Dive Blog May 4, 2014 Anacapa Island

Explorer Cabin Sketch by Erica Yeung

Dive Blog May 4, 2014 Anacapa Island

Today’s dive trip to Anacapa Island on the Explorer included new personal records, challenging sites, rescue practice, and as usual, a wonderful experience with divers, crew, and dive-sites alike!

The first dive of the day holds my current deepest dive! 115 feet! At first, I was nervous about the depth, on top of the low visibility and current. But when I found myself comfortable at 85 feet, my anxiety subsided. I was excited to see the plane wreck; unfortunately, the anchor was placed too far to safely reach the wreck. Even though I was a little disappointed, I was still thrilled to have dove so deep without any complications. The excitement didn’t end there; I practiced important rescue skills after.

When we got to the next site, Fish Camp, Luis helped refine our rescue towing skills. It was a nice chance to do some surface swimming and practice my kicks. I noticed that my kicks were too small and frequent, so I ended up wasting energy that I could have used to tow my buddy back to the boat. After successfully saving our victims, we had time to practice our pike dives.

The group didn’t seem to have a problem going under. One person (Ian) was even able to get sand from 25 feet deep. I on the other hand, could barely break the surface. I felt like a Margikarp helplessly splashing around. Thankfully, Luis told me that I needed to bend my top half of my body straight down , lift my legs, then kick. I was able to go down, but still had trouble going deeper than 5 feet. Again, Luis helped my techniques. Since we had to return to the boat after, I didn’t get the chance to practice again. However, I was able to practice another skill during the next dive.

At the same site, we enjoyed the vibrant environment while looking for a shallow area to practice our E.S.A. (Emergency Swimming Ascent). This skill was rather easy to carry out; however, I was shocked to have forgotten how to put on my weight belt while in the water! A basic skill that I seldom used needed to be refreshed.

For our last dive, our group faced the most challenging conditions of the day: surge, current, and low visibility. Also, we briefly discussed how to pull unconscious people out of the water. I need to work on my control because I kept hitting/crashing into other divers or rock formations. I also need to build up my stamina because the current pushed us back and our group had to swim for a long time until we returned to the boat.

Overall, this trip showed me that even though I felt okay with my diving, I have lots of room for improvement.  I had lots of fun talking, eating, diving, and sleeping. I am looking forward to more fun diving and skill refining in the near future! Happy diving!

Written by Kristiana Rendon

Illustration by Erica Yeung

 

Dive Blog - Farnsworth Bank and Backside Catalina Island-March 23rd, 2014

 

I had a great dive trip on the Cee Ray today! Captain Mike, the crew members, and the deckhand were all friendly people to talk with, which made the boat ride very pleasant and stress-free. The Cee Ray comfortably accommodated roughly 30 divers with delicious food and beautiful dive sites. These sites included Farnsworth Bank, Cave of Cortez, Iron Bound, and Black Rock. Diving at Farnsworth Bank was especially exciting since we haven’t been able to make it to that site in a few years. Out of all the four stunning dive sites, I found Farnsworth Bank to be the most exciting and diverse.

Right when I jumped in, I saw the vivid life of Farnsworth Bank with a visibility reaching up to 80 feet. Abundant colonies of purple hydro coral were visible at all angles and lingcods of different sizes were camouflaged on rocks with sea fans. Even sea lions and a sting ray were casually swimming around. Additionally, large schools of blacksmiths and señoritas surrounded divers. It was like I was in an underwater level of a video game! I felt so fortunate to have had this chance to go diving. Above is a short clip from Farnsworth Bank taken by the magnificent Andy Rios, and edited by the superb Thomas Templar! Enjoy!

Not too long after we boarded the Cee Ray, we saw a pod of whales less than half a mile away! I had never seen whales this close before, so this was a nice experience. Then, we ate a satisfying breakfast, had a great time socializing, and munched on sweet fruit while we waited to reach Backside Catalina Island.

At the Cave of Cortez, I swam with friendly garibaldis, shy lobsters, tall large kelp forests, and red foot moon snails clinging onto kelp leaves. Schools of fish swarmed in circles, and on the floor, were scattered horned sharks peacefully lounging about. At Iron Bound, there were huge sheepheads and calicos! Some divers saw a black sea bass; however, I didn’t. I hope to see one soon! At Black Rock, I flew through large kelp forests and saw eel grass, kelp fish, and red foot moon snails. It was a very nice last dive of the day.

Between dives, executive Chef Kim prepared delicious meals including salad, authentic Chinese Bihun (also known as rice vermicelli), and chicken wings. She even served ice cream and brownies after our last dive! I’m just thinking about those moist brownies. Yummm.

On the way back to the harbor, some divers chatted, while others slept (like me, haha). Dolphins even accompanied the Cee Ray for a while. Reflecting back on this trip, with old and new marine life to enjoy, refining skills, eating great food, and being surrounded by awesome people, I continue to understand why I love diving. So, I hope I was able to share a memorable dive trip with you and hope to see you underwater soon! Until next time! :)

Written by Kristiana Rendón

Video taken by Andy Rios

Video edited by Thomas Templar

Check Out Our Two New Programs starting January 14th & Join for Your New Year's Resolution

The Progressive Diving Program (formerly Aquatic Program) is designed to establish and refine diving skills beyond the scope of basic skills taught in your open water course. In this progressive program divers will practice rescue skills for skin and scuba diving, free diving and breath holding technique, and advanced scuba techniques i.e. ditch-and-don, bail out, direct descending, and adv. theory. Each of the three sections is divided into two three hour pool sessions, and is taught by senior life guard, and NAUI instructor, Luis Torres. The Progressive Diving Program is a necessity for all divers who are eager to improve their skills to an advanced level.

With such limited access to the ocean, at most 3 dives a week if you’re lucky, The Progressive Diving Program provides an opportunity to get more comfortable in the water and in your gear without the cost and time is takes to get to the Channel Islands or beach.  Instead of trouble shooting between dives, get it all figured out through the program and have all the tools to maximize the fun and adventure of your next dive trip.

The goal of our Aqua Skills for Scuba diving and Fitness program is to build strength and stamina for the aquatic environment. Geared towards those who aspire to explore the underwater world and who are already certified, participants will learn and refine four core swim strokes such as forward crawl (free style), breast stroke, elementary back stroke, and side stroke. What sets this course apart from our standard swim classes is that it is designed and lead by professional life guard instructor and NAUI Instructor Trainer, Rick Tang. ASSF is definitely a notch higher than any swim class you have taken before, aside from the four strokes afore mentioned, Rick will teach you core life guarding skills such as swimmer assist, self/buddy rescue, and various water survival skills.

 

The Progressive Diving Program

Aqua Skills for Scuba diving and Fitness program

OCEAN SAFARI SCUBA – SWIMMING CLASS

We are proud to introduce Night Swim Sessions, conducted by our expert instructor Luis Torres.
Instructor Luis Torres brings to the class 10 years of expert experience in Water Safety,
Competitive Swimming and Scuba Diving, and is an active  LA County Lifeguard.
A test swim will be conducted in your first session to help confirm the best level of instruction for you.
Please contact us to schedule the appropriate class for you.

Advance Class                       Thursdays      8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Fee - $85 for a series of six (6) sessions
 
Intermediate Class                Thursdays      7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Fee - $85 for a series of six (6) sessions
 
Beginner Classes                   Tuesdays        Between 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM
Fee - $30 each session*           Thursday       Between 6:30 PM and 7:00 PM
*Classes for beginners are scheduled as a Private Session - Each Private Session is 30 minutes.
*Classes for beginners are by appointment only - There are no group beginner classes at this time.
                                                                                                                                   
For  reference only – to help guide you in deciding which type of class to consider attending.

Advance - 50 yards Front Crawl, 50 yards Backstroke, 50 yards Breaststroke, 15 yards Butterfly.
Dive from deck or block, and perform a Flip Turn and an Open Turn.

Intermediate - 25 yards Front Crawl, 25 yards Backstroke, elementary Backstroke, swim Breaststroke

Beginner - Float without help, face in water for 10 seconds, backstroke 15 yards, elementary backstroke 15 yards.
Front Crawl for 15 yards with rhythmic breathing.