Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dive Report: Wood's Cove, Laguna Beach

Every time we go diving, it's partly sublime and partly a Keystone Cops affair. Yesterday's trip to Wood's Cove was no different.

Dive Conditions

This was our first dive in the Laguna Beach area. We all agreed that it was beautiful and will go back to visit this or another beach nearby. Visibility, once you got away from the surf, was very good, 25-30' or more. If you're comfortable and you take your time, there's plenty to see and enjoy.

The floor is sand with patches of rocks where seaweed grows and fish cluster. The fish are incredibly tame. When I put my hand out to one, he came over to see if I had a treat for him. Clearly, there have been divers who have fed the fish. Personally, I don't have a problem with this although I know ecology purists get fussy over the topic.

Since it's shallow, the water is warm and unless the surf is zero, there will be some surge. The video below gives you some idea of the conditions.

As long as the surf isn't too bad, entrance should be easy. In the Google Earth image below, we went in on the south side of the rocks. Coming back out, I lost track of where I was and ended up coming right in through the slot in the rocks. A lifeguard came out and read me the riot act, but by the time she got to me, I was able to stand up and there was no way I was going back out and around.

Wood's Cove. I came in through the middle of that V-shape set of rocks. Excitement!
Coming in through the slot during surging conditions is interesting to say the least. By the time you get close to shore, visibility is down to 3-5' and it's hard to tell if you're making any headway at all with the water pushing you back and forth.

Lessons Learned

The boys and I don't go diving often enough for us to make prepping and putting on our gear second nature. Every time we go, we make at least one rookie mistake. Yesterday, we made several which led to a somewhat uncomfortable dive in an otherwise very nice location.

First, it turns out you can get seasick under water. Wood's Cove is 30' at the deepest and in surging conditions, which can happen even when the surf is only 1-2', you get shoved back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and bleeaarrghhhh. We ended up cutting the dive about 10 minutes short because two of us got pretty nauseous as we did not take any seasickness medication.

Because the dive is so shallow, you need to go a little heavy on the weights. We went a little light and ended up able to go down only after completely deflating our BCDs. Without the pressure of the depths to compress the air remaining in the vests, every bit of air remaining gives maximum lift.

We made one more mistake that was so stupid that I won't include it here, Sigh.


We enjoyed diving here more than diving La Jolla Cove. For someone my age, not having to swim a half mile or more from the shore entry to get to the dive site is wonderful. Coming in from a La Jolla dive is always a chance to review my life insurance situation, how recently I've been to Confession and say a Rosary or two. Aside from the nausea, this was a pretty comfortable dive.

If you like shore diving, Laguna Beach definitely deserves a try or three. Just make sure you prep thoroughly, but then you already knew that. I just wish someone would tell us that before we go. :-)

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