Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Catalina Island: The Dive

As you probably know, I spent this past weekend on beautiful Catalina Island. When we found out my cousin was getting married there, we simply knew we had to attend. It was the perfect excuse to finally get in our first ocean dive.

We got certified back in July 2011 in MN. Obviously, there was no ocean available, so all of our certification dives were done in lakes. While in MN, we also dove Lake Wazee a couple times and did a dive at SeaLife in the Mall of America. Since moving to Vegas, we've only gone diving once - an eco-dive last June at Lake Mead.

An ocean dive was definitely the next step!

And our New in 2014 for May.

Becoming a certified diver was an immensely difficult and emotional accomplishment for me. You can read more about that here.

I'm still a pretty nervous diver.
And this trip under the sea was no exception.

Our dive was scheduled for noon, and with the wedding at 5pm, we were already cutting it a little close. Everything seemed to be taking forever. We had to wait around quite awhile before they even started to get us situated with all our equipment. It was annoying to say the least, and we even contemplated skipping it.

Finally we got all the gear gathered together and loaded onto the golf cart for a short jaunt to the Catalina Dive Park. There was another hiccup with our guide once we got to the park, but it wasn't too long before we entered the water.

Unfortunately, once we were in the water, and I had my full face mask on (making it hard to communicate), I came to the realization that we probably should have used that downtime to go over some basics.

I got nervous and started to panic.

I couldn't remember which buttons to push or how to descend. The water lapping at my ears was cold and freaking me out. I had to do a lot of self-talking to calm myself down and convince myself that I COULD DO THIS!

Catalina Dive Park
We descended by the white buoys

Finally, I started my descent.

And immediately, I saw this bright orange fish. A few of them, actually. And I was calm. All my nervousness seemed to vanish. I became very excited to be diving with such beautiful fish.

Our guide was great. After descending, we went to the right toward the coral and kelp corridors.

Catalina Dive Park

Our guide showed us some tricks to attract the fish. We got to hold this spongy animal and a spiky one. Don't ask me what they were. We also saw a couple eels and a starfish. Jeff and the guide saw an octopus, but it kind of hid by the time I was looking.

It would've been great if we'd had a camera, but we'd left ours at home. We thought it might be too complicated for our first ocean dive.

We definitely won't be forgetting it next time. And there will be a next time.

Speaking of next time, we'll also be using our own equipment. Renting gear is kind of a pain in the you-know-what. Plus, it's a little more comforting using familiar equipment.

We were underwater for 25 min. Max depth was 41' and average depth was 30'.

After about 17 min or so, I started to freak out a bit. It's hard to explain, but I was kind of done at that point. I remember thinking How much longer is this dive going to be? It was a fleeting thought, though, and I finished the dive without any more negative thoughts.

I did struggle with my air a bit, and maintaining proper buoyancy, but Jeff did his best to help propel me and keep my dive under control. He's the best!

Now, I'm excited to hit the ocean again. :)

Have you ever been scuba diving?

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  1. kudos for getting certified!!! I love the water, but don't think I'll ever get kinda scares me!

    1. Thanks, Amanda. It can be a little scary, but once under the water, it's actually very exciting and fun.

  2. I have never dived. I have been cut the few times I ventured into the ocean so I stick to just getting my feet wet lol I have experienced that panicky feeling cave climbing once and it sure does feel good to get past a moment like that! It's very tiring though. That was a lot to cover in one day before a wedding!

    1. Well, the good thing about diving is, you're most likely in a wet suit, and less likely to get cut. ;) I've never gone cave climbing, but I bet I'd freak out.