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Feb 07

East Meets West- and epic freediving ensues

Here’s something you won’t often hear someone from Northern CA say: “So I went diving in February and it was epic!” But in truth, I went diving out here Tuesday and contrary to what I expected, it was a sickly awesome day out. Here are the things that happened in a nutshell.

Gearing up at our entry point

-Watched a new diver kick butt on her first ocean dive…in Norcal…in February.
-Brought home a stringer of delicious fish
-Caught up with Boston ECD freediver, Nick Fazah for our first dive together in YEARS!
-Ate my weight in lingcod

It all started when my good buddy Nick, who has known me since before I was freediving (yes, eons!) called me up wanting to come visit for a couple days between a trip to Mexico and a trip to LA. I reminded him that SF is not on the way to LA from Mexico, but he’s from England and doesn’t understand proper North American geography.

So he books his flights and tells me he’ll have one day to dive with me- Feb. 4. I’m inherently thinking, “There is no way the weather is good enough to dive out here in February…” But since, as many of you know, we’re in a drought and have had unseasonably warm, calm weather, it’s actually been pretty hospitable to divers this winter.

So when Nick showed up on my doorstep with his girlfriend, who’s never been in the ocean freediving, ready to head to the coast, we hopped in the truck and went!

Now I have to explain what Northern CA diving is like in winter for those of you who haven’t been.

Cold. Dark. Rough. Cold. Rainy. Foggy. Cold. Cold.

I always hear the Flight of the Valkyrie playing in my head as I watch the waves crash against the coastline in winter.

Oh! It’s also cold, in case I forgot to mention it.

Jake and Nick show off their catch

But this day…we got out there, the sun was out, the waters were clear (…ish…I mean, you could see some stuff) and only mildly bumpy. I swear the water temp was even in the 50’s. Jake and Nick swam off in search of dinner while I took Nick’s girlfriend off for her first ocean dive. And don’t get me wrong- she’s still badass for doing her first ocean dive on our coast. Even in the best conditions the rocky entry and cold waters (did I mention it’s cold?) can be daunting for new divers. But she took to it like a champ and looked like she’d been diving here for years by the end of our time in the water.

I guess I’m just sharing this story with you all because…well it was one of those really unexpected days in the water. If I’d been in 80-degree Florida waters, with 100-foot of visibility I wouldn’t have been as excited about the day as I was out here. I guess those days, when you are just preparing for bad conditions, then arrive to see everything line up perfectly…well if you’re a diver you know how that feels. It’s like winning the lottery. Well maybe not the $10 mill Powerball, but at least one of those $50 scratch off tickets.

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