It was one of "those" SoCal nights at the beach:
Caress of warm air swirling around on light breezes.
Lots of LoSangelenos growling to park and then laughing to be at the beach...in the dark..
Seasoned with tiny surf to create the perfect ambient house music.
And a great buddy, Ronnie, who likes to dive late....when the submarine party really starts to kick.
It was probably 10'ish when we staggered gracefully past the Grunion-expectant masses (well... 11 people with flashlights) and fell gratefully into the cool water.
66F water took the edge off the steamy drysuit experience.
I remember thinking: "Note to self: time to go to one layer undergarments ya silly. It's Summer! Oy!"
We got bored at the usual spot on the noisy, slappy kick-taxi-surface-runway, and rolled over for take-off to the bottom.
So. Much. Better...underwater!
Warm rippled sand rolled by, inhabited by critters scattering before our shock&awe approach.
"Guys! It's light and bubbles! Relax fer cryin' out loud!"
Thank the gods for the patient residents who stay to visit: crabs, flatfish, scorpion fish, round rays, thornback rays, spiney mole crabs, moon snails, kellet's whelks, lizard fish, li'l striped perch, pipe bay fish ;D.
As Ronnie and I sloped down from 12fsw to 35fsw, more tufts of seaweed appear...and the Nudi parade began.
Acanthadoris lutea (yellow horned dorid) was first up.
Eggs of Dendronotus iris were just teases...never saw the perps.
Black dorids and their stylish White-Tie eggs.
As we hovered over a Flabaellina trilineata, the water went swirly and hazy before my eyes... like a halocline.
Cool water brushed my cheeks.
Then we got body-slammed by 51F water. D8
Over here: 66F. (-: mmmmm....
Over here: 51F D8
Suddenly we were out of the street and into the Big Cold Water ParTAY!!!
Octopuses boogie-woogeying everywhere.
Herds of little perch hip-hopping noses-down, nibbling the tapas on the floor.
Huge Sarcastic Fringehead bouncers guarding the velvet ropes of their private-tables and bottle-service.
Tap-dancing crabs High-two'ing us.
Barred sand bass, sitting alone in little depressions, nursing old grudges. Wallflowers!
And the nudibranchs!!!!
The Ruby Rhods of The Room!!! All-Night-Long'ing it everywhere in their skin-tight flaming sartorial splendor:
hot yellow nubby silk,
white dots on orange,
long lean black vertical stripes,
wild orange-salmon whole-body afros,
blue-edged espresso-striped mu-mu's,
Cerrata-in-The-Air dancers sliding across sea-grass high-wire installations,
Big-Bubba side-gills oozing unctuously past the little people ("call my agent, we'll do lunch...."),
Hot-purple Fed-Ex cheerleaders bouncing to a Motown beat while slurping up enterobract-pops,
acid-dropping angel-winged muppet-nudis opening their hoods to pull in "...the whole-universe-man-just-look-at-it..." while their mini-Dumbo ears wave to a different drummer.
The U-Dubya Night party at Vets is all about the Nudis!!
Everyone knows I use nitrox for extended bottom times.
On these Night-time House Parties at Vets, I relight the pipe (thank you, Ken ) as we roll down to 70 or 80fsw and just hang out until the drugs kick in and the RBT counts down.
I love it.
When the "zero" waves at our giggling grilles, we sashay responsibly up to 50fsw, laughing over our shoulders at the deco police....and then sneak back down to 60fsw until that silly two-digit number sags back down to zero and we giggle over even smaller things.
Caring very little at this point, with 1900psi still in the cans, we grudgingly lean towards the door, hovering up to 35fsw.... when we suddenly remember something very nice: It's warm up here. Super warm.
If I describe how it feels to soak in 51F and then step into the warm arms of 66F... well it wouldn't be a family show.
Now far more than half-lit on house-well Nitrogen Martinis, we stop and and make endless small talk with the little cuties on the sidewalk outside the ColdWater Dive Bar & Dance Club.
Neither one of us wants to go home, but we know we've punched our dance cards for this evening.
We'll live to party another night.
Low sand ridges are populated by ribbon-yards of Bay Pipe fish, trance-dancing in the warm water.
Barnacle-hatted crabs hunch in the shadows against Sand-Dollar lean-to's, muttering to themselves, rubbing their grizzled chins over what-this-world's-come-to.
Baby flat fish materialize freakishly from bare sand, tiddly-wink chaotically, my retinas witnessing their dematerilazation back into sand. WTH? How do they DO that?
Tiny rays, like Alice-in-Wonderland drink coasters, skitter about daring me to set my pint glass down on them.
Buddy and me are so happily looped we're giggling at seaweed debris twirling in the vortexing shallows beneath the waves.
8fsw...and a wave picks up then entire area-rug of sand under our noses...and whips it forward....making us feel like we're being sucked backwards suddenly with no ability to stop!
And we giggle some more as the sand settles and "we stop moving" right were we started.
The party's over.
Sadness as we surface....then Giggles of glee as we spit regs and start "the debrief."
Ugly waves slam the shore, colliding with backwash on the steep beach, catapulting angry white-water towards the sky.
We make big eyes at each other...and just laugh. "Ha..this oughtta be good."
I de-fin just outside the mosh pit, clipping off my fins so they'll stay with me during the impending mauling and yard-sale...
... and then we both get lifted by the same BigBoy wave and set firmly upon the sand, standing proudly like bipeds...Mary Lou Retton all the way.
"I wanted to stick both hands in the air like a perfect Olympic dismount", said a still giggling Ronnie, "but that would have been hubris."
I love diving.
"Hi. I'm Claudette and I'm a nitrogenaholic."
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."