California Camping Diving Freediving North Coast Spearfishing

Camping on the North Coast Part 2: The Sea Awakens

Lindsay and I decided to go camping again this weekend. It was awesome. It really is so incredibly awesome that we live only 2 hours from such an unbelievably beautiful place.

I am tired, so this will be a short one [edit: never mind!]. The reason I’m tired, is because that video (above /\) was taken at around 7am this morning, on the way home from our awesome camping trip. You might ask, “Why were you already packed up and on the way home at 7am?” You might not ask that, that’s fine too. Regardless, the reason is that about an hour and a half before that (let’s call it 5:30 AM) a giant wave broke over the rocks we were sleeping behind and we woke up literally sliding along the sand in our tent on a layer of frigid ocean (side note: I thought it was “fridged”, but it turns out that’s not a word). It’s difficult for me to describe how crazy of an experience this was for me. OK, not THAT crazy in itself, but the lead up made it seem pretty crazy.

Our stuff by the car after

When the water hit the tent, it wasn’t a gentle misting or something like you’d experience if it starts raining and you’ve left the rain fly off. It was exactly like if you were sleeping on the beach, in the water. I think I said “there’s the water” (read on – I had been sort of worried about this!). I’m actually pretty proud of Lindsay and myself, we JUMPED out of bed, QUICKLY looked for my headlamp (which I always keep next to me in the tent), then I dragged the tent over rocks and through a foot of water in places and dragged it up to our car. Then we ran back down to where the tent was and looked for all of our stuff that had been carried away by the water.

Sai looking at gear
Luckily because of my “feelings” the night before (see below), I actually relocated all of my dive gear a ways up from the tent. But still, the water had come WAY up and had washed my gear all over the place. Somehow, the only thing that was actually lost was a glove (which is a bummer, because they’re 40 dollar dive gloves!). Oh, also Sai’s dog bed, which was wet, we threw away.

The night of this “incident” (i.e. the period leading up to being woken up by the the sea), I kept waking up (I’d guess every 45-60 minutes or so) because the crashing waves were just so loud. Having slept on this very beach in the past I knew how loud it could be with the waves breaking over all of the rocks nearby but it was still hard not to be woken up. And each time I woke up, I got a bit panicked and thought, “Oh shit are the waves coming closer? Is the noise getting louder? Should I check outside and see where the tide is?” And each time I woke up I thought “Kevin you’ve already gone over this, you’re being an over cautious worry-wort.”

Tent location

(Note the “christmas tree” and it’s location relative to our tent – I figured it would have been washed away long ago if the tide came up that far)
Tent location again

The strange part is that before getting in bed, where there was still a bit of light out, I was walking down to the tent from our car and noticed that there was a line of seaweed up quite a bit from where I had seen it before, or in other words, it seemed like the tide had at some point recently been up very high. I spent a good 15 minutes (not an exaggeration) debating with myself about whether or not I should be concerned with where we had set our tent up. I walked around a bit more and examined our camping spot, but there was a fire next to our tent some time ago it seemed, but all of the coal/burnt wood remnants/etc were all in one central spot (not scattered all over the place). Plus our tent spot was elevated another 2-3ish feet from the sand Plus, I knew that if I suggested to Lindsay that we pack all of our stuff up and move our camp a hundred feed off the beach she would tell me I was being crazy. And I’m trying to get better at not worry about everything all of the time, so I tried (see previous paragraph) to just ignore my thoughts and go to bed.

Anyway, enough about that. It was a pretty good adventure type situation.


Otherwise, the trip was great! I tried out my new speargun for the first time and did some spearfishing/freediving. The visibility was TERRIBLE, so I didn’t see much, but it was still fun to get in the water. The speargun is pretty great I think, though there are a few small issues. First, the safety has a tendency to “turn on” automatically, with the slightest brush. So I think that’s just something to be mindful of, or possible fix. I would never really trust it anyway, so perhaps I could just disable the safety altogether (though I probably won’t). Second, the monofilament that attaches to the spear itself is secured using a metal crimp. The crimp itself is fine/good, but if the metal crimp is below the spear shaft when you lock it into the gun then the pressure (“moment”?) applied to the spear inside of the trigger mechanism causes the trigger to lock. This took me a good 10 minutes to figure out, but is an easily avoidable issue, just a slight pain in the ass, especially when wearing 7mm gloves with cold hands. Note in the photos above, which I suppose look cool enough, the sad reality is that I was dicking around in the sand trying to get the trigger unstuck.

Fixing spear gun

I also have one sad thing to report: I sat on my kindle and broke it. Special thanks to Dean for the Kindle in the first place. Anyway, this happened around 9:30pm, just as I was getting to a great part in my book Red Seas Under Red Skies (the second book in the Gentleman Bastards series – the first being Lies of Locke Lamora). Anyway, I was and still am sad about this. I really liked my Kindle. I’m replacing it, but still. It sucks to loose something great/valuable, and have it be a total waste and totally your fault.

And now, a few more photos from the weekend:

Lindsay took some of these too, it was a team effort
Cressi maskDive gear after rinsingDive gear againSai looking at the beachSai with dive gearSai walking past anchorSai in bedSunset VerticalSunrise HorizontalCrashing waveSleeping bagsRocks in the wallKayakGetting into water

<3 p.s. Lindsay is a great person to spend a weekend camping with. Love you Lindsay!


Two More Monterey Dives

Lindsay and I have now done a total of three dives in Monterey. Two dives at Breakwater, two dives at McAbee beach.

The second Breakwater dive was with my Dad, and I think it was pretty great. We saw a small octopus, a bunch of great kelp, sanddabs, and the list goes on. Here is another quick video (note that I wouldn’t claim these are amazing videos but I record video for the sake of the memories, then try to cut them down into short-ish watchable chunks).

McAbee beach was a new experience. We (Lindsay and I) ended up parking downtown Monterey on a Sunday, so the streets were full of tourists, but there we were getting our gear setup in the middle of the street.

The dive itself was nice, but shallow. Reading about McAbee it turns out that in general it’s a pretty shallow dive, unless you swim out quite a ways (which we did, but not far enough). One thing that I think made the dive 100% worth it though, was a seal that swam with us for a few minutes (see: video). Lindsay was a tiny bit on the nervous side that it was going to eat us, but it ended up just swimming around us and playing with our fins for a few minutes. It’s pretty amazing to have such an animal just come right up to you and touch you. Having never dove with dolphins or any other “friendly” or curious animal like this in the past it was a pretty great experience.

We are going to do this dive again, but next time swim out past the kelp to where we need to be. If look around on the internet for dive reports from McAbee it looks like it’s not uncommon to see 2+ seals together, and honestly I’d LOVE to just sit and watch seals swim around me for an hour. We’ll see!