Report and Photos
Diving with Ross O.
Scootering around the Olympic II
February 6, 2009
and Photos © Elaine Jobin,
may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.
a "ditch work and dive Friday" dive day several weeks ago.
The truth was, neither of us were really "ditching work"
- we had a legitimate day off. It was more about ditching everyday
responsibilities and obligations for a day of play.
The boat was
fresh from extensive backyard maintenance. The eisenglass sparkled
from restorative polish. The cabin glowed from carpentry revisions.
The mechanics were humming.
was perfect except for the weather. Rain, 5 1/2ft. swells at 5 - 10
second intervals, waves splashing over the breakwall. It didn't look
good. We proceeded with caution and decided to give it a try anyway.
We could always turn around. This is a picture of our potential dive
brave soul on board was Tobin George, the owner of Deep
Sea Supply. Tobin manufactures back plates and wings, instrument
mounts, lift bags, spools, and custom lithium ion batteries for x-scooters
(just to name a few). This was the first time he and I had officially
met - what a treat! It was an extra bonus that he brought two x-scooters
The trip to
the Olympic II was a bit like skiing a mogul course - we proceeded
in a slow deliberate fashion - "technical boating" . It
took a while - but we made it to our dive site. Conditions weren't
a lot better at the Olympic II and the next decision we had to make
was "to dive or not to dive". On the "dive" side
- there was no current, there was no fog, wind was minimal, vis looked
to be about 20 feet, we had our surface signaling safety gear, and
we all had experience diving in choppy seas. On the "not to dive
side" - gearing up on a boat that is pitching in the sea isn't
easy, conditions could change for the worse during the dive, and there
was a huge negative - a GILL NET.
The gill net
was disturbingly close to the Olympic II - I'm not good at guessing
distances, but it was way too close for comfort. We took a long time
trying to decide if it looked like it traversed the wreck. Because
we couldn't really tell for sure, we made an "unexpected encounter
with the gill net" plan of escape and double checked our emergency
dive knives and scissors.
II is located just outside of the three mile coastal limit for gill
nets. It is a popular dive site that attracts relatively high human
diver traffic. The State of California does not act to prohibit gill
netting near dive sites - it is evidently Federal jurisdiction. The
Feds - well, they're in Washington, they aren't out diving in Southern
California. What seems like simple common sense - active gill nets
shouldn't be on dive sites - has no backing by legislative or fishing
industry standards ( it seems like the fishing industry would regulate
itself on this issue because it is such an obvious safety hazard to
human life - to me - it is inconceivable that they don't). Anyway,
we didn't want to be the first human victims so we almost called the
dive. This is a link to a past encounter with a deadly
ultimately choose to stay on the boat. Ross and I managed to get in
our gear and into the water. Once in the water, things were amazingly
nice. I brought my camera. Ross brought the modified prototype "cuda"
x-scooter. Vis dropped to 10 feet or less on the wreck, it was dark
due to topside weather, but there was no current.
Once on the
wreck, Ross gave me the signal to "hop on for a ride" and
we began a ride a time or two around the Olympic. This was so much
fun, I can't describe it. It was like the Disney or Superman movies
where someone who can fly takes someone who normally can't out for
a spin above the city. I loved every second of it. The forward view,
pictured below, wasn't spectacular, but the side view crusing easily
beside the wreck was awe inspiring - even in the low vis chunky water.
This was definitely
the biggest thing I've done for pure fun in a long time. When the
ride and the dive were over, all I wanted to do was to go and do it
I took really
crummy underwater pictures today. These are a few of them.
much Ross and Tobin for the coolest experience ever!