Tumble Dive

posted in: H2O Ventures | 12
Geared up and ready to dive!
Geared up and ready to dive!

La Jolla Cove Earth Day Dive – Tumble Dive

After over a 7 month hiatus from scuba diving Scott (Under Pressure Photography) & I decided to finally take the plunge on Earth Day, which was also our 5 yr. Date-iversary! From the start it was looking to be a not so smooth day…unfortunately, I was right. Since it had been a while, both of us forgot our routine in getting our gear prepped, esp me since I’m still a newbie diver. My BC ended up fitting too big b/c previously we adjusted the strap for my new drysuit. The buckle the strap goes thru is a PAIN in the ass (I want to buy an easier buckle, if any exists)! We decided to just make the best of it. Once we got that sort of, kind of, not really figured out, we trekked down the steps to La Jolla Cove. There weren’t any waves so it was ez pz getting in. The swim out was a bit of a challenge for me b/c I haven’t used those muscles in a while. Scott was doing better than me so in between I had him tow me. Little did we know we were headed for a tumble dive!

 

Oh My Shizzle! Lost My Snorkel! La Jolla Cove, CA  Photo by Scott McGee at <a href="http://www.underpressurephoto.com/">Under Pressure Photography</a>
Oh My Shizzle! Lost My Snorkel! Photo by Scott McGee at Under Pressure Photography

A Bumpy Start – Tumble Dive

After I spitooned on my mask for defogging I was having minor issues adjusting it so it won’t leak. Did I mention I’m a magnet for that kind of luck? I started to reach for my snorkel…nothing. I was starting to contort my body, as if I was performing at a freak circus, looking for the darn thing. I thought something was wrong with me, since that’s usually the case. I asked Scott to help me. He was already snorkeling around, but when he looked up at me, “Aw shit!” yup…ok…understood. I lost it. Sigh! We decided to descend there to see if we can do a little swim around to find it…didn’t happen. Oh well.

Sheep Crab (Loxorhynchus grandis)  Photo by Scott McGee at <a href="http://www.underpressurephoto.com/">Under Pressure Photography</a>
Filming Sheep Crab (Loxorhynchus grandis) Boom-Chica-Bow-Wow Photo by Scott McGee at Under Pressure Photography

 

Clearing my ears surprisingly worked well, BUT, my f’n mask!!! I spent so much time adjusting, clearing, etc. it got to the point of frustration that I just signaled to my man to start swimming. I thought I’ll just keep clearing it as I always do. Throughout the dive I was mostly paying attention to my mask which was tiring & annoying. I was concerned I was using too much air too quickly b/c I started out with only 2600 PSI (used some of the air for drysuit lessons in the pool). Finally, since I wasn’t having any luck with my mask & we really haven’t seen anything yet I asked Scott to ascend. I readjusted my hood & mask. Then we tried another jab at it & descended.

 

Sheep Crab Porn – Tumble Dive

So glad we went under again, my mask was doing a little better, not perfect b/c I still had to pinch my nose if I looked down & around which helped from water entering. I stayed close to Scott but as he was looking up, I looked down & spotted those HUGE Sheep Crabs!! This is my first time being so close to them. The only other time I’ve seen them was snorkeling. Holy crabolas, they are big puppies!!! The mating pair were patient with us as we did our very best to keep our distance thru the surge while shooting them looking like perverted porn directors, I swear! Can you imagine if the roles were reversed!?…Just when you thought you were alone… “Oh man, check out the hairless homosapiens! They’re going at it! Grab the camera, Evelyn! Quick, they’re starting to hide under the covers man! Woo hoo!”…Ok, that being said, we did get some great shots & video:

 

The surge was a fun challenge. I got caught in a boa kelp & remembered to stay calm since I was starting to get impatient. I slowly untangled myself only to be tumbled around in the surge afterwards. All the while, I’m trying so hard not to cause harm to my surroundings. After I managed to regain neutral buoyancy, cleared my ears & my mask, I reached that GoPro back out & continued filming. “Wooooh! I’m getting close ups now! Oh wait! That’s too close! Shit! Breathe in hard! I mean press that button on your left! I mean the inflator button! Woh Nelly woh! Phew! Almost crashed into those poor Crtrs! Scott was so graceful in comparison. Sigh, one day…

 

La Jolla Cove, CA  Photo by Scott McGee at <a href="http://www.underpressurephoto.com/">Under Pressure Photography</a>
Diving Back To Shore Photo by Scott McGee at Under Pressure Photography

The Swim Back To Shore – Tumble Dive

I signaled to the man to swim back to shore. All was going smoothly on our way there until I noticed I was going up too fast. My instructor would’ve been proud, I caught that shit superfly fast & continued on a neutral buoyancy. Then my mask got angry at me & water entered from the top. My eyes started to burn. I heard my instructor’s voice in my head telling me my eyes will adjust. I kept switching them open & close, cleared my mask over & over again. Eventually they either adjusted or I got rid of most of the water, but all this fight with my mask exhausted me & it didn’t want to behave anymore. We decided to ascend to swim the rest of the distance on the surface. We yapped for a little bit about the sheep crabs…at that moment I felt a small tug coming from my GoPro, which I ignored, but then a stronger tug caused me to freak out, “What the fuck is tugging at me!?” My heart jumped out of its socket man! Scott checked & it was his stupid fin. How do you spell “Relief”?…P-H-E-W! We got a good chuckle out of it & started to swim.

 

Scott cautioned me about the slippery rocks & soft sand near shore. As we touched ground to take off our fins a shore break threw me off balance. THIS is where the real fun & tumble dive began! I fell on my ass & couldn’t get up. Remember how my BC doesn’t fit me properly? Well it slid side to side causing me to tumble over & over again each time I tried to get up. As this happened the water kept coming up to my head so I quickly put my regulator in my mouth, which thankfully due to my paranoia, I had it in my hand already. Scott was trying to hold onto me all the while he’s getting exhausted holding onto his camera & his drysuit was squeezing him. 2 teenage boys (18/19?) were just several feet away from my right, they simply stood there & stared. People were all around us, but not a fucking soul helped us! A lady was taking pictures as we stumbled & tumbled over & over again due to the constant water surging in & sucking out. The life guards never came out of their caves! People were too busy harassing the poor sea lions! In between our constant fumbles I was able to take off one fin & threw it on the very little section of dry sand. I lost grip of the other fin but thankfully the water brought it back into Scott’s hand. Threw that one. Now Scott is trying to unbuckle my BC, but mind you, I’m still rolling around on my ass & sides. I was so, so tired I barely could lift my arm out of one strap, the other arm was stuck. Oh damn! The GoPro is attached to my arm! I tell ya, we must’ve been a sight. Still, no one helped us! Eventually, step by step, still between tumbles & sinking into the “quicksand”, we were able to take my BC & GoPro off, grab his camera toss all on the dry sand. I helped my man get back onto his feet as best I could. We were both so friggin out of breath, weak & tired.

Wonder why I lost my faith in most of humanity? Well, there you go. This is one of the many other reasons. I have always done my best to be there for someone in need esp if I saw something like this. I would’ve done what I could to help, call out to the lifeguards, step in to lend a hand, something man! The good ones are too few. #HumansSuck!

 

Sheep Crab (Loxorhynchus grandis)  Photo by Scott McGee at <a href="http://www.underpressurephoto.com/">Under Pressure Photography</a>
Sheep Crab (Loxorhynchus grandis) Giving Face Photo by Scott McGee at Under Pressure Photography

This diving misadventure, like others in the past, definitely makes for a good story, but I think I’m ready for a smoother dive next time. Never a dull moment with us McGeeks. *shaking head*

12 Responses

  1. Michael Bear

    Good story!

    And, yes, those things can happen in the most surprising places–even a cove. Sounds like you had what’s called a series of ‘cascading’ mishaps, each one tiring you out and leaving you *less* able to deal with the next one. Surprisingly, minor gear issues can be end up being quite irritating, especially (or because) you are underwater. A chronically flooding or misfitting mask is one of those. It’s stressful having your mask always filling up with burning salt water during a dive! At least you got to see the crab orgy! 🙂

    It sounds like, to summarize, you had gear that didn’t fit you well, plus surgy conditions, plus the bad luck of having them all happen at the cove, where people can be surprisingly indifferent (see: their attitudes towards sea lion population).

    I must tell you that I stopped diving La Jolla Cove a number of years ago, mainly due to lack of parking, the long hike up the stairs and yes, the indifferent lifeguards. Their policy is obviously: if a person’s life is not in immediate danger, let ’em flounder in the surf! A couple years ago, I was diving there with a well-known diver/author and his wife and the husband took off and left us behind while his wife was floundering in the surf and, I can tell you, once the lifeguards saw her life was in no immediate danger, they left her to be pounded (and rolled) in the surf over and over again, until I, along with a rare helpful by-stander, were able to finally get her out of the surf zone–not easy to do when you’re geared up in heavy SCUBA gear yourself. Not fun! Those La Jolla Cove Lifeguards need to grow a little compassion and at least try and assist people being rolled in the surf with heavy dive gear on, even if their life is not in immediate danger.

    And one final complaint about La Jolla Cove: you end up washing sand out of your gear for literally *months* afterwards, even if you rinsed it immediately afterwards.

    So, glad you’re OK and a thought for next time perhaps: dive from a charter boat, where at least there will be some helpful Dive Masters to assist you any gear issues and there won’t be any steep beaches and high surf. 🙂

    Cheers,

    Mikey

    • CrtrGrl

      Wow! Tx for the info on the lifeguards there, Mikey!! Your poor friend’s wife! Jeez! It sickens me that these people are LIFE GUARDS! WTF!???

      The BC is obviously my fault, but we hadn’t dove in over 7mo & we really wanted to get in the water. Bad move & lesson learned. At least it didn’t bug me during the dive.

      As for my mask, I’m going to see someone to make sure my wet suit is fitted correctly. We think my hood is way too tight causing parts of my face to squish together too much & lose color which takes a day to recover. We think this can play a role in having a leaky mask b/c I don’t have that issue as much with my other hoods. We’ll see. Hopefully, that’ll fix the issue.

      We do have to take some of our gear in for serious cleaning so yup, you’re right. Sand is def hiding in the nooks & crannies. Sigh 🙁

      Tx so much for taking the time to read my story & input!!

  2. Amysita

    Creepy creepers especially with the heavy breathing you hear in the video! ? How long do they mate for? Despite your mishaps (sorry!) what a rare and amazing encounter!

  3. CrtrGrl

    LOL! Btw, I like that “Creepy Creepers”. 😀 I’m not sure how long they stay locked in but my guess is it’s a lengthy process…ok, this is sounding all wrong. LOL! There was no pun intended there…honest!

    Tx for checking out my blog, chica!

  4. Katelyn

    Thank you for sharing your experience. There are several things in your post that concern me. I am not trying to criticize you or anything like that. Whenever I have some sort of issue occur on a dive I share it with my dive mentor and I know exactly what he is going to say to me… “What did you learn from this experience?” From these experiences all we can do is learn and become stronger divers. As I was reading, I kept noticing red flag after red flag. I will share my opinion with you. Please do not be offended. Take your experience and grow from it.

    First and foremost, if you have any sort of feeling things are not going properly at the beginning of a dive, you should sit it out. Listen to yourself. Your head will only create panic in the water if you feel something is off. Not to mention, little issues manifest into larger ones that can have dire consequences.

    Your bc not fitting properly for whatever reason is just plain dangerous. Your bc along with you reg are your safety lines. These items must be in tiptop shape and perfect fit is a must. Also, on the surface a bc that is not fitting properly can cause you to sit low in the water, and with no snorkel, that in itself can cause panic. Not to mention, neutral buoyancy would be a nightmare with equipment that doesn’t not fit right.

    Losing the snorkel was a minor issue, I’ve never lost one but I assume it could happen easily in high surf, but I think you said it was pretty flat. Just a lesson to make sure your gear was assembled properly and always do a buddy check.

    The fact that your tank pressure was low because you used it for a class prior to is also unacceptable. If you had a full tank, I’m assuming 3442, losing your snorkel wouldn’t be as big of a deal because you could use your reg on the surface and flip flop from your back to your stomach to use different muscles since you were extremely fatigued on your swim out and required intermittent towing on the way out.

    The mask issue, I highly suggest you look into purchasing one that fits your face. It’s not that it wasn’t cooperating with you, it simply does not fit the shape of your face. Your anticipating it flooding causing more anxiety which again, can lead to panic. And being concerned you’re blowing through air is creating panic which just causes you to use even more air.

    Yes, unfortunately, divers lose their footing occasionally on their way back in. We’ve all been there. You cannot rely on others to assist because they may not understand diving dynamics and what happens when a diver falls. The two teenagers you said you watching you may have wanted to help, but without knowing what they need to do, they may have felt helpless. I am sure if you called to them and said “Come here please” they would have gladly ran to offer assistance. As far as the lifeguards, it was calm with not much swell, so they knew you were not going to get pummeled which is the real danger. Don’t lose faith in humanity over this. If I wasn’t a diver, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to assist someone getting out of the water or even how to recognize when a diver “needed” help.

    From your not so perfect dive, I hope you gained some knowledge and experience. Keep diving and consider furthering your dive education to become an even stronger diver! Thank you for sharing the details and the awesome photos and videos! It looks like you guys had fantastic dive conditions!

    • CrtrGrl

      Hi Katelyn,
      I really appreciate your input & let me start by saying you’re mostly accurate. LOL! Scott & I haven’t dove in over 7mo so, we thought the BC wasn’t that uncomfortable, esp since we noticed the strap issue after we were already suited up. Sigh! Regardless, lesson def learned.

      As for the air, I had enough for a short, shallow dive we had planned ahead of time. I still had over 700 psi at shore. So not too rebellious there.

      My mask, we think, is a result from a very tight hood. We’re going to see someone to get me fitted properly hoping that will solve the problem. I don’t have this issue with my other hoods. *crossing fingers*

      Now, where I disagree with you are the way people behaved that day. I feel there was a lack of common sense & empathy. I did yell for help the one time I was able to keep my head above the incoming surge from the swell. That’s where the 2 teens just kept staring. Other people saw me yelling for help as my face was facing their direction. This is while Scott was struggling to pull me in, while his heavy gear was pulling him down & trying to gain balance in the sinking sand. Instead we had a heartless woman smiling & filming the struggle. Mind you, this went on for a while. Not seconds, not even a few minutes.

      My lack of faith in humanity was lost long before this happened to us. In time I will post other blogs explaining my views on humanity where I’m sure there will be a healthy debate, which I do welcome. This incident is just another sliver of many other reasons I have. Again, I won’t delve into that here.

      There was much learned from this dive overall & again, for the most part, I do agree with you. I’m going to do my best to make sure future dives go smoother this time.

      Much thanks for taking the time!! 🙂

  5. Emily

    Great story and video! I don’t know anything about scuba diving, so some of the difficulties you describe are beyond my ken. I do know that it’s super tacky of people to stand-by watching you and Scott struggle to get ashore. It was a problematic dive, but you’re both unharmed, so all is well.

    • CrtrGrl

      Tx much, Emily! It was a dive w/ lots of lessons learned that is for sure, but grateful we came out of it in one piece. Phew!

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