Dive Report: San Clemente Island 10-28-18: Why Must I Leave?

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Posted by Jeff Reeb on October 30, 2018 at 20:22:04:

“I don’t want this dive to end.” I said to myself. “Why must I get back on the boat? Why must I leave this liquid womb where it is warm, dark, and I weigh nothing?” Can I not stay, just a little bit longer? Pleading with myself could not change the laws of physics, so reluctantly I had to accept what could not be changed and headed for the swim step of the Horizon Dive Boat.

And so, began day two of a two-day Ocean Safari dive trip on the Horizon. We started the second day with a pre-dawn dive at San Clemente Island, after making four dives the day before at Cortez Bank.

The pre-dawn dive took place in 80’ of water where a long vertical wall ran parallel to shore. The approach to the wall from the ocean side was a carpet of white sand, making for a dramatic marinescape where the white sand met the dark vertical wall. The top of the wall was uneven, giving it a ragged, parapet look. There were kelp strands rising from random rocks scattered along the approach, hanging motionless in the water like silent sentries standing guard over the wall.

All this formed the back drop to a spectacular dive that was just amazing. The visibility along the wall was 50’-60’ or better and so from any given point you could see diver’s lights dancing vertically in the water column up and down the wall. The scene reminded me of the night scenes in the James Cameron movie The Abyss, where the divers, submersibles and ROV’s are staged three dimensionally to accent the scene's sense of depth and drama.

Towards the end of the dive at the point where I was pleading with myself to stay, I was hanging weightless about 20’ below the boat as its lights lit the surrounding area. Almost all the other divers had exited, and I was alone with my thoughts as I watched loose schools of fish attracted by the boast’s lights pass by. I was completely warm in my wetsuit, a rarity for me, completely relaxed, (also rare), and completely enthralled by the dive. “Why must I leave?”

J. Reeb

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