Monday, April 13, 2009

Swimming in the Goldfish Bowl - dive 32

Goldfish Bowl, Anacapa, Channel Islands, Calif. (from the Spectre)
April 5, 2009
Logged dive: No. 32
Max depth: 40 feet
Bottomtime: 20 minutes
We should call this the dive that almost didn't happen and probably should not have happened.
After the dive at Rat Rock left me queasy I puked a couple times, but felt like I would be OK for this dive. Conditions at the site looked better.
The area was more sheltered and the surface, while not totally flat, looked much calmer than at Rat Rock.
We got back into our gear and waited our turn to take the giant stride off the boat and into the water.
I was in before Manfriend, starting my leisurely surface swim back toward the anchor line.
MF jumped in and popped to the surface ... with his mask in his hand.
Hmmm... that mask should be on his face.
The buckle on one side had broken, leaving the strap hanging, unattached.
We quickly consulted at the surface. I was going to head back to the boat with him, but he said I should find a new buddy for this dive and he would head back and see if he could repair the mask for the next dive.
I checked with some people in the water. They were part of a beginner class, but they had finished their skills on the earlier dive and this dive was just going to be a dive.
There was another certified diver tagging along since his girlfriend was in the class. The instructor paired us up as buddies and off we went, me and Joel, my new dive buddy.
We descended into about 40 feet of water. I was trying to keep an eye on where Joel was while making sure to give him good space to explore. Visibility was probably about 15-20 feet here, but a little murky.
It seemed like only a few minutes that we had been down there when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was MF. He had a mask on, but it was not his.
Cool. We could dive. I motioned to him that I was following Joel, my buddy. He motioned back OK and then indicated that he really could not see with the mask.
See, MF has what they call an optical mask. It's not a true match to his prescription glasses, but it is a lot better than a regular mask. So unless he was within a couple feet of something, he could not see too well.
We tried to do the dive this way, but again, it was not going well.
Joel was off here and there, with no apparent regard for where I was. MF was there, but not seeing clearly. And my queasiness was sneaking back in.
The area was a little rocky, a little kelpy. There were fish such as garibaldi and sheephead here, as well as the usual starfish and urchins. Plus more sea cucumbers.
But I was too distracted to really enjoy what is probably a very nice site. I did not get too many pictures here.
I found Joel and indicated to him that MF and I were going up, but that he should stay with the class. After a couple tries at this he got it.
MF and I returned to the surface and made the swim back to the boat.
Really, not a good dive at all.
It turns out he had borrowed the mask from one of the desk hands. But that was not going to work for the next two dives.
Another deck hand took a look at the mask and offered up some wire to make a crude repair.
That seemed to work. So, set for the next dive, we headed to the galley to try to get warm and to get some lunch.
I was freezing after this dive. I just could not get warm.
I tried some food, which helped my temp and my nausea. Then we went back out on deck where the Spectre has fashioned a basic hot tub. We could not get in with our wetsuits on (and since we wanted to try the last two dives we did not want to take them off).
But we could put our hands in the warm water. This helped warm me up a lot. I also took off my dive boots and got some sun on my feet, which helped.
Once everyone was back on the boat, we were off, headed to the third dive site.

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