Monday, August 25, 2008

Logged SCUBA dive #12 - Gear check out at Redondo Beach

Date - Aug. 24, 2008
Location: Veteran's Park - Redondo Beach, Calif.
Dove with: my manfriend
In With: 2600 psi
Out With: 800 psi
Max depth: 72 feet
Waves: A little surge, but manageable
Visibility: excellent
Water Temperature: 55 at depth, 60 at the surface
Total Bottom Time: About 40 minutes

In an homage to Psycho Solo Diver, I am borrowing his format for posting about dives.
Get all the details up top in a clear, concise way then add color below that.

So... Sorry, no camera this time...

We got a later start than we normally would have liked, but the manfriend had to take his dad to LAX and I had some dive-related errands in the morning. So it worked out fine.

My errands included going to get my tank filled and picking up the gear I had in the shop for inspection and any repairs.

I had taken MF's regulator in because the last time we went diving together, way back in July, it was free-flowing air. Never a good thing.

I also had purchased a used BCD and regulator off of eBay from two different sellers.
They looked to be in good shape, but I wanted to get them checked out and cleaned up.
Plus the regulator only had the primary air source, so I had them add the octopus or secondary air source that would be used in case my buddy ran out of air.

So they got that all done and things looked good to go.

I also needed weights and was thinking about renting. But in the end, I just bit the bullet and bought the weights. I got soft weight pouches that will fit in the pockets of the BCD.

When I bought the BCD I specifically got one that had pockets built in for the weights. This seemed like a much better option than the weight belt. I found the weight belt to be very uncomfortable.

Anyway, errands and chores done, we packed up our gear and headed to the beach.

It was sunny at my house, but still a little windy and overcast at Vet's Park. From the parking lot we checked out the water.

There was a little chop close to shore, but the swells were not too big. We decided to gear up and go for it.

It looked a bit choppier once we got to the water's edge. But the waves at the shore were only calf-high, so in we went.

There we no problems at all with the entry.

We got in and got our fins on then started an easy swim out for a bit. There was a line of swimmers, one after the other going parallel to the shore. We stopped there, planning on descending instead of trying to get by them and getting tangled up.

At this point I was having a little trouble with my reg. It was hard to breath off of it and then at one point the valve got stuck open and the air free-flowed out of it.

I got the air to stop and then used the new octopus - secondary air source - to breathe off of.

Once we felt comfortable with the gear, we descended and dropped to the bottom at about 15 feet down.

Swimming due West for a while we saw several flounders and starfish as well as a few little crabs. The visibility was really good, but we pretty much just saw sand.

At one point we stopped and I switched over to the primary regulator. It seemed like it was breathing OK now, so I stuck with it.

We continued West toward the shelf. We hit a slight thermocline and its blast of cold water at about 30 feet. The plan had been to swim along the edge of the shelf until I was down to 1000 psi of air, but I had 1600 left at that point, so we decided to start at least partially down the shelf.

I had not gone over the shelf before and it really does drop off fairly quickly. In no time we were at 60 feet then 70 feet... We hit a really cold thermocline at about 70 feet. After a few minutes of this I was closer to that 1000 psi and my fingers were pretty cold.

So we decided to swim back toward shore.

When we got to about 25 feet we surfaced. Those swimmers were still going back and forth. Or maybe it was different swimmers. Either way, we dropped again to swim under them.

We surfaced again at about 10 feet and swam in until we could stand up and get the fins off.
Nick's regulator was bubbling a lot. Not a full free flow, but bubbling constantly. It had been fine during the dive and now it was free flowing. Since we were at a point where we could stand, it was not a big deal. We proceeded with the exit.

The exit worries me more than anything else.
I just really do not want to fall.

And there were a lot of people on the beach watching us exit. I'm sure it must look odd to some people just there to sit on the sand and watch the kids play in the surf line and build sand castles.
There people, covered from head to toe, come staggering out of the water.

Don't fall... don't fall...

I had fallen on my very first dive here during check outs.
The sand forms a little ridge somewhere in the surf line and if you hit it wrong, down you go.
And getting up with the tank and the weights and the gear is not easy.
So it is best not to fall at all.

I am getting better at the exit. On my second checkout dive I stumbled but stayed on my feet.

The last time I dove with MF, I was better again.

This time was perfect. We both did great, striding out in badass fashion.

Of course this means next time I will fall.

Back at the car we got all the gear off and decided to go back to the dive shop to get MF's regulator tweaked again to fix the free flow and to get our tanks refilled so we don't have to deal with that next time.

While the reg was being fixed we had some lunch.

All in all a very good check out dive.

The plan now is to do a couple more dives at Redondo and then move on to Malaga Cove which has a slightly trickier entry and a longer trek from the car with all the gear. But there is a reef there, so more to see.

After that, we shall see where we go next.

Oh yeah, and from now on... camera. I hate posting this long with no pictures.

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