Really Thankful Thanksgiving Day - Dive Report

Great Dive Trips at Bargain Prices with the Sea Divers

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Posted by Patrick on November 28, 2009 at 13:57:54:

Following the decades-long tradition, the D/V Moby Kate and her motley crew made their way to the del Rey launch ramp for the required pre-turkey, Thanksgiving Day dive. Despite the beautiful conditions the day promised, our 06:45 departure found the ramp empty and we were quickly launched and under way with a slightly cool easterly wind pushing us on our way. In the main channel, we spotted one of the local sportfishing boats that a friend of our runs, pulling out to pickup his passengers. As we do on a regular basis, we handed him about 25-pounds of hooks, sinkers and lures that we collected from the local wrecks and reefs – a recycling effort of a sort and it gets the stuff off the bottom, at least for a while. In thanks for the donation, he offeed full breakfasts for the Kate crew, but we wanted to get to the diving part of the day an declined. “Well, you have to take something,” he said and handed us a 12-pack of Tecates. We politely accepted and headed out to what was looking to be an awesome day of diving.

We decided to hit a couple of deeper offshore reefs that we hadn’t looked at yet this lobster season but had shown some potential in past years. The short run out was beautiful with light wind ripples across a mirror-flat sea and escorts of the no-longer-endangered Brown Pelicans.

I was chosen to be the go-fer to check out conditions and confirm the site. Given the water clarity on the surface I was eager to go. On descent the visibility was in the 50-60-foot range – the big blue room effect with my computer telling me the temperature was an acceptable 58-degrees. On the bottom in 100+ feet it was different – only 40-foot of visibility and the temperature “plunged” to 57-degrees. Better yet, there was our down-line weight sitting in the sand about thirty feet away from the reef with a 4-pound bug standing right next to it. I responded to this warm welcome by inviting the welcoming crustacean home for dinner.

The reef area isn’t that big and with the great visibility I was able to cruise high and spot bugs easily. By the time my BT was coming to a close I had a full limit and ascended from one of the best dives I’ve had since my tryst with Honey the Harbor Seal at Santa Cruz...

Part of my limit…

Once I was back onboard, when the others heard of the conditions and saw the limit of bugs, there was frenzied activity to get in the water. When the next divers were ready I started the boat to move them to the spot. That is I tried to start the boat, but it was a no-go. An hour investigation and a complete disassembly and reassembly of the fuel system showed we had a deceased electric fuel pump. A call to Vessel Assist soon had us ignominiously trailing on the end of a towline back to the launch ramp at Del Rey. So we complied with the directions of Paul, our tow captain to “be sure and stay inside the boat” ringing in our ears. We did ask if he could tow us over to one of our spots for just one quick dive, but he said he couldn’t do that…

On the Tow Line

As we came up to the launch ramp we were greeted by an 18-foot open boat drifting crosswise between two of the docks, seemingly in some sort of trouble. We could see two females looking over the far side of the boat, but as the Moby Kate nudged against the dock, we could see what the problem was.

The Boat in Question

One of the girls was desperately holding a large, obviously terrified man along side the boat. Andy quickly grabbed the large commercial life-ring we carry aboard the Kate and made a perfect throw to the guy hanging like a terrified tea-bag off the boat. “Let go of her and grab the ring,” Andy yelled, but there was no response. This guy was locked down with fear and couldn’t respond to any directions. At this point it was doubtful how much longer the girl on the boat could hold this guy. Things were getting a bit tense. Paul, the Vessel Assist Captain, threw a large bumper float to the guy – again a great throw, but again the guy wouldn’t let go of the girl and grab the float. The next thing I heard (I was watching this all as I tried to corral the Moby Kate up against the dock) was Andy saying “Oh crap” as he dove off the side of the Kate and quickly swam to the guy’s side and got him to release the girl who had been holding him against the boat. He shoved the black bumper float into his arms and the boat guy was quickly pulled to safety.

The guy on the side of the boat after recovery

Besides not swimming, the guy didn’t speak much English either, but he did know “thank you” and he repeated that phrase over and over.

Andy After Rescue

So the question is: if the fuel pump on the Kate hadn’t croaked when it did, if we hadn’t showed up at the launch ramp when we did because of a dead fuel pump what would have been the outcome of the event we came upon? It might have turned out okay, but I wouldn’t have bet money on it. As it was there is at least one guy with a bunch to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

Andy After Rescue – note cell phone on right hip…

As for Andy, he was a bit cranky over the whole day – Yes saving the guy – we never got a name – was cool and rewarding, but the only dive he did on Thanksgiving was into the Marina – with his cell phone on his belt…

Stay wet - except for your cell phone...

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