Not Recommending Diving
to four-foot surf coming in... Five- to eight-foot
visibility... Not recommending diving...."
Thus spake someone who was definitely not
Zarathustra on the dive conditions recording at
Laguna Sea Sports. The sun shone brightly in a
cloudless blue sky. The air temperature was a balmy
75 degrees. Perfect Southern California beach
weather, especially for March. But the dive shop
was "not recommending diving" at Shaw's Cove in
Laguna Beach. Pah! I had spent $40 on rental gear,
and many months had passed since my last dive. I
was going to reunite with my old Burbank Dive Club
buddies. "Therefore must I descend into the deep,"
I spake, echoing Nietzsche's Zarathustra.
Upon arriving at the dive site, I saw no sign of
high surf. The conditions from the shore looked
great, with shin-high breakers punctuated by the
occasional two-foot swell. I was ready to get wet.
But where was the dive club? Apparently the others
had also heard about the dive conditions and had
opted not to make the hour-long drive from the
Valley. It looked to be either solo or no-go for
me. But then Walt showed up. Like me, he didn't
want to waste the time and effort spent getting
here, so we decided to hit the water. It must have
been one of the smallest meetings of the Burbank
Dive Club ever!
There was some basis for the dive shop's
recommendation in the form of moderate surge and
poor visibility (less than 10 feet). However, it
was still a fine day to acquaint myself with a dive
site I've wanted to visit for more than a year.
Shaw's Cove showcases some excellent beach diving
in the form of a series of reefs that begins right
at the shoreline. Crevices, crannies and even a
swim-through cave pockmark the reef like Swiss
cheese. Abundant marine life inhabits the undersea
landscape, including sea stars, sea cucumbers,
rockfish, mussels and the ubiquitous garibaldi.
The surge and visibility did not allow us to
explore the site nearly as much as I would have
liked, but we certainly saw enough to whet my
appetite for future visits. Walt and I spent most
of the dive meandering along the reef, shining our
lights into the countless nooks to see what we
could find. As we returned toward shore along the
reef, a large gallery opened up on my left.
Exploring deeper inside, I found myself in what
looked like the foyer to Poseidon's throne room.
Sea star-encrusted walls rose around me, and mussel
shells carpeted the ocean floor in thick layers. To
one side, the swim-through tunnel beckoned to
who-knows-where. Perhaps Poseidon himself waited
beyond, but I had no time to venture further.
Returning to Walt, I joined him for the ascent.
Yes, the visibility disappointed. Yes, the surge
pulled at us. Yes, a rogue wavelet even tried to
steal Walt's mask. But "not recommending diving"? I
suspect Laguna Sea Sports is trying to keep Shaw's
Cove to themselves. And as for the other Burbank
Dive Club divers who missed out? All I can say is,
the worst day diving (which this wasn't) is better
than the best day in the Valley.
Development note: I've
noticed that this site doesn't look like it should
in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time
jury-rigging it to look right in a
soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the
cliché "This site best viewed with Internet
Strickland ALL RIGHTS
What is "The Daily Strick"?
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what a writer must do daily: write. So
you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of
my resolution to make a positive change in
at least one area of my life. Every single
day of this new year, I will write
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