ADP Journal: Weekend #6

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 3:16 pm

(Yes, I missed a weekend… I was in Tucson, walking into sliding glass doors, while my class went to Catalina for the day.)

But I was back in plenty of time for our next beach dive: rescue drills at Malaga Cove, on the northwest tip of the Palos Verdes penninsula.

I’ve been to Malaga before, though not for SCUBA. I’ve snorkeled, and hung out at the beach. It’s a nice place to hang out for a day, if you don’t mind not having any bathrooms. And if you don’t mind The Hill. The distance from top to bottom probably isn’t any worse than many of Southern California’s beach diving sites, but it’s steep.

By 8am, we were heading down The Hill, all geared up and lugging whatever we’d need for the next few hours: floats with anchors and bottles of water, snacks, etc. In other words: heavy. By the time we hit sand at the bottom of the paved path, most of us were ready to drop our burdens right there. But oh no, this is ADP – we keep walking. Sigh.

We finally set up camp just a little bit down the beach, away from boogie-boarders and surfers (despite the relative lack of surf: 1-2 footers, no problem).

Then we spent the next 5 or 6 hours going in and out, in and out, in and out of the surf. Think I’m kidding? First we took the floats out and set them up in a line. Then we started with rescue drills on skin (fins, mask/snorkel). We split into groups of 6, and then did the drill 6 times so everyone had a chance to play rescuer – but all but two in that group went in and out of the surf zone (2 stayed on the beach to help the others come back out).

And once we’d finally done skin rescue six times… it was time to do it all again ON SCUBA. Now the “victim” sank down on the bottom at the float, and the rescuer started from just behind the surf zone, swam out in full scuba gear, went to bring the victim up, ditched all the gear, and then did the skin rescue back into shore.


It went really well, though, especially considering I’d missed the rescue pool session and my rescue class is 3 years behind me. I don’t think I “killed” my buddy too badly, and only swallowed a small amount of seawater myself, despite the set of 2 footers that started breaking over my head while I was being dragged in. Timing.

Then, at 2pm, it was time for the fun dive. We hauled our gear back to the bottom of the hill, and then broke into buddy teams to enter over the rocks into the kelp bed. Despite the unpleasantness of the entry (clambering over slimy rocks when already exhausted – I was not at my most graceful), I had a fantastic dive.

For starters, visibility was 15-20 feet, much better than is typical at Malaga. We found two octopi, one curled up asleep in a half-buried shell. The whole area was full of juvenile fish of various species; in particular, I stumbled across least five mostly-blue super-juvenile garibaldi, juvenile rock wrasse, and young blacksmith and senoritas. We also bumped into a large school of salema, a fish I hadn’t seen before.

On our exit, we surfaced a bit too far west where the feather boa kelp was too thick to easily paddle through. We dropped back down and returned to our entry point, and hauled our tired butts back up the rocks. And then – back up THE HILL. I’m proud to say I made it on one trip (mainly because there was no way in hell I wanted to make that walk TWICE).

By the time everyone had finished putting away gear and debriefing, it was 4pm and we were seriously starving. Luckily, enough of us had remembered to bring food (and one person remembered to bring a bbq), so even without formal planning ahead we pulled off a halfway decent bbq. You’ve never seen people inhale hot dogs so fast. Divers can eat.

So, pretty much no downside to our rescue day. I had a great time with the drills, managed the surf without fear (it wasn’t terrible surf, but it was worse than I would have been comfortable in a month ago), and even got a dive in that was 100% for-fun.

1 Comment

  1. Boy am I sorry I didn’t sign up for the class. All of the sleeping late, making breakfast, playing guitar I’ve been doing, when I could be puking seawater while swimming with no mask.

    Comment by Jeff — 9/5/2006 @ 8:56 am

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