By: Owen Autry
Dear Dolphin Divers of Sacramento, March 2023
Happy March and boy the rain doors have opened again. At the time of my writing this letter to you, it is said that we are going to get a lot of rain and snow the last days of February. As many of you know we have had some big storms dumping a lot of snow on the mountains, which in turn we will have a big run off of water coming down the rivers and streams. If you like to go diving and exploring in the different rivers, lakes and streams in the Sierras and surrounding areas, please prepare and use extreme cation. As we say, plan your dive and dive your plan, but sometimes that means staying out of the water completely. Yes, I said it “DO NOT GO IN THE WATER” when conditions are unsafe. This means any body of water. Many divers think the conditions are OK to go, and later find out it was a big mistake…at which point it can be too late. If you read the last bubble, our member Joe Morgan wrote a great article about his dive experience – and what he learned from it. Check it out.
The club is starting to fill the calendar and I encourage you to join us diving whenever you have the time. Keep an eye out for the newsletter, website updates, and emails of the upcoming dives for this year and plan to join us so that you can learn from the vast experience of divers we have in the club. Every time I go out with the club on a dive I learn something new talking to many of our seasoned and experienced divers.
Please encourage your friends and families to join the club to get to know fellow divers and build our club in to the best dive club in California. As I mentioned in the last letter, the new board is being formed and we will be announcing the slate of nominees and asking you to vote on the members you want to represent you in the next election. Vice President, and Election Board Chair, Ken Takata has been doing a great job looking and requesting those to come forward and work to make the board the best it can be. I would like to take this time and acknowledge him for a job well done. Thank you, Ken!
As your current President, it has been a joy and pleasure to work with the board in trying to create a great and an active club. For those that have not attended one of our boards meeting you would find that we laugh a little, joke around a little, and then do our best to give you a club that we can all be proud to belong.
Please note, our next Dolphin Club General Meeting will be held in-person on Wednesday,
March 15th, 2023, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Round Table Pizza (9500 Greenback Lane in Folsom), and via Zoom for those who would prefer to attend remotely. Marilyn will send information the day of the meeting. Our featured speaker this month is Ian Norton, Northern California Survey Coordinator. You will not want to miss this meeting. Everyone is welcome to join the meeting!
Hope to see you in the water, and bubbles up!!
QUOTES FROM THE SEA
“My favorite thing to do on this planet is to scuba dive.” – Buzz Aldrin.
“The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves.” – Wyland.
Safety Officer’s Message
By: Brad Freelove
As the weather starts to (hopefully) settle down and get a little warmer, I am more inclined to visit some of our local dive spots. Monterey, Catalina, Ocean Cove, Pt. Arena, Albion and Ft. Bragg are great places to spend a weekend or more. When the weather is good, these locations can offer some excellent diving and fishing. I have completed by due diligence and made sure that all my equipment is in proper working condition. Boat has been serviced and my diving buds are very ready to take a drive to the coast. As we get closer to our departure date, I start watching the weather reports. There are many sources for weather forecasts. Some of them are great. Others, not so much. About 4 years ago, I started using the weather forecast reporting service called Windy.com.
Windy.com has proven to be reliable and easy to use. You can look at their modeling screen and project out up to 10 days. I can check out wind speed and direction, wave height and speed, air temp, and several other pertinent pieces of weather-related information. The closer you get to your diving date, the more accurate Windy.com becomes. I can start checking out the weather forecast for outer San Carlos Beach 7 days before we plan on leaving. The forecast shows 4 ft. waves. If I check the same location just a couple days before we start our road trip, the forecast may have changed. If the wave forecast now shows 8 ft waves coming in at 6 seconds, most likely I will cancel the trip. No reason to make the drive just to a very rough boat ride.
The application that Windy.com has works okay but does not have all the bells and whistles that the website contains. There is a difference between the app and the website. Also, the first 4 days of the website forecast model are free. If you want to check out the forecast from 5 to 10 days, there is an annual charge this. I paid $19 for a year of the service.
Before you buy the extended forecast modeling service, spend some time using the free 4 day modeling. Make sure you understand what you are getting and how Windy.com works. Maybe even check out some other weather modeling services.
Monterey Bay Boat Dive
April 1st and 2nd
Join your fellow Dolphin Divers of Sacramento members and dive the waters of Monterey Bay. We have 4 boats ready to take our members on a weekend of diving. There is no cost to members for the boat dive. You are responsible for your own travel, food, lodging, and dive gear. The Boat Ride is FREE!. We will make two dives on Saturday and one dive on Sunday. Dive locations will be determined on the quality of the water. Boats will depart the Coast Guard Jetty Launch Ramp at 9 am on both days. On the way to the dive sites, you get to see the hundreds of seals, a handful of otters and perhaps a large sunfish or two.
Dive activities will include sightseeing, photography, and perhaps some hunting. If you sign up for the dive, please show up. We have 16 diver spots available. If you have any questions about the dive or what to expect, please email me soon. The first 16 divers to sign up will get to go.
COLUMBUS DAY CAMPING
An FYI for anyone wondering about the annual Underwater Easter Egg Hunt: The Crazy Horse restaurant, where we held our awards dinner, has gone out of business. I did not find another venue that can accommodate our group of 60+ for a rate that makes sense. Most places charge separately for room rental and food, making them cost prohibitive.
Ken Takata is not hosting the Memorial Weekend camp/dive trip this year because of the historically rough water during most previous events. Instead
I have reserved the meadow campsites at Albion River Campground for Columbus Day weekend, October 6 – 9. Albion River Campground is right on the Albion River where it empties into the ocean. Activities can include kayaking on the river (rentals available) and/or ocean, Diving, visiting Mendocino or Fort Bragg (the ice cream at “Cowlicks” in Fort Bragg is one of the stops I NEVER miss) or just hanging out around the campfire enjoying each others company. We will also make a couple of motorboat and kayak trips up the river into the redwoods.
If you want to join us contact the campground to make your reservation. You can choose any of our reserved sites from D1 to D25, or one off the rental trailers, B22 – B24,. There are also a few full hookup sites, A2 – A15 with sewer connections, close to the group area. (I am in site A2 because I will be there for 7 nights) When you call for a camping reservation be sure to ask for one of the sites in “D” section, that I reserved for our group. This will be a joint event with the Seahorses dive club. If you camp in a tent bring a heater and extension cord: every site has water and electricity.
Please let me know when you make a reservation so I can keep track of how many, and which, spaces we take. Any spaces not reserved by us will revert back to the Albion CG for renting to non-members.
Jack Millard 916.955.8017
(with a Jr Diver)
Dolphin Scuba set up a trip to Anthony’s Key Resort in Roatan Honduras. I had been looking for the perfect place to take my son, an 11-year-old junior open water diver. For those of you who don’t know there are depth limits set on Jr open water divers by age, the limit is 40 feet for 11-year-olds. With the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef only a few feet off the back of the resort, it seemed like the exact place I had been looking for. It would be his first trip to the Caribbean and my first trip to Roatan.
Dolphin Scuba does a pre-trip meeting where the Dolphin representative who will be traveling on the trip goes over everything from entry requirements, your lodging, and any other logistical concerns you might have. Previous to this trip I have always traveled solo, so it was a great relief to have someone else looking out for us. At the meeting we realized that Dolphin had filled almost the entire resort. (I am still fuzzy on the exact number but 70ish divers I think)
So we begun our journey at the Sacramento airport and having met a few people during the pre-trip meeting, and the other dead giveaway of ScubaPro or Cressi luggage, we found out that our flight had quite a few fellow divers.
As always the flights feel long, and my son was running out of steam by the time we arrived and got through customs, but immediately we were greeted by a sign for Anthony’s Key and they loaded our gear and ourselves aboard their bus for the short drive over to the resort. Again it was nice for someone else to handle the logistics. We arrived, and there was another welcome conversation by the front desk where a dozen or so of us were told about restaurant times, room assignments and where our dive lockers were. We were given our keys and off to the rooms to rest after the flights and wait on dinner.
First dive day: We are put aboard the “Sabrina” with Captain Rupert and Divemaster Niko.
0800 we board the vessel and head out for our first dive. We arrive at a dive site called “White Wall” and everyone drops in. It will be Andy’s first ever boat dive, and his first ever free-descent. I hadn’t given it any thought, but in hindsight I absolutely should have. We began to descend and he couldn’t clear his ears. We would try and try but he couldn’t get past 9 feet. We spent 15 or so minutes even going so far as for Matt (from Dolphin) shooting up a DSMB and Andy trying to descend the line. Long story long, we ended up back on the boat with a very disappointed boy.
After getting back to the dock we discussed how this happens to everyone at some point. People of all skill levels have equalization issues, but as any young man, he felt a bit embarrassed and was very nervous about trying again. We went back to the room and used ear drops, tried some stretches for his neck, gave him some allergy meds, and eventually even got a second set of ear drops from Matt (Thanks Again!) We spent the rest of the day doing everything we could think of, and everything anyone else suggested to help him be ready for the next day.
That night the resort offered a Fish ID class, and I was excited to go, Andy, like most 11 yo boys was not. He didn’t want to take a class on vacation. I promised him he would enjoy it. The resorts Course Director gave possibly the best Fish ID class I have ever taken, and by the end Andy was enthralled. He enjoyed learning about all the things he was going to see.
The next morning we wake up to find out that none of the boats are going out because of the weather. Apparently this is extremely rare in Roatan. So we plan our morning around the resort, and after lunch there is a trip to “Maya Key” a local wildlife refuge. The animals there are apparently rescued from bad situations and owners who can not take care of them. It poured rain on us as we walked around, but we made the best of it, and the animals certainly didn’t care. We saw all sorts of animals, and some Mayan artifacts in a mock village.
When we got back to the resort I had the idea of talking to the course director about taking Andy on a shore dive before his next boat dive to prepare him and to prove to him that he would be able to do it.
Pete (CD) told us we could do a shore dive off of the next island over Bailey’s Key, where the Dolphins live. It is where the staff usually takes the uncertified “Try Scuba” classes. We would be alone and could go as slow as we want.
The next day we gather our gear and take the water taxi over to Bailey’s Key. We enter very slowly and literally have him clear for every foot of water, he seems nervous, and is having a rough time, then he begins to see the animals, and as if by magic, he relaxes and the clearing becomes easy. We take a short dive that I let him lead, he sees his first barracuda, a million reef fish, and his most treasured memory, two huge squid. I am not sure why, but he is mesmerized by them. He follows them for the entire dive.
Now with his confidence restored, we board the boats for the second morning dive. Niko lets us know the group is going to dive a wall to around 60 feet and I let him know we are going to stay up on the ledge and mill around by ourselves. We drop in, and had decided to use the mooring line to descend and it works like a charm. Like before his nerves fade immediately once he sees animals. A few minutes into the dive he pointed excitedly at the blue and a spotted eagle ray came slowly swimming by. His smile was so big, and he was so excited. Absolutely outstanding dive.
We head back to the dock, eat lunch and are back on the boats for dive 3. Another great dive. Now it is me letting him lead, and simply following him around as he discovers the ocean. A lot like most new divers he likes to swim. He wants to see everything so he swims here and there darting around like a hummingbird.
He is having such a great time he decides he wants to do the night dive. I was a bit apprehensive about it , but we go. He does it like a pro, no issues, no fear, only issue is again he is swimming almost as fast as he can everywhere.
That night in our room we discuss what he did well, and what he could improve on. I remind him multiple times to slow down and let the reef life come to him.
During the rest of the week his technique gets better with each dive and he slows down a little, he begins descending without the line with confidence. Another observation for parents of Jr divers. The zero-gravity thing makes them very playful. He is doing flips and swimming upside down spinning and pretending to fall like a skydiver. His joy made me have more fun. Sometimes as an adult I forget to do flips underwater. It’s really fun. Try it.
One night was an Island party where we had an outdoor feast, a crab race, a limbo competition and a dance competition. Andy’s crab won the crab race, and he was named Limbo King. He then entered the dance competition, and all participants were named winners. Andy and I decided to take one of the kayaks out and took a self-guided tour of the reef.
We spent the next day beginning with two dives, and then we went to a zipline park.
Now we come to the last dive of the week. I have to mention, Andy’s favorite animal is the Sea Turtle, and we haven’t seen one yet. So we begin our last dive and almost immediately we spot a turtle, it is swimming around and we just float and watch it. Again his smile is huge. We continue the dive and come upon a second turtle eating on the coral. We are at our absolute limit of 40 feet, and the turtle is just below us. I am usually a very strict rule follower, but I signal him that just this once he could go to 46. He hoovers around the turtle for a few minutes just in absolute awe of it. I might be wrong for letting break his depth limit, but I am not sorry.
We head back to shore happy, and we had an outstanding week.
We spent our off-gassing day at the Dolphin Encounter, but I will save that story for another article.
I recommend Anthony’s Key with a 10 out of 10, absolutely wonderful not only for their diving facilities, but also the food, rooms, and their flexibility when bad weather, or other events came up they always had a plan. Also I recommend Dolphin Divers group trips, it was nice to have people around who you knew you could share the adventure with. Wonderful trip.
POOR MAN’S LOBSTER
Cabezone or Halibut
2 qt. water
½ c. sugar
¼ c. salt
1 lb. Halibut or Cabazon – skinned fillet (I think Cabazone is closest in texture and taste to lobster)
1 cube (stick) REAL butter
1-2 fresh lemons
In a medium-large pot add water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cut fillets into 2-3 large pieces (so it cooks faster) and add to boiling pot. Boil for about 5-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked. In the meantime melt butter in a pot*, but do not boil. Remove fish from water, squeeze a little lemon on it and serve with melted butter. I like to completely submerge my fish in the melted butter, much like you would with lobster.
*You can purchase clarified butter at Trader Joe’s or at an Indian food store. It is called Ghee.
No new members in February
CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS
PICTURES OF PAST EVENTS
By: Joe Morgan
I AM LOOKING FOR MEMBERS TO SEND IN PICTURES OF DIVING, DIVING VACATIONS ETC.
Each month I will be looking for submissions in the following categories:
- Trip Reviews: Let us know where you have been diving, what operator you used, the hotel you stayed at and how was the diving there. Let us know if the operator was safe and fun. Let us know if the hotel was a good deal, give us as much detail as possible and hopefully more Dolphin Divers will venture there in the future.
- Recipes: I was told that in the past Dolphin Divers gave each other SEAFOOD recipes that they loved so that everyone could enjoy the bounty of the sea, I hope to continue that each month with at least one good recipe.
- Dive and Camping yard-sale items you wish to include in the newsletter.
- Dive Activities: Please let me know if there are any dive-related activities you would like included in the newsletter.
- Pictures from your last dive. Please make sure to let me know how you would like the picture credited in the newsletter. -example – Picture by John Member, of a Silky Shark, at Roca Partida Mexico.
PLEASE MAIL ALL SUBMISSIONS TO
DOLPHIN DIVERS OF SACRAMENTO
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President: Owen Autry
Vice President: Ken Takata
Treasurer: Marlyn Sepulveda
Secretary: Elizabeth Marchiondo
Safety Officer: Brad Freelove
Activity Chair: Ilkan Cokgor
Webmaster: Renee Viehmann
Promotions Chair: Tracy Clarke
Newsletter Editor: Joe Morgan
Historian: Jack Millard
Member at Large: David Whiteside
Member at Large: Corinne Fuerst
Member at Large: Marylin Campbell
Member at Large: Steve Campbell
Member at Large: Lalanyia Little
Member at Large: Tom Mischley
Alternate Member at Large: Bob Taylor
Alternate Member at Large: Tom Oja