This month we’ll be back in Silver Lake for our monthly club meeting. The date is Wednesday, August 16th and we’ll be gathering at Casita del Campo. Join us to see what’s new and reconnect with the membership. Also this evening we plan to screen the first half of the Netflix documentary “Chasing Coral” about the decline in healthy marine ecosystems. Can you think of a better excuse to justify that hump day margarita?
We need to give everyone a “heads up” about a date change in the works. The Cee Ray has changed our October dive boat date from Sunday, October 22nd to Saturday, October 21st. Our members typically prefer to dive on Saturday so that they can have Sundays free. The date change should be good news to most of you! If you are already booked on this boat for the 22nd and can not make the 21st, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to help you re-sell your spot.
It’s certainly NOT a night of your parents’ bingo…and that’s a good thing!
Hamburger Mary’s Legendary Bingo featured a very full house on Sunday the 25th. Club members and a surprising number of single women celebrating birthdays with their gal pals made sure that the house was rocking and ready to roll for the evening’s festivities. Bingo-Boy was not able to be there, but we were treated to the quick-witted very cute Joel as our emcee. Trans icon Calpernia Addams herself served as our ball caller for the evening!
It was all great fun and we were very fortunate to have the club benefit from the evening’s take at the door. Those funds are crucial to ensuring that the club can continue to book our charter boats throughout the year as well as offering our other free events and gatherings. Thanks to everyone who showed up and made the night such a great party!
Well, another CSW festival has come and gone. While we’re all exhausted and ready for some relaxation, it’s hard not to be excited about how well everything went for the club.
First of all, a big, hearty “Thank You” to everyone who came out to help support the club presence over the weekend. YOU are the reason we have so many great potential recruits for the coming year. Without your encouragement and enthusiasm, many potential new divers would have simply walked on past our booth.
This year we had over 250 people stop by and express interest in becoming part of our LGBTQ scuba family. Even accounting those chronic festival “signers” and those too high to know what they were signing, we should be able to look forward to banner year of new friendly faces to welcome on our upcoming underwater adventures! Of special note this year, was a particularly high number of already certified divers who had been looking for a group of people to dive with in 2017.
Thanks again to all those who helped make the weekend such a success. Now come on out, get wet, and meet some of your new dive buddies!
By all measures our latest SPLASH Day gathering was a huge success! Following close on the heels of PRIDE, we managed to welcome over 60 people who were interested in diving. That is a new record for us! Some were members (lapsed and otherwise), some were previously certified divers who just found out about us and a large number were people who are interested in becoming certified divers. All of that bodes well for the sport and for the long-term health of our LGBTQ club. Buck has already booked quite a few in his upcoming classes. If you weren’t able to attend, why not join us at one of our upcoming local dives and meet some of these new divers as they complete their open water skills demonstration?
CoCo View Vernacular
A strike in baseball is bad; but to a bowler, it’s good. Similarly, having an old, rusty clunker in your front yard is frowned upon, but at CoCo View having a wreck in your “front yard” is amazing Picture a landscape of aqua clear blue water, hammocks swaying in the breeze, parrots cawing in the distance, and a submerged world with a sunken wreck, DC-3 plane, and oodles of marine life, and you have the front yard we got to play in for a week.
Our adventure started off not with a bang, but with a frustrating whimper. After more than 2 hours in line waiting to check our luggage, and then racing over to Tom Bradly Int’l terminal to wait in TSA security, we were finally off to our gate. A quick stop at a bar for a bon voyage celebratory drink, and then it was the big blue skies to Roatan.
CoCo View Resort (CCV) is located on Roatan Island, just north of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea. It’s situated on the south shore of Roatan, perched on the edge of the world’s second largest coral reef. As CCV’s website boasts, it’s “The most returned-to dive resort in the world.” They offer diving and snorkeling to your heart’s content with shore diving available whenever you desire. To paraphrase one reviewer, “It’s not a resort to go and party or tan, but a great place to go if you’re a diver. It caters to the dive community.” Located just a few fin kicks away in their front yard is the 140’ wreck of the Prince Albert, Newman’s Wall, and Coco View Wall among other attractions. CCV is isolated and very much like a liveaboard on land.
For me, aside from the incredible diving, the trip represented a break from the norm. As Belle describes her poor provincial town, I didn’t see the baker with his tray like always; the same ol’ bread and rolls to sell. Rather, the days melted into one another. The day of the week was insignificant. We’d wake, eat breakfast, head out on the dive boat, return from diving to have lunch, head out on the dive boat for a couple more afternoon dives, return from the dive boat to rinse our gear and get ready for dinner, happy hour with Willie at the bar pouring drinks, eat dinner, and then repeat the following day. I didn’t think I’d ever say it, but it was almost too much diving. Almost. With the potential of four dives daily from the dive boat, unlimited shore dives and night dives, as mentioned earlier, it is the place to go if you’re a diver.
In addition to eat, dive, eat, dive, drink, eat, sleep, repeat, we also enjoyed an informative and fascinating lecture on sand. Really! Sand! We got to dance with a local troupe who performed some native dances. Everyone benefited from Patty’s lecture on buoyancy. As we told Patty, if she were heading a cult, we’d drink the cool aid. She is entertaining, engaging, and truly knowledgeable and experienced. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also comment on experiencing beautiful and vibrant tropical sunsets surrounded by friends and fellow divers. Oh, and a drink from Willie. It was tough returning to reality and the norm after a week at CCV.
If you get a chance to make it to CCV, be sure you check out Mary’s Place. Take your time to see and enjoy all the “Tchotchkes” tucked away on the shelves. You’ll be glad you did.
Did you know that the latest group of dive students are heading out to Casino Point this weekend to demonstrate their skills in the open water? That means it’s the perfect opportunity for all you already-certified divers to join them on this day trip and to get in a couple of dives at the marine park there. There have been many giant sea bass sightings recently and we can’t think of a better way to beat the resurgent heat wave than jumping into the cooling California ocean water and exploring the deep. Afterwards you can grab lunch with the group at one of Avalon many beachside restaurants and raised a toast to the newly certified divers!
Since this dive is a “come as you are” event, you will need to bring/rent your own gear; tanks and weights can be rented on site. Also, you will need to book your own travel aboard the Catalina Express via this link. The plan is to leave the Long Beach landing at 8:15am and to return from Avalon Harbor on the 5pm return. Please be sure that you email Buck (email@example.com) if you’re planning to join us. If there is a last minute cancellation due to conditions, he will email you to let you know the trip is off. Hope to see you there!
Mantas, sunfish, giant sea bass, oh my! Check out BarnacleBusters’ adventures on our YouTube Channel.
In anticipation of our upcoming Earthday Shore dive on April 22nd, please check out this link to a great article in California Diving News from our friend Dale Scheckler. His tips for diving the California shoreline cover training, planning and execution of successful, low-stress dive strategies that’ll be helpful to both veterans and newbies alike! Let’s face it, even the most accomplished California diver has taken a few tumbles in the surf dues to miss-reading area conditions. Be ready!
Among the many exhibits at the California Science Center is a 180,000 aquarium. The health of this tank is dependent on a large crew of aquarists, veterinarians, and volunteer divers. As of this moment, 6 Barnacle Busters are members of the dive team and we’re always looking for more. The minimum certification level at CSC is Rescue diver, so, when I was asked by volunteers and staff at the aquarium to teach a Rescue Class, I agreed.
It was a struggle. After 6 years, Mother Nature decided to break her drought just in time to weather us out weekend after weekend. While we welcome the rain, it could have waited another week! Anyway, these patient students got their open water dives in bit by bit, and completed certification in mid March. Whew. They have all completed their required skill evaluations and swims for the Science Center and are ready to dive!!
And many thanks to Bob Woods, who played a convincing victim, although why he insisted on continuous mouth-to-mouth is beyond me.
I feel these divers are now better prepared to not only help others but to take care of themselves in stressful situation. Congratulations to Crystal Gentle, Billy Vaughn, Mark Yun, and Matthew Bokach. We’ll be running another Rescue Class in the summer, so get your name on the list if interested.