Closing Out 2017 Dive Season

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A postcard day greeted us as the Cee Ray left the dock in Long Beach, headed for Catalina. This was our final charter of the year and we were determined to have a good day. And we did, in spite moderate swell and some strong currents at the dive sites. Eagle eyed Chris spotted two octopuses, abalone and lobster were abundant. No Giant Sea Bass but a harbor seal and sea lions visited our divers from time to time. Certification day for four brand new divers!!

Speaking of Giant Sea Bass, imagine hanging out with five Giant Sea Bass on your certification dive! Well, that’s exactly what happened the next Saturday at Casino Point. The big guys were rampant and docile, seemingly posing for our cameras. At one point 5 big ones were milling around, allowing close encounters. Senoritas were darting in, cleaning the big guys of parasites. Of course I didn’t have my camera but several others did and snapped away throughout the dive. In addition, we spotted a good sized barracuda, clouds of blacksmith 

Casino point continues to be a favorite site for both certifieds and dive classes, evidenced by the crowd there. We chatted with many friends and colleagues during surface intervals and finished the day with two more new certified divers. Congratulations to Srdjan Stakic, Kevin Lewis, Iona  Brokie, and Lauren Chu on their new certifications!!!

Interested in a trip over in December? Drop us an email and let’s pick a date!

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Riding the Raptor

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A group of intrepid divers set out bright and early from Ventura Harbor on October 7th for a highly anticipated return to explore some of the dive sites along the northern channel islands. The Raptor is a small, fast dive boat which can cross the channel in just under an hour, given the right conditions. Unlike last year’s tumultuous journey, the crossing was perfection; not a wave in sight. Still, flat waters and a bright shining sun gave the divers a gorgeous hour of sunbathing before taking the plunge into 64 degree waters.

We enjoyed three beautiful dives at Anacapa Island: Cathedral Cove, Caverns, and the wreck of paddle boat Winfield Scott. Temperatures were great for the location (mid-sixties) and the kelp was healthy in most areas. We had plentiful sitings of sea critters throughout the day. Bat rays, heaps of lobster (over 12 in one crevasse!), kelp fish, garabaldi and even a shy sea lion who trailed a couple of divers at Cathedral Cove but opted not to play with us.

At Cathedral Cove, we were surprised by a pretty strong current which made for a bracing swim from the boat to the site. I like to think of it as the justification for eating more than my share of snacks and lunch throughout the day! Surge built throughout the day and reduced visibility close to shore, but otherwise, it was a pretty clear day underwater. It was another perfect day of diving in Souther California at some locations that we rarely get to visit. We sure are lucky to have all of this abundance right in our back yard! When next year’s calendar is announced, make sure you get a spot on this trip!

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Diver Helps Injured Shark

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You’ve heard of turtles and dolphins approaching humans in distress only to find out that they need help from something with ten digits and opposable thumbs?  Well, a local Florida television station heard from a diver who recently witnessed an encounter between an ailing lemon shark and a seasoned, shark professional!

You can check out some video footage of the encounter and read about this marine encounter here courtesy of Grindtv.com. Nice to see man overcoming a mostly, pervasive human fear of these fishy predators!

Finally, A Scientific Justification for Peeing in Your Wet Suit!!!

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Good news for all of us who occasionally loose our bladders while diving! You can now release yourself from shame, guilt, or recrimination for this little urinary indiscretion. Scientists have come up with an explanation about what causes this momentary lapse in good hygiene standards. And guess what? All mammals do it! Check out this repost below and follow the links to the inertia.com to learn more!

What Science Says About Peeing in Your Wetsuit
If you have a beating heart, you pee in your wetsuit.  Scientists are aware you urinate in your wetsuit. While many people feel like this is weird, it’s completely natural. It’s the norm amongst surfers and divers – even if they don’t all admit to it. As a waterman, you’re experiencing a unique underwater phenomenon called immersion diuresis. Don’t panic though. There is a totally legit scientific reason    for this.
So, why do we pee in our wetsuits and what is actually happening inside your body?
Immersion diuresis, which literally means “water loss due to immersion,” is the culprit behind that urge to pee when you are in the water. Whether you are surfing, Scuba diving, or just going for a swim, the lower temperature and increased pressure of the surrounding water makes you pee. It’s really as simple as that.
Immersion diuresis is a physiological response to being submerged in water and it’s actually part of the Mammalian Dive Reflex. When the body is immersed in water the colder temperatures and increased pressure from the surrounding environment causes a narrowing of the blood vessels (vasoconstriction) in your extremities. As a result of this vasoconstriction, your body moves blood volume away from your skin and extremities and redistributes it towards your core areas.
This increased blood volume, which is sent directly to your vital organs, triggers the inhibition of a vasopressin hormone that regulates the production of urine by the kidneys called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH). ADH essentially controls how much urine your kidneys produce and the increased blood volume being sent to your core areas tricks the body into thinking that there is a fluid overload (which kinda makes sense because you are surrounded by water). As a result, the body stops making ADH which triggers the kidneys to produce urine in an attempt to regain the fluid balance (ie. homeostasis) caused by that increased blood volume. So this is what really makes you pee in your wetsuit.
Now that you know this, peeing in your wetsuit is a totally legit thing to do – really it’s science. You have permission to no longer feel weird or ashamed. All the cool kids are doing it. Just make sure that you drink a lot of water before and after your session to avoid dehydration!

Seal of Approval

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One of the best reasons to dive Catalina is the variety: the variety of animals, the variety of dive sites, the variety of underwater terrain. If you want to explore a kelp forest, or search the sandy areas for bat rays, or look deep into rocky crags for eels, it’s all available at Catalina—sometimes in one dive site!
Over Labor Day weekend, the Barnacle Busters took a group of newly certified divers, students and long-time members aboard the Cee Ray for another fantastic summer day. We were all eagerly waiting for our first dive; some had new cameras to test out, some had new computers or masks they were breaking in. I was eager too, but that didn’t stop me from climbing into a bunk for an hour-long snooze on the way to the island after a hearty breakfast!
Our first stop was Johnson’s Rock and the kelp forest there was something to behold! After seeing these areas just a few short years ago with zero kelp, it’s such a huge relief to see them thriving and strong again. We spent our whole dive in the forest, working our way along the rocky edge where it was exceptionally healthy. I stopped to have a deeper look and was rewarded with a juvenile spotted shark sleeping under a rocky overhang. There were plenty of abalone around as well, so I took a moment to feed one some kelp.
From there we moved to Black Rock and our surface interval was spent munching down on some Monkey Bread, a Cee Ray specialty! Yum … Black Rock happens to be one of those all-in-one dive sites. There are the sandy areas, the rocky crags, the kelp forest, pretty much everything something for everyone.
This dive started a bit awkwardly with some computer failure and other malfunctions threatening to abort the dive. I took one buddy back to the surface and then went back for the others, but they had left the spot where I had left them (they had malfunctions of their own as it turned out). I decided to circle the area for signs of them and felt a tug on my fin. Thinking it might be one of my buddies, I turned to find a Harbor Seal looking at me like he wanted to play. I grabbed my GoPro and got it rolling as I tried to follow the seal through the kelp. It was too fast for me, so I switched off the camera and headed back to where I was and then I saw the seal again below me turning over abalone shells, looking for a meal. I switched the camera back on, and the seal gave me a little show, not at all bashful like others I’d seen at Catalina. After a few minutes and a couple more tugs on my fins, the seal left, on to more distractions. But I was exhilarated!
Once we were all on board, we discussed our various gear misfortunes and misunderstandings and made plans for the next dive, which would also be at Black Rock. While variety is a big bonus, sometimes there are good reasons to stay and dive at the same site. In this case, other sites we had looked at along the way had currents that would have made the diving difficult, so best to stay where the conditions are best. Plus, I may get to see that little seal again! While the seal was a no-show for round two, we still saw plenty: a shy-but-curious octopus, several bat rays hovering by, a few juvenile sharks napping and a ton of sea hares!
Back on board we ate dessert and had video show-and-tell on our laptops before retiring to the bunks for a ride-home snooze.
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Who’s Got the Marshmallows?

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To me, the humble S’more is the heartbeat of any camping trip. Without it, the weekend would be an empty shell. Luckily, we had plenty of ‘em around Saturday night’s campfire at Leo Carrillo State Beach. We had milk chocolate s’mores and dark chocolate s’mores and strawberry s’mores, all to top off a fabulous dinner supplied by our own Alex Collett.

But the weekend wasn’t just about the food. No, it was about camaraderie, friendship, sunsets and beachcombing. One thing I love about diving is how it brings together people of all demographics. Lawyers and dancers, students and forest rangers, musicians and therapists, veterinarians and computer geeks all sitting around a blazing fire pit, laughing and swapping tales.

Saturday and Sunday found most of us on the beach searching for sea glass, seashells, agates and other interesting rocks. The perfect weather lent itself to beachcombing: blue skies, cooling breeze and small surf. Last winter’s storms eroded a lot of the beach, leaving broad stretches of water worn stones, a hunter’s paradise.

Waves were small enough for easy surf entries, but only Matt Bokach brought dive gear. Dying to dive, he searched for a buddy, even approaching strangers, moving from campsite to campsite in search of a tank…Alas, he had to settle for hanging out with us, the landlocked.

For the first time is several years, Thomas and Greg set up their “taj mahal,” complete with full bar and colored lanterns…so civilized! 11 year olds Ella and Josephine took charge of organizing the S’more production line and competed with Chris for the most glorious agates on the beach. Sharon & Nixie focused on sea glass when not shepherding Grace and Penny (Arf,) and Yuki colored his hair especially for the event.

It was fun having Judy Carter back after an absence of many years, and meeting her girlfriend Anna. Others just came for the day and dinner, Craig & Neil, whose new home is just up the road and Jeff Thorin, still jet lagged from Europe.

And so ends yet another fabulous weekend at Leo Carrillo. This year marks the Barnacle Busters’ 20th trip to this local state park and we look forward to many many more!!

 

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Accessorized Black Sea Bass Alert!

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We just received word about some very special Black Sea Bass who are roaming our underwater hood. If you spot one of them let someone know, but don’t attempt to take away a bass’ unusual bling! Read the email below!
 
Researchers at Cal State Long Beach have tagged 34 Black Sea Bass over the summer and it’s certainly possible that your divers may come across them and mistake the tag for a float or something that shouldn’t be there. I’m hoping you’ll pass this e-mail along to your followers so they’ll know not to try to remove the tags and can pass any sightings or info along to the researchers. The research is being done by Alyssa Clevenstine (aclevenstine@gmail.com) under the supervision of Dr. Chris Lowe (Chris.Lowe@csulb.edu).
One of my divers saw a tagged BSB in the Underwater Park this weekend (didn’t try to remove the tag but didn’t know what it was) which is what got this conversation started. Here’s the note from Alyssa along with photos from Mike Couffer (mikecouffer@gmail.com) as to what the tags look like. (Please give a photo credit to Mike if you use the image.)
“I’m glad to hear no one attempted to remove the tag – it is darted into the animal so trying to take it out would have done far more harm than good. This is the method our lab uses for to tag a variety of large-bodied fish. The transmitters are quite small, about the size of an A23 battery with a small cap at one end to attach the transmitter to the rest of the tag. I completed tagging for my project in August, so I will have to hope any divers and anglers that encounter the 34 tagged animals will leave them be. If you or any members of the dive community have any questions or information, feel free to pass along my email – I’d love to hear from them!”
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Leo Carrillo Camp Weekend

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September 8-10th are the dates for the club’s annual Leo Carrillo Camp/Dive trip. This a great, local getaway weekend that offers our members the chance to chill and enjoy some of the best things that the California Coastal Region has to offer.

Just 28 miles north of Santa Monica, Leo Carrillo State Beach sits 1.5 miles of beautiful state beach. The site is perfect for hours of relaxing exploration; beach combing, surf fishing, kite boarding, wind surfing and swimming. For the more ambitious, there are some challenging hiking trails as well. Conditions permitting, the club sponsors a beach dive on Saturday morning. Just off shore there are numerous small kelp beds interspersed with sand beds and rocky shoals that host a healthy variety of sea life like perch, bat rays, lobsters, garibaldi, and even octopus. After a tranquil day at the beach and a sundown cocktail (or two), the evening the meal is on us. We’ll provide the appetizers, main course and dessert.

Some members take advantage of the site’s proximity and opt to come out for part of the weekend or just the day. It’s all good to us! Just please be aware that we need to know if you plan on joining us for Saturday’s catered dinner so we have enough on hand to feed everyone. If you want to overnight with us, you can sign up here. The cost just $25 dollars for the entire weekend. Space is somewhat limited, but we have managed to squeeze multiple tents into some pretty small spaces!  Don’t have a tent you say? Well if you let us know what you need, we may be able to help you out!

 

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Membership Renewal Just Got Simpler

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Thanks to club members Scott Weber, Rex Theobald, and Gary Nugent, renewing your Barnacle Busters membership just became a whole lot easier! We now offer an online renewal option for our members. Before your membership expires, you will receive an email from us letting you know its time to renew. Within that email will be a summary of the contact information that we have on file for you. This is the perfect time to let us know if anything has changed in your life over the past year. Just reply to the email with any corrections that you’d like us to make.

Also included in the email will be a reminder of the waiver that you originally signed when you joined. Simply click the link to the website (indicating that you agree the terms of the waiver) and you’ll be taken to a page on our secure website when you can use your credit card to renew your membership before it expires. No postage or check writing required! Pretty simple, right!

 

Catalina Dive August 5th

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As part of Buck’s monthly PADI certification classes, there will be a contingent of new divers (and instructors) heading over to dive Casino Point this weekend. If you’d like to join them, make a reservation on the Catalina Express and then email Buck letting him know you plan to join. If there are any last minute schedule changes, he’ll email to let you know. Make sure to book the boat leaving Long Beach at 7:15am and returning from Avalon at 5pm. Hope you can make it!