Archive for the 'Rock Climbing' Category

May 11 2009

My Fun Weekend. Movies, Clubbing, Diving and Rock Climbing.

Published by under Diving,Rock Climbing

This weekend I was supposed to dive Farnsworth Banks off Catalina Island, it had got cancelled last weekend, but due to lack of people signing up for the boat, it was cancelled this time as well. I already had plans for friday evening, saturday evening and sunday afternoon and yet i decided to try to make a weekend mammoth ski trip happen which obviously didn’t.


It has been a while since i have dove the oil rigs, last time it was in Sepetember 08 and have been wanting to dive there again for a long time so when this weekend when there were spots on Sea Bass, i couldn’t resist. I still tried to make ski plans and when that didn’t work out it was time to dive the rigs.


Friday Evening was going to be a rendezvous with Hollywood Night Life meetup group, I was planning on going for dinner, movie and dancing but since i had to get air filled at Hollywoodivers, I decided to skip the dinner. I planned on diving with Nitrox (32% O2 instead of 20.9% which is there in Air) so that the extra O2 would help me feel less tired because i had planned a lot of things this weekend mainly rock climbing after more than two years.


I got the fills done and then came home and went for the movie, Star Trek, at the Arclight Dome. I really enjoyed the movie and even though i didn’t know anything about star trek before i get the whole idea now, admittedly the movie is a prequel but the story was very well told nevertheless. I love acting of Zachary Quinto from Heros and he was awesome in the movie too.


Dancing part of the meetup was going to happen at Club Halo, I wasn’t sure about whether to go or not but then since i had never been to this club before i decided to give it a try. I only had one drink there and was back home at around 1.15 am. Its not a bad place and i enjoyed it. Since i started enjoying trance, i never thought i would be able to enjoy Hip/Hop again but i was proved wrong. I guess it doesn’t matter once u have few drinks anyway 😉


I hadn’t packed completely for tomorrow so i decided to get things organized and to check the air pressure in my tank i connected the regulator and it started to free flow. I was like WTF, i didn’t want to miss out on another dive trip because of equipment failure. I tried various things to make it work, switched tanks, put the tank in bath tub and see if the reg worked under water but nope it was busted. DAMN there is some voodoo at work for sure i told myself and then before going to bed i was like let me try one more time. I tried it and all of sudden my regs worked fine, there was no free flow. Whoa what a relief.


By the time i was done with the regs, it was already 2.10 or so and i had to pack rest of the stuff too. I decided to wake up early and then do the rest of packing. I woke up at 4.30, packing didn’t take that long and left my place at 6 and reached Sea Bass on time.


We were going to be only 6 people on the boat and it was a totally different scene than it usually is on the sea bass. There were no doubles, only one person was going to be in a dry suit that too it wasn’t a DUI one. For a change i was one of the experienced divers onboard and the only one who was planning to dive using Nitrox.


On the way to rigs i realized that i forgot my dive light, what a bummer i was so pissed about it. I didn’t want to be without my dive light on the oil rig and that too when it was highly overcast without any sign of the sun. Sigh.


The ride out to the rigs was little rough and i tried to take a nap since there was a chance to do so. I wasn’t successful in taking a nap because of the swells. I buddied up with Michael, Nick and Jim and we were going to dive as a group. Jim and Nick were relatively newly certified with less than 10 dives.


Oil Rig, Eureka

Dive 1:


I was going to hang out with Nick but we all were going to dive as a group. We decided on max depth not to exceed 100 ft, since they were new and i was on Nitrox. We descended and as we started going down, I noticed something long hanging down from Nick’s leg, i brought it to his attention and i held it in my arm. As i held it, i felt slight current, it was weird. It was a some stupid shark shield, he was wearing on his leg, i would love to have some shark encounter on the rigs and not scare them away. If the shark wants to eat me, its easier to play a game of hide and seek on the rigs ;).


We started to descent slowly and it got little confusing, we didn’t seem to go anywhere and were just hanging in the center of the rigs. No one was taking a lead exploring things and at this point i didn’t know what to do. Also i realized that Nick was no where in sight and for some reason i thought he surfaced while letting others know.


We started to descent further and hit 90 feet and still no one wanted to explore the rigs, I pointed towards the row of columns and started swimming through them. I was also missing my dive light a whole lot since i couldn’t see any small critters on the columns. As i reached the end of columns, i didn’t see Jim or Michael following me so i swam back towards them and to my surprise they were ascending.


I had no choice but to ascend with them and so slowly we came back to the surface. Jim was low on air so he made a slow controlled ascent to the surface. I wasn’t worried that much about the safety stop since the dive time was 16 mins and i was on 32% nitrox. While ascending, i came across a really long salp, not sure if i would call it a piece or a group but it was pretty long.


Long Salp, had to turn off the Flash.


At the surface we weren’t sure about where Nick was so Michael decided to descend and look around, I asked him if he needed me to come along with him but he said he was fine. Reluctantly I decided to accompany Jim back to the boat and we could see Nick already there. He had a panic attack at about 60 feet and decided to make a controlled ascent to the surface.


The other two people on the boat made a dive to 160 feet on Air and from what i heard their first safety stop was at 30 ft, they switched to nitrox 50 or 60% at that point. I am no expert on technical diving but i know for a fact that from what i have learnt, read and heard among divers that this is not a usual way of diving this deep. No wonder they did a short second dive and called it a day which was a smart thing to do.


Dive 2:


For this dive Jim was feeling very nauseous and Nick seemed to have recovered from his panic attack. We had decided to split up but then since Jim decided to skip this dive we decided to head out as a group. I had about 2100 psi left in my tank so instead of getting a nitrox fill i decided to get it topped off with air. Now i had 28% nitrox in my tank.


Michael was taking video so he wasn’t going to use his dive light which he offered it to me and i gladly accepted. I was happy that now i had a light and it would be a much better dive experience. We also decided the max depth for this dive was going to be 60 ft since we wanted Nick to feel more comfortable.


We jumped into the water and descended to about 60 ft. We moved to the outer part of the rigs where there seemed to be more natural light and it was nice to explore the rigs using the dive light. About 15 mins into the dive, Michael signaled me to ascent and i figured Nick might be having some problems.


We decided to slowly ascent, i was at below everyone and at about 20 ft or so i saw Michael descent, I thought he might have helped Nick to the surface and then wanted to continue the dive with me but it didn’t seem the case. He just came to check on me and then we ascended to the surface. This time Nick was low on air and hence we started ascending. It was disappointing but then thats the nature of diving, you dive as a team and work with your buddy. There have been times when i have been low on air and the others have had to surface because of me. So i am not complaining here. :)


Dives 1 and 2 were really cold dives, I got a reading of 50F and 51F respectively on my dive computer.


Dive 3:


It was now time for lunch and this time we decided that if Nick was low on air we would make sure he got to the surface and then Michael and myself would continue the dive. I had about 1900 psi left and so again i decided to top it off with air and now my tank had 25% O2. Also we decided to move towards the twin rigs called Emily and Eileen.


Jim was still feeling nauseous and didn’t want to dive. As we were about to get into the water Nick decided not to come and so it was just me and Michael for the dive. It was definitely going to be a longer dive. :). We were not planning  to dive deep on this one either.


We descended to about 60 ft and then moved to 40-50 ft range where we stayed for the most part of the dive. We could really feel the swell at that depth, it was tossing us around and it was hard not to brush against the columns of the rig. Even though there was this swell and some current it turned out to be my best dive on the rigs yet.


There was a large school of Blacksmith and the group of sheepheads was huge. I have seen male ones who are about 3-4 ft but this one had females which were also about the same size. Saw one feasting on a scallop with his big mouth and sharp teeth, he looked threatening. The rock fishes were abundant too and they were almost as big as the sheepheads. I get confused whether they were the kelp rock fish or grass rock fish but i am leaning towards the latter. Will have to go through my reef check cards and notes to finalize one over the other. Saw a lingcod resting and had fun with a painted greenling. I found something to hold onto and was in a position to take its picture but that fella wouldn’t come and rest in the frame. It was disappointing but also lot of fun.


The swell was really powerful and there was slight current too. When i stopped finning, I moved quite a bit of distance and had to start finning again so that i wouldn’t go away from the rigs. I had turned on the dive light but it wasn’t working and then all of sudden it started working which was nice.


As i explored some of the columns, I found some nudi eggs and i told myself that there has to be some nudi in the vicinity. I started looking and i found some. I was so happy so come across another species of nudi and as i looked i saw that they were all over the place. I couldn’t be more excited and came across 2 more diff species. Michael who was busy taking video all this time, i pointed out one to him. I must have seen atleast 20 nudis, the max on a single dive so far.




Diff Nudies, Hermissenda crassicornis, Doriopsilla gemala or orange gills and Lemon Dorid (mostly) respectively.

I came across something which looked like fire coral that i have seen while diving in egypt but its not possible. I am mistaken for sure and have no clue what it was. There was also a star fish, floating trying to find something to hang onto. It was kinda cool. 



I also came across some nice anemones and when i checked out its pic i think it turned out to be the best pic i have ever taken and my computer desktop has finally changed :). Both of us were doing really good on air but then Michael started getting little cold and so we decided to ascent.


Anemone. my best pic so far and my new desktop pic. A higher res version does justice and if you want to see it let me know.


As we were ascending, the sea lions came out to play and it was fun. We were making a safety stop at 15 ft and i saw i had about 1600 psi left. I pressed the stop watch button on my computer and boom it went blank. All of sudden I don’t know what happened but my dive computer screen went blank and i couldn’t do anything about it. It was really weird but i was glad that it didn’t happen earlier or during the dive otherwise i would have had to stop diving. We got back on the boat and my computer had stopped working.


On way back, I again tried to take a nap but it didn’t happen. We were back on dock at about 1.15 and I decided to go straight to Hollywood Divers to see what was going on with my dive computer. I had no choice but it would go back to the manufacturer and then they would fix it. My concern was the dives i had logged in my computer, I had to reset windows ( i use it in Fusion on a mac) and i lost all the dive data on my computer. I was going to transfer all my dives today but wouldn’t be able to do so and i didn’t want to loose them. I wrote a note about it and hope the logged dives are not lost.


Bill (one of owners of Hollywood Divers) offered me his dive computer in case mine doesn’t come back in time, since i have to finish the reef check course this coming weekend. I love these guys and the customer support they offer. When my dive light went bad i was a given a new one even before the old one came back from the manufacturer. During the time period when my regs were being serviced i could have taken a rental free of cost. This is what customer service is all about, I would gladly spend few extra bucks with Hollywood Divers (not that they are expensive rather sometimes way cheaper than others) then going without customer service when i buy things online. you guys rock now only if you would put a decent website up ;).


I spent the afternoon doing time pass in general, was planning to take a nap after washing all the gear but that didn’t happen. Donna had convinced me to come for a desi party instead of going to Circus for a night of trance with the LA Trance meetup group. But as the time to go came near it was learnt that the DJ was going to play mainly bhangra and so the junta wasn’t interested anymore.


I was in two moods whether to go out for the trance thingy or just go to bed, sleep in and get ready for a day of rock climbing tomorrow. I decided on the former and headed out to Circus about 10 so that i wouldn’t run into the crowds later, it was empty but around 11 it started to fill up. Met up with the folks and it turned out to be an awesome night. Rank1 rocked the house but after he left Talla 2XLC got little bit boring for me and so at around 3 am i decided to bail out. Its one thing listening to same repetitive trance beat while doing other things but at a live event it tends to get boring.


I love Circus Disco saturdays, its free to get in, the drinks are cheap and there is no dress code. The cafe serves mexican food so you can grab a snack as well. Looking forward to going there for more trance events.


A Day of Rock Climbing: 


The next morning i woke up at about 10.30 to get ready for rock climbing. I was going to car pool with June, who i met online on meetup. I had to go to her place and then we would head out to Pt Dume. It took me a while to get ready and i was hungry so decided to grab a bite at subway. I reached June’s place at around 1 and we reached Pt Dume at about 2 pm.


There was a group of climbers already there and they had taken up all the routes but luckily for us they were just about to leave and we could set up a top rope on the center easy route. It was the first time i was going to hike to the top at Pt Dume to set a top rope, every time other people have done it or i have led the climbs to set up a top rope.


We did the short hike to the top and set up a top rope on the center climb, I was going to rappel down but June decided to hike down instead and by the time June was ready to climb rest of the folks who were supposed to join us arrived. We were a group of 7 people now.


I got on the rock for the first time in over two years and it felt nice. Didn’t have too many hiccups but still wasn’t super confident that i could think about leading this climb yet. I had also forgotten how uncomfortable climbing shoes can be :). Another rope was setup on the 5.9 climb to the far left.


All of sudden there was a girl in bikini, who was part of group, on the top trying to throw a rope down, she wasn’t anchored in or anything and we were like WTF is going on, however none of us minded the view 😉 but still no one had a clue what those guys were upto. The group finally managed to get a rope down and then the gal in bikini was rappelling down. She wanted to go fast and jump during the rappel but the rope was too thick for her to gain any speed. It was funny as hell.


I started doing some traverses, something which i always have enjoyed at Pt Dume, but then i really had to be wary of the bikini gal and their group. They were just doing stupid things and it could have very well injured someone. It wasn’t funny anymore.


We moved my rope over to the left to do another climb and i also did the 5.9 which i have led a few times. I am very comfortable on this climb but i wasn’t feeling exactly the same this time so i just took it easy. I managed to climb it without any problems and was happy about it.


We were also thinking about moving to the other side where the harder climbs are but there were ropes already out there. The climbers didn’t mind us using their ropes as long as they could use ours. So the deal was done so to say and we moved over to the other side to do the pumpy 5.9 which i am not exactly a fan of and have never led it.


It was starting to get cold, the wind had picked up and i forgot my jacket so i decided not to wait for my turn on that climb and instead just traverse on the front side. Again i had to be careful of the crazy group and it wasn’t that much fun but the good thing was that the group was about to leave soon so i could traverse in peace after that.


It was time to leave and i offered to take the anchors of both the ropes down. I was planning on climbing the 5.9 to the far left and then traverse over to reach out to the anchor on right, take it down and then get back to take the other anchor down. Easier said that done :).


This time on the 5.9  i was more confident and after i climbed it i felt that i could lead the climb now :). I had few anxious moments traversing over to the other anchor since essentially i was on lead then. It wasn’t that bad but taking that anchor out was little tricky.


The second anchor didn’t give me that much problems and we just wrapped up at about 7.45 or so. It was a nice relaxing day of climbing at the beach. Reached home at about 9ish and then after dinner it was time to go to bed.

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