Bottom Times from your New President….
I’m still amazed by . . .
. . . after 31 years of diving right here in our Channel Islands, I still see things that stir my soul and fire my imagination. Things like beautiful dive days when the water is warm (relatively, this is Southern California after all), and clear. There will be no disclaimers about clear water. When I can look down from the surface and easily see the bottom 55 feet away, that’s some great visibility!
This happened two weeks ago at Santa Cruz Island on Drop-Off Reef, a spectacular piece of underwater topography with ridges, cuts, valleys and overhangs. Get Nathan on the Spectre to take you there and get him to stay for two dives. You’ll likely see nudibranchs that you may have never seen before.
. . . the reaction of first time divers to the beauty of a kelp forest once they are under water. I was privileged to teach two groups of teenaged divers this past year, diving with the Sea Cadets at Catalina Island and students of the Cate School right out here at Santa Cruz Island.
While many of them expressed doubts and concerns about diving in kelp before our dives, ALL of them followed me into the magical forest under the surface and surfaced filled with awe at the beauty of the sunlight filtering through the kelp canopy and the variety, number and size of the fish that inhabit our special forests.
. . . the majestic presence of Black Sea Bass when they decide to grace me with their company during a dive. Recently, three of these behemoths of the sea have taken up residence in the Casino Point Marine Park adjacent to Avalon Harbor at Catalina Island.
Enter the water from the convenient staircase and head straight out about 100 feet and you’ll probably find them hanging out in their kelp condo, minding their own business and taking an occasional cruise around the forest’s perimeter to see what’s going on. Approach them slowly like my Open Water student did in September and you’ll be treated to a close encounter of a fishy kind.
. . . the excitement of that first solo dive after certification. I typically complete my Open Water certification dives with the Controlled Emergency Swimming Ascent, where the student divers simulate an unassisted ascent to the surface after running out of air. I’m required to make the ascent with each student to ensure it is done correctly and safely, and upon the student’s reaching the surface and establishing buoyancy by orally inflating their BCD, I bestow my “blessing” upon the student and declare them to be a PADI certified Open Water Diver. A bit corny perhaps, but they seem to enjoy it.
With my last group I had one female buddy team and two male buddy teams. The females offered to go first, as they had in many of the skills and as the second female diver received her “blessing”, her buddy asked “Can we go diving on our own now”? Since they both had plenty of air, I sent them on their way. Second buddy team, same thing, blessing, air check, off they went. The father of one of the buddies in team three was in the water observing his son’s graduation and he and his son headed off on their own while I went for a fun dive with the remaining buddy, letting him lead and set the pace.
All of the divers made it back safely (as expected), navigating underwater to reach the boat with a safe air reserve and filled with amazement at the creatures they had “discovered”. They saw ENORMOUS bat rays, FEROCIOUS eels, HUGE lobsters, GIANT Garibaldi, BUCKTOOTHED Sheepshead. In time they will learn more about these animals and interpret them differently but for now the wonder of it all is plenty.
How about you? Are you still amazed by your underwater experiences and encounters? Are you eager for your next dive outing? If not, maybe you just haven’t been in the water enough or you’re not diving with buddies who inspire you to look beyond what’s there and really SEE what is going on around you. You dive club is filled with dive buddies who can reignite your passion for your sport.
Whether diving locally or traveling to exotic destinations, our underwater world is a special place, and we are among the less than 1 percent of the population privileged to experience it.
LET’S GO DIVING!
Welcome to the Channel Islands Divers' Website
The scope of our website is to not only provide a source of information for our club members but also to the local dive community. In doing so, the fundamental goal is not only that everyone diving remains safe but; just as important to all, that everyone continues to have fun!
Information provided here shall touch on a variety of dive resources; such as, safety, courses, equipment, reviews and destinations. Though some information may fall into the category as being club specific, it is our intention to provide an information resource avenue that benefits the whole of the dive community.
Our site content is based; in part, on some user interaction. If something is found that might be a good fit for the website then you are encouraged to share it. All submissions shall be reviewed for both compliance to our club policies and guidelines and that the content falls within the scope of our site's purpose. In meeting with these obligations, submissions may or may not be published accordingly.
The creation of additional content and the overall functionality, look and feel of this site is ongoing and may change from day to day. Please feel free to leave a comment if you find that you attempt to access something but it seems "broken."