By: jreitz1 Dive Site: Shaw’s Cove, Laguna Beach, CA Dive Date: 2008-10-25 Start Time: 10:29 Dive Buddy: Russ, Kenta, Eric, and Konrad Bottom Time: 0:40 Max Depth: 39 ft Water Temperature: 62 F Water Visibility: 10-20+ ft Dive Type: Shore Difficulty Level: Advanced SOCDC Underwater Pumkin Carving Contest Beach Dive! We gathered at Pavillions in the parking lot like usual, but this time we knew the goal of the dive. It was to go down and be as creative as possible carving pumpkins while underwater on scuba. We all headed over to Shaw’s Cove and obtained our parking spots. While Russ and I went down to scope out the conditions the rest of the team began getting geared up. Upon checking on conditions we found waves in the 1-3ft range, but got reports of decent to good Vis that we knew everyone on the team could handle. So we headed back up to share the good news. Once everyone was geared-up we headed back down to head in. Just as we started to go in a set of larger surf started rolling through. I got spun around by a wave, but ended up back on my feet to keep heading out. Once past the surf we donned our fins and made the surface swim out. We rolled over to snorkel out some and get an eye on conditions below. It was really clear looking so that made us all pretty happy. We desided to make the longer surface swim out toward turnaround rock in order to save our air for the pumpkins, instead of dropping and swimming out to our carve point. Konrad dropped before us so that he could get images of the team coming down with their pumpkins. I couldn’t believe how well we did on our spotting. As I dropped down I found that we were swooping right down around Shelly of Shaws. We nailed our goal right on target. Once down we all found ourselves working to get our pumpkins out of our bags and start popping some holes in them to help keep them on the floor and not floating to the surface. As the carving commenced we started getting more and more spectators as the fishes all started to gather round. They were not just there to watch, but also to eat. Anytime we pulled pumpkin guts and seeds out or cut out an eye or mouth the fishes would swim in to eat them up. Russ had cut the bottom of his pumpkin for his working hole, instead of the top likem usual. This worked out great as once he was done designing his work of art it became a mask for Shelly, fitting her perfectly. Shelly looked like Frankenstein dressed up for Halloween with the scar on the head and dive flag eye that Russ had made. As the rest of us finished our designs we placed them at Shelly’s feet to get some nice images of all the jack-o-lanterns with our local model. We had to hold them in place for some of the surge when it hit, but for the most part we were ok, as everyone brought extra lead down with them to help hold the pumpkins in place. We snapped off some team shots with our artwork and then after 30min down decided to head back in toward shore. We cruised in along the reef. I wasn’t able to find any Octos or eels on this dive, but I did get a picture of a Spanish Shawl nudibranch, so that was cool. The tripping thing that we saw, but hadn’t planned on was the effects of the surge. On our swim out we could see the whitewash on the surface from the surge blowing through the swim through and out into the bay, but what looked wild was on our way back in we noticed just how strong the surge was blowing through there. The entry way was clean. All the shells that normally line the entry floor had been blown out into the bay and spread out over the sand. Just after passing the swim through area we headed toward the middle to get away from the reef when we surfaced. This turned out to be a good idea as we found that with the tide dropping the surf had actually gotten bigger. There were still times with little to no surf, but the waves that were coming in were now in the 2-4ft range with some hitting about 5ft or so. Once on the surface I swam in on my back to watch the surf, checking to see if I could reach the floor with my feet every so often. Once I was in shallow enough to stand I started removing my fins. Unfortunately we were still out a ways from shore as the next set of waves started coming in just after I doffed my fins. Luckly, I had my snorkel in my mouth and my reg in my hand. When I duck-dived under a wave it spun me around and even tore my snorkel out of its clipped, but since it was in my mouth I was able to hold it in place and not lose any gear. Those waves really had some power to them. After ducking under a couple more I was able to make it in to shore and finally catch my breath as the rest of the team gathered on shore. One team member’s daughter was out snorkelling with us when we went out. She did a good job too, but found that the conditions were a bit tough to deal with at times. As she was exiting the surf the ocean gods required payment for our good visability and she was the one to give it to them as she lost her mask and snorkel. Once everyone was out safe the team dropped the heavy gear and went back out to look for the stolen mask, but with no luck. Later, when I was up at LSS rinsing off my gear her dad stopped by to rinse off and had a prize with him. There was a Rescue class taking place while we were diving and they had found her mask set and retrieved it from the sea gods. Thanks to that team for their help. We all got some pictures of the newly-carved Jack-o-lanterns and the divers who created them. Then we had the judging. Eric, with his Cousteau pumpkin, and Russ with his mask for Shelly as Frankendiver, took the prizes home of an Air Fill card each for Sport Chalet. We all agreed that it was a fun time and look forward to trying it again next year. Thanks for participating team!!