This weekend, Clementine and I completed our PADI SCUBA Open Water class with a beach dive at Redondo’s Veteran’s Park on Saturday and a boat dive off Catalina Island on Sunday. The beach dive was fairly strenuous as we needed to battle the waves with full gear to get out past the waves’ breaking zone and near our decent area. Hopefully this prepares us for future dives at and around Laguna Beach. We did 2 dives and completed a majority of the skills necessary for certification.
We took the dive boat, Bottom Scratcher; out to Catalina Island – a two and a half hour trip. Breakfast of eggs, sausage, pancakes and bacon was served. After hanging out for a short period of time, I headed to my bunk and crashed out and was awoken later when we were already anchored at our first dive spot. We geared up and stepped into the water. The first dive took care of three skills, then we got to follow our instructor around a bit looking at things. Saw a rather large sheep crab walking along the bottom, lots of different schools of fish swimming around, abalone, and some kelp. We reached a depth of about 60 feet.
The second dive only had 1 skill required for certification. Once completed, we just followed the instructor and swam around. Our instructor picked off a purple sea urchin from under the rocks. Once he did that, orange Garibaldi started pecking like mad at the exposed flesh of the urchin. They went even crazier once our instructor split open the urchin. He then took a small amount of the meat and ate it, letting the Garibaldi finish off the rest. The shell of the urchin was very clean when the fish left seconds later. We saw a lobster and more schools of fish and reached a depth of about 54 feet. Once back on the boat, lunch was served and the boat moved to a new location for our third dive of the day; our first dive as certified open water divers.
The third dive began smack in the middle of a kelp forest. We followed our dive master as he weaved in and out of the kelp. We were diving at Lulu’s Reef. I brought out the cheap little 35mm camera for this dive. Hopefully it wasn’t too dark for the pictures. I will be getting them developed and adding them to my page once I get them scanned. Along with the kelp we saw tons of lobsters all over the place. More fish feeding off the kelp. And just tons of kelp. We reached a depth of 64 feet on this dive. We didn’t get to see much this dive because most of the time was spent playing follow the leader and keeping up with the dive master trainee. We completed our dive and returned to the boat and had dinner.
I look forward to doing a couple of dives with Clementine at Laguna and possibly another friend from the diving class. Then hopefully we can sign up for an advanced course and take our SCUBA experience to the next level.