ADP Journal: Weekend #9

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 2:19 pm

At last, victory is mine. I have conquered my fears and entered over the rocks at Old Marineland.

I achieved a partial victory last month, when my group did a beach survey at Old Marineland. We went for the easy entry then, at the cobblestone cove, which is a pretty long swim from the “good” part of the dive site.

Last Sunday, our entire ADP class headed to Old Marineland for an entry over the rocks at the point where the best diving is. This is the entry that scared the heck out of me two years ago with the Sole Searchers, and it was still a bit off-putting. Wonder of wonders, I was no longer afraid of the dealing-with-surf part. But the hike down to the entry still made me nervous.

Here we are starting down towards the rocks. Doesn’t look too bad from this angle, right?

(Note: all Marineland pics by Walt Conklin)


Once you’re past the “easy” part of the climb, you have to get over lots of various-sized rocks. Some are slippery, and most are what we like to call “ankle-breakers.” Remember, you’re wearing a tank and a weight belt, so you’re not at your most agile.



Once you’re at the water’s edge, the trick is to get yourself in a spot where you’re protected by bigger rocks. We had two foot swells rolling in at pretty regular intervals, and some spots along the rocky shoreline would have been completely impossible to do safely. We picked a “staging area” behind several big rocks where we could take a moment to put on fins and mask. Here’s Ray helping us clamber over to the spot:


(That’s my head at the bottom of the pic, with the blue snorkel.)

So now you’re hunkered down behind a boulder, trying to put on your fins in between waves (which raise the water level 3 or 4 feet and will try to take your fins away with them). You need to carefully time your entry. If you start to swim out right before a wave, you’ll just get knocked back into the rocks. Even if you wait for what you think is a decent swell and then start kicking, if a BIGGER swell is up next, you might get knocked back. So you need to wait until the largest swells are past, and then pick a good one to ride out.




Check us out – we all made it in without incident!

Meca and I were buddies again on this dive (as usually happens when we’re allowed to pick our buddies), and we dropped down right away before she had a chance to get seasick.

I’d say Old Marineland lived up to the hype. The boulders by the point are so large they form a series of wall dives, and are covered with all kinds of life. We saw cabezon, black-and-yellow rockfish,four or five different nudibranchs, a red octopus hiding in a hole, several lobsters and hermit crabs, chestnut cowries, scallops, schools of unidentifiable baitfish – it was just a great place to poke around and find stuff.

The ADP plan was to navigate to the cove and surface there – quite a swim. Instead, we opted to spend as much time as possible in the interesting area, so we surfaced a good 200 yards away from the exit. No problem; the current was with us, and we moseyed over to the cobblestone cove after fifty minutes in the water.



For the first time, I brought something back with me from a dive. Right when we dropped down at the point, I practically landed on an empty chestnut cowrie shell. Having just recently learned that it’s legal to take them (even if they’re not empty, but that seems a bit mean), I pocketed it as a souvenir of my conquering Marineland. I’m thinking of turning it into a pendant.



1 Comment

  1. Yeah You!!! Look at you acting like the Huns….Conquering and taking souvenirs!

    Comment by Cookie — 10/6/2006 @ 7:28 pm

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