted by DougD on November 19, 2001 at 22:10:47:

Saturday night I slept on the Spectre. This will probably be the last time I’ll do that because the smell of the Ventura Harbor is so incredibly rank. I can’t believe people actually live in boats on that cesspool. I can’t imagine divers ever going into the water there for a salvage, or any other purpose for that matter. I bet if you fell in the water there you’d, at least, come out with hepatitis.

Anyway, Sunday was my big day to do my Nitrox certification dives at Anacapa Island, and it was a beautiful day for it. I took three AL80’s with me: .36, .38.5, and 38.7 for my mix. None of the dives exceeded 47 feet so my maximum dose was not that high (.9, I think, without checking my log). Not sure that I could “taste” the difference, but I did seem to feel it. My gas consumption was way down and I left the water with more than 700 lbs on every dive. Maybe it’s just my imagination but I also seemed more alert on day’s dives. I noticed more. It could also be that I’m just getting more comfortable to being in the water around here now, and learning what to look for while I down there.

The first dive was at Landing Point (?) in the game reserve. There were tons of big fish, and huge lobsters everywhere. I was diving with Jonah Mulski on these dives, and he had a camera, so mostly we swam around looking for things to take pictures of. Anytime I found something good I’d wave him over. Most of the other divers were in some kind of class (OW, or Rescue) and were preoccupied so it was like having the dive sites to our selves most of the time. On this first dive were visited by a very shy harbor seal that orbited around us and then finally approached for a few close passes. He was moving to fast for Jonah to get a good shot of him though. On our way back toward the boat we found a cool swim through where the rock was very thin with a big hole in it. Jonah got a pretty good shot of me going through. The surge sort squirted me right through!

The second dive was off of Cat Rock and I took my pole spear with me for the first time. I saw some Sheephead but they all looked to small, and I saw some other fish that look big enough but I wasn’t sure what they were (Opaleyes, I think), so I let them pass. The few calico bass that saw me took off whenever I came near them. Jonah was scoring big time in the Rockscallop department, so I joined in with my dive knife and plucked off 5 big ones. The smallest one was the size of my palm, and the biggest was twice that size (the meat from that sucker was as big as my palm!). Finally, I saw a Cabezon’s tail flick over the edge of the reef. I circled around and there he was, hiding in plane sight. He was a good 12 inches. I thought about spearing him for a minute or two, but he was just too cool looking…and then there’s that poisonous roe part, so I let him continue his existence after pointing him out to Jonah. I also teased a Seahare here, but couldn’t get him to squirt any ink. Oh, well.

Oh yeah, I got stabbed by an urchin on this dive while trying to free a scallop. Put a knee right on him. Ouch! That was near the beginning of the dive so I had to live with that for about 45 minutes or so. Luckily, my instructor had tweezers on the boat and I was finally pulled out after 3 different people went digging for it.

Dive three (back in the Game Reserve), was a bit of bummer. One of my weight pouches fell out of my crappy Mares Syncro Power BC (don’t buy one) on entry. I didn’t notice it until I could go under. I had to swim back to the boat and borrow a weight belt. Amazingly, Jonah found it right before I was about to give up. I took the pouch up and finished the dive with one pouch and the belt.

The next surprise was coming across a complete scuba system on the bottom at 25 fsw! Jonah and I were a little concerned about this one. I was think, “This is not good.” And wondering what disaster had caused someone to ditch his gear and head for the boat. We decided we would inflate the BC and send the gear to the surface. We pulled it out to the sand and then noticed a guy swimming around up there with no Scuba, and another diver approaching him on the surface. We shot it right up to them. It was the Rescue class. Someone forgot to inflate his BC before ditching his gear. We told them we should get a 25% salvage fee, but they didn’t buy it.

Dive four was cool too, I saw my first shark! A full-grown Horn Shark! He was hanging out under a ledge with a bunch of lobsters that got my attention first. Of course, I waved over every other diver around to show off my find.

Anyway, it was another great day of diving in So. Cal. And the Nitrox worked out great. I felt safer, more alert on the dives, and less fatigued at the end of the day. I did a similar trip only three weeks ago and was completely wiped out afterwards. Did the Nitrox make the difference? Well, I think so.

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