Cat and I decided to venture down to Monterey to celebrate my 150th dive by swimming in a kelp forest!! It was awesome even though I was hypothermic pretty much the entire dive!!
I premise this post by saying while I was in Honduras diving in 85° F water I was wearing a 3mm suit, when most everyone else was wearing just a bathing suit.
After suiting up in 7mm suits, hoods and gloves, we walked to down to the water and waded in until it was about 15 feet deep. Putting on our fins and checking our weight in the waves of very cold water was comical. We ended up wearing over 20 lbs each to counteract the thick suits. We then swam out to the dive site, avoiding entanglement in kelp the best we could. We went down into the dark water with 5-8 foot visibility and were quickly disoriented. We tried to stay together and closely follow our divemaster guide. About 5 minutes into the dive, I started shaking. As time went on, I started convulsing due to the ridiculously low temperature and the fact that I have trouble functioning at any temperature under 75° F. This water was 57° F and I truly wish I was wearing a dry suit. I was so cold that I was actually screaming into my regulator and felt completely disoriented. Freezing to death aside, the dive was beautiful. Although a very challenging dive, we saw lots of interesting things (e.g. Blue Rockfish, Black Rockfish, Warty Sea Cucumber, Red Sea Urchin, Gopher Rockfish, Strawberry Anemone, Vermilion Sea Star, Sheep Crab, Orange Cup Coral, Lingcod, Sunflower Star, Cobalt Blue Sponge, Rock Scallop, Nudibranch) and even got to swim through the kelp as planned.
After the dive, we swam to shore and had to walk up stairs to get back to the shop. I had no feeling in my feet so I am sure it was hilarious to watch me slowly waddle and check my footing in order to avoid falling over with all my equipment on. Eventually, we made it to the shop where I climbed into the sink so I could use the hot water. I am sure it was entertaining since the sink is out in the open.
The rest of the day we spent at the Monterey Bay Aquarium!! It was amazing! Some photos from our dive and the aquarium below.