Saturday, October 25, 2008

First "Real" Kayak Dive

Kayak Dive Log
October 25, 2008
Launch Site: La Jolla Shores Boat Launch
Dive Site: La Jolla Cove Kelp bed
Start Time: 0825
Depth: 44
Dive Time 46

Jeff and I agreed to meet at the La Jolla shores Boat Launch at 0730. This was our first meeting and our first dive together. Today is a beautiful, Santa Ana, day. Clear blue skies and very gentle breeze. Almost no surf what-so-ever at the Boat Launch. A little higher surf up towards the Lifeguard tower north of us. I parked my car on the street and went to meet Jeff. There were half a dozen kayak fishermen preparing to launch their kayaks. A short time later Jeff approached and introduced himself.

We both got our cars and drove them onto the beach. Today the sand is packed enough to allow this. Without four-wheel drive a car can get stuck if the sand is too soft or loose. Got my kayak down off the car and started getting it and my dive gear ready to go. Jeff had already put his dive gear together. That saved a lot of time at the beach. Next time I will have my Tank, BCD, and regulator altogether and ready to go. Come to think of it, on my test dive, I had already put my gear together. That is because I had come from an aborted dive at La Jolla Cove, when my buddy had an equipment problem. Part of the reason for this dive was to further develop my kayak dive routine as I have developed my shore or boat-diving routine.

We paddled out towards La Jolla Cove Kelp bed area. I had my one piece rear zippered wetsuit on. Because I was using this wetsuit I had to have my hood on and the suit zipped up. It would be difficult for my buddy to zip up the suit while I was sitting on the kayak. This made it harder to paddle out. It puts a lot of strain on the upper arm and shoulder muscles. And with the hood on, though pulled down, my breathing was somewhat restricted. For the short paddle out to The Cove it was not too bad. But if I were to be going to some of the more distant dive sites, like Quast or God’s Rock, Scripp’s Canyon, or the far-western Kelp Bed, this would be a problem. I think I will get a wetsuit that zips up the front, say a Farmer John step-in or a one piece that zips up the front.

We stopped between the 5mph buoy and the La Jolla Reserve Buoy "A ". I had my mask, fins, gloves, and light in my goody bag secured in the forward bungy-well. My Tank assembly was secured in the rear tank well. I donned my fins, mask, and gloves. Then I got in the water and pulled the tank out of its well. Donned my tank and got it all adjusted. I retrieved my dive light and Jeff and I started our dive.

We were hoping to see some GSB and Soupfin sharks. Had a good dive and returned to the kayaks. It was somewhat surgey on the bottom. I came up within about 20 yards of our anchor position. Took a bearing and swam back to the kayaks underwater. I could see the kayaks on the surface and made my final ascent. Did not see any Soupfin or GSB on the dive.

Upon return to the boats we reversed the process and got off all out gear. The last time I did this I had to figure out the best way to get my tank and BCD back into the tank well. I bellied up over the back of the kayak and pulled the unit back into the kayak as I slid down the other side of the kayak. I did it the same way this time. Jeff suggested that next time I tie off my BCD to the kayak and then get up on the kayak facing the rear and pull it up the into the well. That seems like a good way to do it. I will try it next time.

This was a good first dive for the two of us. I will definitely do it again. I really want to go to dive sites that are too long to get to by a surface swim.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Exploring with a Buddy

Guest Blogger Cindy
October 19, 2008
(Editorial comments in blue)
Our morning started out today with a meeting time of 8 a.m. at La Jolla Shores parking lot. The sun was just starting to peak through the marine layer when I arrived.

We unloaded our kayaks and gear and set toward the water. The morning was warming up, so I cast off my wind-breaker before we launched. It was going to be a beautiful morning.

We headed south toward the Marine Room restaurant. I was very pleased to see my first (Leopard) sharks in their natural habitat. Sea World and aquariums don’t really count. The water was very clear; I saw approximately 10 individual sharks. It was very exciting.

We then set toward a little beach that is only accessible by the water. We had plans of having a place to slide on the kayaks into the water. The seaweed and contours of the beach were not conducive to our endeavor. (A lot of seaweed washed up on the beach obscured the normally smooth grade of rocks. Makes for a fun slide into the water.) I did however find a partial fossil ammonite that was embedded in a rock on the beach. I always enjoy finding something special like that.

The sea caves were next on the route. Conditions were great for gliding through the Emerald Cove cave. The ocean smells great in there. The combination of the water, air and rock is wonderful. On the way just a touch south of there, I seem to have disturbed a few seals when I got a little too close to take a photo. A couple of them stared in barking at me. I scurried away quickly after securing my camera in the watertight case.

I was then a little sad to see a bobbing "dead" bird nearby. I went in a little closer to see what kind it was. To my delight it was a very small, very cute sleeping baby bird. It woke up and started peddling its little feet and raised its head. I’m not sure what kind it was, maybe a grebe or some type of loon. Anyway, it was Cute, with a capital C.

We then ventured a little further south, encountering some seals, fellow kayakers, kelp, watched some waves crash on the sea wall, water birds and too many Garibaldi to count.

All in all it was a nice excursion with great weather and water condition.