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Jun 30th Dive to Long Beach Canyon   -   2002/07/01Viewed 308 times this month, last update: 2002/07/01


Sunday, Chris Bell and I drove up to Santa Monica to dive the underwater canyon there. We have dived La Jolla canyon in San Diego, and this is the only other canyon of it\'s type in the area, so it sounded interresting.
We both have dry suits for warmth, and Chris had his high-pressure 100 cubic foot tank, and his smaller \'pony\' bottle. I had rented a ~120 cubic foot tank for this dive, since I knew we would be going deep.
When we got to the beach at about 2:00pm, it was packed. We got lucky, and got a parking space about half way down the parking lot. When we got back out of the water, the whole lot was filled, mostly with angry people circling for a space.
It was hot, but Chris and I have been in conditions like that before, so it wasn\'t too bad on the way in. It was a long walk, and with all our gear we were very ready to dive in. The looks from the beach-goers were very interesting...
The conditions were terrific. Two foot waves, 30 foot visability, and the surface temp was 72 degrees!
We swam out the 100 yards to the lip of the canyon, rested for a bit, and dropped down.
The lip is at about 35 feet, and declines down at about 20 degrees. Not as steep as La Jolla, but still, not too shabby. About 15 feet down was a thermocline, an intersection of two volumes of water with different temperatures. It must have knocked the temp down ten degrees in one shot. Shocking....
On the surface, we had planned to go no deeper than 130 feet, but check out anything interesting on the way. So we began our descent.
Lots of crabs, a couple of dead seals or sea lions, a few pen worms, one octopus, but that\'s about it. It was looking like this dive was going to be about limits, instead of beauty.
We descended 125 feet in about 10 minutes. At this depth the sunlight was very dim, and the water was 52 degrees. Very very cold. Especially for me, since I wasn\'t wearing an insulating hood. (If I was, I would have died on the walk just to the water.) There wasn\'t much to see, and when I looked at my dive computer, I saw I had used half my air. Time to turn arround, I signaled to Chris. He was confused a bit, since he didn\'t realize I had used so much air, (he\'s an instructor, I\'m not embarassed) and since we didn\'t hit our depth limit, he wanted to go a bit further. But, he figured out what I was saying, and we headed back.
After about five minutes swimming, we had only ascended 20 feet, and I had only 900 PSI of air left (one third of the tank). I signaled to Chris that we should ascendd directly to our saftey stop, and then surface. He was a bit concerned about the local boat traffic, and indicated that we should continue our gradual ascent, and that if I needed it, I could breathe from his pony bottle. This was okay with me, so we proceded up.
My computer went into "decompression" mode for about two minutes (I just skirted that limit), but Chris\' computer wanted him to do a deco stop at 14 feet for a few minutes, so we ascended to 14 feet, and stopped to rest and breathe off nitrogen. At this point, I switched to Chris\' pony regulator, and we waited for his computer to go out of decompression mode.
That done, the dive was over. We swam most of the way in, then surfaced, much to the suprize of many of the kids in the water!
The walk back up the truck was a killer, but all in all, it was a good dive. Good for Chris and my communication, and buddy skills, and we found a good spot for deep dives from the beach.

Comments:
Matt Bell (2002-07-01): Chris was doing the same thing to me in Belize. I would come up with 300psi and he would still have 1000! (By the end of the trip I was getting closer with 800 to his 1000)

It was fun to snorkel above a diver in that clear water.

Erik (2002-07-02): Yeah, he's irritating that way.

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