It Turns Out Cold Water Diving is…Cold!

Walking on water in my refresher course.
Walking on water in my refresher course.

Despite the fact that I’ve been diving for over 12 years I had a lot of dive firsts on this trip to San Diego.

It was the first time I have ever dove in North America. I did my first cold water dive. And I did a shore dive for the first time.

First up. Cold water diving is cold. It’s no joke. This is California in late March and it’s 30 degrees at the surface but underneath it’s a cold punch in the face. I can’t even imagine the frigid horrors of diving the Hudson Bay in winter…eep! Anyhow, you’ve been warned.

This means equipment. Lots of it. Ankle to wrist wet suit (or dry suit), booties, gloves and a hood. Then comes the dive gear.

This brings me to another random first: diving with a steal tank. (Random Gear Tip: They’re heavy to carry on your back on land but way better for controlling buoyancy throughout the course of your dive.)

Kumar, the safety bear, and I heading off for my first shore dive.
Kumar, the safety bear, and I heading off for my first shore dive.

On my first shore dive, I learned…it’s harder than boat diving. You have to carry your equipment for longer.  You have to battle crazy waves that crash into you and knock you over and make you drink salt water. But it’s easier to navigate and a lot cheaper…cuz, you know, you don’t need a boat. Also, when you’re done you’re on a beach…so it’s a trade off.

Now…to the good stuff..what did I see?

First up, I saw a giant crab that was about two and a half feet big just taking a stroll along the sand and a shy octopus curled up in a tiny crevice of the La Jolla canyon wall.

Later in the day, a sea lion kept us company as we geared up on the boat. Then we descended to the wreck of the HMCS Yukon which looked like a beautifully formed lush garden of whites and pinks.

All and all I prefer a tropical dive filled with coral and fish and WARM WATER, but I was so happy to be diving again. Just thinking back to being in the water makes me smile.

Diving is the love of my life. Sometimes she’s hot and sometimes she’s cold, but always I love her. She makes every time feel like the first time.

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