After a forced sabbatical, I am hitting the water this weekend. With a lack of dive buddies, I stuck to the shallows and easy access at Dana Cove Park, in Dana Point, CA.
Having had my gear stolen a while back, I have been forced to start piecing a new set together, so with that and the rest in rental, I found myself dragging a non-diving friend along.
Parking was a nightmare, due to the weekend crowds, but I wasn’t looking to do any deep diving, since I was not familiar with the equipment I was renting and my setup has changed since I last dove. Figured a shallows dive would be a good warm-up for the two other dives I have planned.
Took me a few to get use to the rental setup. Not the best setup and I was having issues with my new knife straps holding tight. Finally entered the water and started adding weight. Glad the Sports Chalet gave me several extra. Ended up using all but two, which I’ll figure out where I can put those to give myself a bit more drop. I’m not using to diving with a wetsuit that thick. Talk about floatation.
Visibility was extremely limited where I went in... Maybe 2-5 feet, if that. Much bottom, with interlaced patches of rock. Started weaving the dock and heading out towards the throat. Within 50 meters I found an aluminum ladder, which I pitched onto the dock. Rounded the wall and headed towards the beach. Found a few other things to drag out of the water, including a power strip. I’m sure there was a lot more I could have hauled out, but things were getting a bit stirred up, so I headed down the south wall towards the beach.
Up to this point my max depth was no more than 15 feet and I was still fiddling with the setup of the gear. I miss my BC with the extra weight pockets. Every time I rolled with this one, the weights would shift and with it my balance. The new mask wasn’t being too cooperative either, due to not having shaved for several days.. Had to clear it several times.
The enjoyable part of the dive started with a very large Garibaldi swimming nearly into me and casual as could be, turning to lead me towards a stacked, rock outcropping. As I approached, I noticed a few other rock fish and some smaller plant bunches, yet nothing major. That was until I followed the Garibaldi for a few more meters and it led me to a larger, multiple stacked, rock outcropping that was loaded with spiny lobster. When I say loaded it is not an exaggeration. Within a three meter area there must have been fifty just casually looking at me. A few even let me pet them. Without the deep crevices, these ones were simply sitting on the shelves of the outcropping, enjoying what the current was bringing them.
After hanging with the lobsters and the Garibaldi for a few minutes, headed towards the beach down the south dock. When I broke the surface, it just happens that the Patrol Boat was there. They asked what I was doing and I explained that I was gathering up garbage and just doing some shallow diving.
They asked me if I worked for the harbor, city or county. Informing them that I did not, they informed at that point that no one is allowed to cleaning garbage out of the harbor and that they don’t like divers going any further out than where I had already been.
I told them I was heading into shore already and asked them if they happened to have a garbage bag to put the stuff I had picked up into. They told me to enjoy the rest of my dive and have a great day.
Should be interesting day when September rolls around and we do the Dana Point Harbor Cleanup. I believe it is the 13th.
Hitting Laguna Beach tomorrow. Was thinking Table Rock, but will probably stick to a location without so many stairs.