New Year’s Eve Day – 2012

New Year’s Eve Day (leading into 2012):

This was a great last day for the year.  I woke up with Maria having to take off (she had some kind of plan I can’t remember) so I said goodbye to her  and told her that I’d see her next year (I don’t know why I like this silly joke, but I do).  After that I went ahead and took my time eating breakfast and getting my dive gear gathered as I had plans with my cousin to go freediving for lobster.  This was the last day of the year, which meant our fishing licenses would expire at midnight, so we needed to take advantage of the last opportunity to catch some lobster.

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Once my cousin arrived, we discussed possible locations south of me on the coastline.  We settled on a really nice area, but once we were driving down the coast, we passed by a state park that we’d both heard of which is supposed to have decent diving.  We turned in, paid our parking fee, and proceeded to gear up and make the long walk down the cliffs to the beach.  It was a beautiful day, just slightly overcast, but with the sun shining through strongly most of the time.  We walked up the beach, put the final bits of gear on (fins, masks, etc…), and stashed our gear bin behind some dry brush.

The entrance to the water was rocky and most of the rocks were covered in long sea grass, so we took our time getting through the surf and into water deep enough to swim and eventually deep enough to really dive.  Kicking slowly but firmly we made our way towards a large rock surrounded by kelp, with birds flitting to and fro over the rock (mini island really).  Along the way we made some dives, but visibility was still relatively poor from being close to shore.  As we got further out, the visibility improved as did the amount of sea life.  We saw sea urchins the size of volleyballs, as well as lots of smaller fish, but no lobster, no matter how many nooks and crannies we explored.

I’d noticed the fog starting to roll in at a distance and that the sun was starting to get weaker as it became more overcast/foggy off in the distance where the sun was trying to shine from as it worked it’s way down to the horizon.  I knew that eventually we would have to come into shore as the fog rolled in, but didn’t think much of it as we dove and explored the area around the mini island.  In the kelp surrounding the mini island, I’d been intently exploring the lobster traps that were littered about.  Some of them had large fish heads inside as bait and the design was really interesting as it allowed the lobster to get deeper into the trap, but not back out again.  Of course, none of them had lobster in them.

I figured we only had a good 30 minutes of daylight left, so I started making longer and deeper dives, pushing myself to get into that almost meditative state that lets your body slow down and become ultra efficient in it’s use of oxygen.  I made one long dive, covering a lot of distance between two lobster traps inspecting each one and then going further into a crevice to see if I could spot a lobster.  As my body started to crave oxygen strongly, I ascended to the surface.  What I found on the surface was out of this world.  In the time I made my dive, the fog had rolled in with a vengeance.  It had completely blanketed us.  I could just make out the mini island in the distance and as I swiveled around looking for my cousin I spotted him kicking away from me, mask in the water breathing through his snorkel and completely oblivious to the fog having enveloped us.

 

I yelled loudly to my cousin who managed to hear me and pop his head out of the water.  He was pretty surprised, but didn’t really understand until I told him to get his ass over to me because we needed to find shore as it was no longer visible.  My cousin and I both have a strong sense of direction and navigation skill, so using the floating buoys from the lobster traps, the direction of faint light from the sun, and the mini-island still barely in sight we could’ve likely made our way to shore, but likely is not for certain.  I listened and we could just make out the waves crashing on the beach (in the direction I had planned on traveling), so we made our way to shore quickly, our navigation being confirmed by the shallower and shallower sea floor followed by the shore materializing through the whiteout.

Once safely within site of shore and in the shallow water, I spotted something rather shiny through the long sea grass as it quickly swayed back and forth by the force of the swell.  I held onto fistfuls of the grass and pulled up what looked like the edge of a weight belt.  I pulled and pulled, tearing the sea grass and unearthing the rest of the belt.  It had really big weights on it and outside of the stainless steel buckle, was completely covered in sea growth.  I showed it to my cousin who remarked at how alien it looked.  If it hadn’t been so crusted up, it would’ve been usable, so I let it go back down to the sea floor which allowed me to catch my breath from kicking and holding it up.

What followed should have been us being a little bummed out at not catching or even spotting ANY lobster, but we instead put our masks/snorkels up on the sand and then hopped back in the water for at least 15-20 minutes of body surfing in our wetsuits.  It was a complete and total blast, my cousin and I acting like 10 year olds riding waves all the way into the sand through the thick fog as the sun set completely and people hurried by to get back to their cars in the quickly darkening fog.  We laughed our asses off, then gathered our gear and walked up the cliffs to the showers (almost missed the path but I just spotted it in the dark fog) where we slowly peeled our wetsuits off and rinsed out and put away all of our gear.  The water from the showers was cold, but just warmer than the ocean so we relished in it.  It was also so dark and nobody really was around anyway that we just changed without the need for towels or modesty.  This was also strangely refreshing.

We were there long past the last walking stragglers and someone had left a set of dive fins behind that nobody claimed.  I inspected them and they were exactly my size, so into my dive gear they went.  I was a little sad, but I knew someone else would grab them in the morning and they’d be sold online instead of put to good use, so I didn’t feel bad finding them a new home on my feet for my next dive.  Exhausted, a little cold, but finally dry and dressed, we hopped into my cousin’s new car and relished in the strong heater and heated seats as we made our way towards New Year’s Eve Night.

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~ by aneroidocean on 01/19/2012.

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