Beautiful day up on the North Coast

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Posted by Eric S on November 14, 2009 at 21:19:33:

We had our monthly club dive today for the North Coast Divers.
We dove at Stillwater Cove in Sonoma County.

The water was fairly calm with only about 1 to 1.5 foot knee slappers on the beach. The water was a little choppy at 8:00 AM but it actually held out and calmed just a bit as the day went on. Vis was in the 10 to 20 foot range depending if you got into the milky layer or not.
I started the day with an Ab dive and within 30 minutes I pulled three. A couple around 8" and one closer to 9". Stillwater isn't known for giant abs and it's fairly picked over but diving to 20 feet uncovered plenty of legal abs.
After my ab diving I donned the Mike Nelson steel 72 with a cotton harness, the DA Aquamaster double hose, and the oval mask.
I did a quick vintage tank dive with a buddy of mine who was in regular modern gear. I came up to him and gave him the Mike Nelson big eyed stare out of the oval mask and I could hear his laughter into his reg. Sometimes I think I do this for other people's enjoyment more than mine. After about a 39 minute cruise the reg started to get a little stiff to breath so I reached back and pulled the J rod down and breathing went back to normal. I knew I had 400 PSI left so I gave it another 4 minutes then came up. Sometimes you just got to love how simple old technology was, look at your watch and pay attention to your depth- doesn't get much simpler than that.

We had about 16 people show up which is a great turn out for any club.

After all the diving was done I cleaned up 2 abs, sliced and pounded them, and fried them up with Panko Japanese bread crumbs in peanut oil. Fresh abalone on the beach after a day of diving, it get's no better then that.
I gifted the third ab to a fellow diver that doesn't freedive but loves abalone.

I'm still replaying the dive in my mind, working like hell to get air out of that double hose. It's all about body positioning and the relationship between the level of the mouthpiece and the reg. History has taught me a lot.

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