Posted by seahunt on February 13, 2010 at 02:59:52:|
In Reply to: So what got you into diving? posted by JohnC on February 11, 2010 at 12:11:49:
I was at my friends house and I saw an ad for dive gear on the back of a Sears catalog.
I think it was $100 for everything you needed. I decided I wanted to do that. I think it
was from my visits to Marineland when I was younger. That led me to Cal Aquatics, the
first dive shop in the San Fernando Valley. I was 15 at the time. I got my mother to drive
me across the valley. In the long run I think back that I must have driven these poor people
crazy. I had enormous energy and much of it came out of my mouth. At that age, I was also
bigger than most adults.
We had this exhaustive 19 hour class, or was it 20? Hey, there was a lot less to learn back
then. There were no BC's. No submersible pressure gauges.
I started with bad ears and the doctor's recommendation that I never dive. I just didn't
know how to clear my ears. Our first dive was at Zuma Beach. It was about 15 feet deep with
a sandy bottom, but I couldn't see that and didn't really know it was there. After about 5
tries, I saw the bottom. We were supposed to pick something up, but all I saw was sand. I
went up and told them this. They said "right" and I was a diver... sorta. Ultimately, learning
to clear my ears for diving, probably saved them.
For the next 4 years I was frequently on the SeaBee, The Sea Packer and the Sea Ventures.
These were all similar boats based in Ventura County. A due south heading from the harbor,
would likely make you hit the tip of Anacapa Island. Usually, the boat went a few degrees
west and went to Santa Cruz Island. The exotic trip was to go on up the back side of Santa
Cruz Island and then cross over to Santa Rosa Island. This was pristine diving and at times
I was able to make a trip just about each week.
At this time I was also constantly diving in the sand at Zuma and the rocky kelp reefs of
Malibu. I used scuba, but in many ways, I preferred free diving. The area is not deep. My
neighbors had taken up diving, so I often had a ride. Bill's father Dave, would usually be
more inclined to the scuba, but Bill was my age and we would spend hour after hour bobbing
up and down off the shore. This was the ultimate opportunity for a kid to just endlessly
Then I started falling in with an NASDS crowd. I started spending my time on southern boats
like the Golden Doubloon and the Rio Rita. Their destination was mostly Catalina and Santa
Barbara Islands, but sometimes they went to San Clemente and even San Nicolas islands.
I went north to school in Santa Cruz in 74. You learn more about the challenges of diving
up there. Hunting and sight seeing is good. Conditions and vis are horrible. On a good day,
you can see 4 feet. Greyhound rock is likely to be the most lethal dive spot on the
California coast. I used to park my van at Pidgin Point with a pizza and a book on Friday
night. In the morning, if it was calm, I would dive there. If it was rough, I would go back
to Santa Cruz and go body surfing at Steamers Lane. Rough can mean over 10 foot waves. North
was the abalone diving of the North Coast, south was the more benign diving of Monterey and
I came back to Southern California in the mid 80's. This was the time of The Peace, The Truth,
The Encore, The Bottom Scratcher, The Charisma and BUGS. I was a lobster hunting fool. This
was the time of the Animals and Bugs-R-Us trips. The boats were bigger and San Nic was an open
boat trip. I also started diving out of Morro Bay and Alviso on my friend Dale's boat.
I even started going farther, like Hawaii, Belize, Florida, Bahamas and Cabo San Lucus. There
I saw coral and the life of the warmer waters.
I got married and moved to San Diego where I explored Wreck Alley, La Jolla, Point Loma and
other fun diving in the ares. In the later 90's I started doing more night diving for lobsters.
I ended up doing a lot of that. I still made regular trips up north and stayed at Sea Ranch
for the diving.
While I did pick up a NITROX ticket, my only real certification was NAUI Beginning Scuba Diver.
I never took another class. I was too busy diving.
It was a long time ago. I went to the swap meet at the Simi Valley Drive-In Theater and found
a beaver-tail wetsuit for $10. I had $10 left and got a tank and a 2 hose, single diaphragm,
Healthways regulator. It was an 1800 psi tank with a champagne bottom and a K valve reserve.
The backpack was made of cotton straps. Burbank Scuba Repair spiffed up the regulator. I put
it to good use. I never looked back.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt (I did)