Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why Kayaking?

I have been Scuba diving in since I was a 'teen in the early '70's. Over the years I have had the chance to dive with many interesting people both here in San Diego and while traveling to exotic destinations. Through the years my diving frequency has waxed and waned depending on what I was doing in my life. But it has always been an important avocation in my life. Since about 1992 I have been diving on a regular basis. I do between 50 to 100+ dives per year.

In 1994 I had a couple of dive buddies with kayaks that were set up for diving. They were kind enough and patient enough to introduce me to this new adventure. My first experience was a success and great learning experience. My buddy Andy K. and I loaded up the kayaks at the boat launch at La Jolla Shores, Ca. We then paddled north beyond Scripp's Pier and out to the dive site of Scripp's Canyon. Even though this was my first time on a kayak with full dive gear I had no problem staying balanced a top the kayak and never once tipped over.

Securing our kayaks we donned our dive gear and headed into the Canyon. After a very nice dive we returned to the kayaks. At that time I was diving in an integrated BCD called an ATPAC, one of the first integrated BCDs. I easily secured my BCD and tank in the tank well and proceeded to climb aboard my kayak. This is when I ran into my first problem. Getting the kayak balanced in the water was not as easy as balancing it on the beach. I would sit on top trying to get stable for thirty seconds and then flip the kayak. I continued to try to stay atop. Soon I was becoming exhausted. Andy, being more experienced, took my kayak and I took his. I was able to stay atop it and we paddled back. I learned later that having my weight still in my BCD raised my center of gravity enough to make me unstable. From then On I would remove the weight and put it down low in the kayak while paddling. From then on with the lower center of gravity I had no problem.

Time passes and buddies move on. I did more kayak diving in 1995 but that was it for many years. Then in 2007 I took a trip to New Zealand. It was here that I again did some kayaking. And as soon as I returned from my trip I started my search for a kayak to dive from. I found myself a used Scrambler XL that was nicely equipped for diving. And for one year now I have been practicing my kayaking skills and increasing my stamina by slowly increasing the length of my kayak trips, and working on the problems specific to diving from a kayak.

Recently I did my very first kayak dive test dive. It was another success. Using our local diving website http://www.divebums.com/ I put a call our for others interested in kayak diving. I have found quite a few people interested in joining me. And now it just remains for us to get together and start on this new adventure.

I hope that this will let us reach dives sties along the shores of San Diego that are not easily accessible from the shore.


Very Anonymous Mike said...

What is a... "kayak diver"?

Kayak Kevin said...

Well, it could be someone who dives in search of kayaks. But as they do not often sink I think it is not that. Instead I believe in this case it refers to a diver (scuba or free diver) that utilizes a kayak as a platform to dive from.

goatchurch said...

Your blog showed up in my google alerts. Best of luck with it. I've been doing kayak diving in England for six years. There's nobody else who does it here -- still. You're lucky. Californians seem a little more open to these radical ideas, so I expect you'll find lots of buddies.

Kayak Kevin said...

Hi goatchurch, thanks for the encouragement. already have a few buddies lined up. Just a matter of getting together with them and diving.