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New to California diving....any helpful advice?

Discussion in 'California Diving News' started by ewaiea, May 12, 2014.

  1. ewaiea

    ewaiea Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Minnesota (USA)
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    I'm new to diving in California - I've dove the Puget Sound for a drysuit course 5 years ago and loved it. I have a very unique opportunity to head out with Truth Aquatics and dive the backside of Catalina Island the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. I've dove PNG, Palau, Cocos Island, Hawaii, Florida, Washington State, the Bahamas and Cozumel. I'm very excited to get a few dives in the Channel Islands under my belt.

    I'm bringing my new 8/7mm semi-dry wetsuit, a dive knife (for a tool in case of kelp entanglement), and all the rest of my usual diving stuff. I like to shoot photos so that will be what I'll be excited to do. I am aware that common California dive operator practice has the divemaster on the boat so I'll pair up with another diver or group of divers on the boat with Truth Aquatics. I'm also aware of early boat departures and the need to bring your own tanks and weights.

    Are there any other helpful hints that a rookie like me can arm myself with? I am fairly experienced and have a few hundred dives but never in California.
     
  2. MaxBottomtime

    MaxBottomtime Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Torrance, CA
    8,670
    7,508
    113
  3. ewaiea

    ewaiea Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Minnesota (USA)
    320
    12
    18
    That's what I figured. I heard you can snap it like a pencil.
     
  4. fisheater

    fisheater Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastopol, CA
    4,408
    959
    113
    That's true of giant kelp, which predominates in the south. In the north, our predominate bull kelp won't snap and break. You'll need a cutting edge.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. Peter_C

    Peter_C Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    5,889
    739
    113
    You probably already know this, but keep your knife on the inside of your leg. Outside is more prone to catching on kelp. More than a few freedivers have died from knife entanglement.

    If it were me, I would bring my drysuit to SoCal, but I get cold and last time I dove at the Channel Islands, the water temp was 48*.
     
  6. Keith.M

    Keith.M PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Loomis, CA US
    1,626
    925
    113
    Just bring one tank. They will fill the tanks between dives, they are pretty efficient with that. get on the boat, secure your BC and tank. Take the first stage off and put a red tag on the valve to indicate it needs a fill.

    Although you do always want to have some type of cutting tool, kelp does snap when you bend a stalk in half pretty easily.

    Lots of new to California divers seem to worry about getting entangled with kelp while diving. It really is a non issue. You are far more likely to have an issue with it while on the surface.
     
  7. Laurent Pilotte

    Laurent Pilotte Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: NH & Maine
    94
    16
    0
  8. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,398
    5,232
    113
    I've been diving SoCal kelp forests for 45 years now and I just don't understand all the chatter about kelp entanglement. Yes, I know it happens, but I rarely see anything problematic when it does. I dive solo and have not had any problems with entanglement. If one is diving with an observant buddy I just don't see where it is a problem... certainly not compared to fishing lines, nets, etc.

    Hopefully you'll get the opportunity to dive Farnsworth Bank on our back side... that's my #1 Catalina dive site.
     
  9. TruthAquatics

    TruthAquatics Angel Fish

    49
    10
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    Greetings from Santa Barbara Harbor! If new to California's Kelp Forest a good way to build your confidence and experience around the kelp is to take advantage of your Discovery Dive trips. They are a slower-paced trip designed for new divers or divers with fewer logged dives. Heading to the Inner Northern Channel Islands it provides a great introduction to liveaboard dive trips and kelp forest. Contact us for more information or questions... let's dive!
     
  10. drbill

    drbill The Lorax for the Kelp Forest Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA
    22,398
    5,232
    113
    I am going to state an exception to my previous regarding kelp entanglement. Of course right now there is very little kelp here on Catalina due to elevated water temperatures (and the accompanying precipitous drop in nutrient levels) and storm surge from the earlier hurricanes off Mexico.

    However, when the current is "strong" and the kelp is lying down horizontal to the bottom and swirling around due to the current and/or surge, this can be a situation in which entanglement does become a significant problem.
     

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