When we invited ourselves to join boat neighbors Chad and Larissa (and Kona their black lab) aboard SV Syren on their trip to Santa Cruz island, I was most excited to scuba dive with them. Knowing it has been a long time since my last dive, I took a refresher course 4 days prior at a local dive shop where I rented a 8mm wet suit and dive weights…..not to mention a new dive tank with the proper valve. Trevor kindly fashioned a system to hold my tanks and scuba gear in a closet just before we left for the island trip and we were ready to head out.
The plan was to anchor out at Cueva Valdaze anchorage where there would be room for both boats to anchor safely on the busy weekend. Safely double anchored (bow and stern anchors out, and Trevor and I did it twice) we lowered the dinghy to bring a tool out to Syren to fix an oil leak (of course….they had it worked on not to long ago and as we would done, assumed it was all good). Lowering the dinghy was a shit show: high swell prevented the motor to go on fast and we risked the motor hitting the boat as the dinghy heaved up and the sail boat heaving down. Trevor wanted to kill me but I will save you the details 😜
That night we had Chad, Larissa, and Kona aboard for dinner and apps. Wine and cheese stared us off and we finished with a great pasta dish Trevor made.
The next day we all loaded up In our respective dinghy a and headed to painted cave. Rowed in the cave and heard all the sea lions. With flash lights in hand, we saw 30-50 sea lions resting in the pitch black on rock cropings inside the cave. Some were irritated and swam near our dinghys. It was so mellow and serene, truly amazing!
When we returned to our boats, I get ready for the dive. To say the least, another shit show to get me into the water from the boat with all the weight of the tank, etc. Finally in and down in the water, as a group Chad and Larissa led me to the coast line. Visibility was not good, maybe a few feet. At one point I actually lost my orientation….but it only lasted a moment. CHad and Larissa are very competent divers and kept a good eye on me. They are also good hunters and harvested fresh scallops from the rocks. Larissa showed me what they look like: like part of the rock but with an slight orange line that looks like a smile. I was fascinated as I watched Chad pry one open and shed away the guts and place the tiny scallop in a bag Larissa was holding to take my camera out! When I “ran out of air” it was another shit show to get me back on the boat. Trevor had to climb into the dinghy to grab my vest/tank and weight belt. To be fair, the gear weight was about 100 lbs altogether and I was trying to climb a swim ladder that is partially inverted…..I should of been working out I guess.
After getting warm (57 degrees in the water and Trevor had prepped the boat for me to get warm with the generator and heater) we had dinner aboard Syren with fresh scallops and Mahi Mahi! Scotch and bottles of wine later, We decided to take a night dinghy ride to a close by cave we found earlier that day. Headlamps and scotch in hand, we motored very CAREFULLY and took in the darkness. The treats of the day were not over yet…..Larissa was a soprano opera singer in high school and she “felt inspired” and sung an incredible ballet from Procinni! It was mesmerizing to be hearing a voice of an Angel in the pitch black and light lapping water sounds as the background. Larissa…..you were amazing!
The next day we headed back to Ventura, a little hung over, but had plans to have Dave and Sonia, long time friends from my time at Arnies restaurant, for dinner. We arrived just in time to receive them and enjoyed hours of discussion and catching up….so good to see old friend in new places 😘