ADP Journal: Weekend #10, Part One

Filed under: — Anastasia @ 9:00 am

October 7 was our last scheduled day of diving with ADP. Instead of the usual early beach arrival, however, we started off the day with a tour of the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. We began by strolling through the California exhibits with occasional commentary by Brett, an ADP instructor who also volunteers as a diver at AoP.

(Once again, pics by Walt Conklin.)


Next, we headed behind the scenes for a look at the inner working of the aquarium. We strolled past the food prep areas and vet clinic, got a tour of the ozone generation and various pieces of plumbing, and got to see where the divers suit up and jump in to clean the exhibits and feed their inhabitants.

Somehow, we still had time to play with fake coral. (This pic by Johnny Wong):


We were finished checking out the aquarium by noon or so, and had time to get lunch and fill any tanks that needed filling before meeting up at Vets Park at 2:30pm. The plan was to do an afternoon dive over by Topaz Jetty in search of the old pier pilings, then navigate back to the Pearl Street stairs underwater. Then we’d repeat the dive in the dark for our night dive.

It was a bit of a walk down to the jetty, but at least it’s flat and paved.


I buddied up with Meca, and we joined Mike and Sam to form a group. Kevin Van Hook was our divemaster, tasked with following us around. We knew roughly where the pilings were, and at what depth, so the plan was to drop down in 20 fsw and do a sweep out until we hit the pilings (which should be in about 35 fsw).

Of course, we hit 40 fsw and still hadn’t found the pilings. Since we suspected we’d dropped down a bit too far north, we headed back to the 35fsw contour and started sweeping south. It only took a few minutes to hit the pilings – oh, the excitement.


Then it was time to start heading north, back towards Pearl Street. I’d measured the distance in paces that we had to walk to our entry site, and estimated it should take about 250 kick cycles to get back to the stairs. I took the lead with Meca: she kept an eye on the compass, I concentrated on counting kicks and watching our depth.

On the way across the mostly-featureless sand, we found quite a few interesting critters. I spotted a sarcastic fringehead out on the sand – it was weird to see the little fish naked, without his shell to hide in. Meca found a little horn shark perfectly camoflouged in the sand, then noticed a shell next to it that housed a small octopus. A few minutes later, I saw what I thought might be a scorpionfish half-buried in the sand. As we got closer, I discovered it was actually a California lizardfish! I hadn’t seen one before, and didn’t get much of a chance to investigate, as it got startled and disappeared. Oh well.

I reached 250 kick cycles about the same time Sam and Mike ran low on air. We’d been in 15-20 fsw for a few minutes, so we all surfaced to get our bearings.

We were only about 2/3 of the way back. Doh. Guess we’d neglected to account for the south-flowing current that had kicked up.

Mike and Sam headed in, and the rest of us dropped back down and resumed kicking north. Meca hit 500psi after another 150 or so kick cycles, so we surfaced again to discover that we’d just barely overshot our mark. We let the current take us back a bit as we kicked in and made an unventful exit.

The surf was about 1-2 feet that day, with an 8s period – totally manageable, but it was interesting to realize how much more afraid I would have been getting in and out a few months ago. The entries didn’t bother me at all, but there was quite a bit of surface chop once you made it past the surf zone; that was a bit more annoying.

We all sat around in the parking lot for a while, reviewing the material for Sunday’s exam while we waited out our surface interval. Meca and I spent the last half hour of our interval huddled in my car with the heating cranked up, trying to get warm before getting back in the water.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.