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View Full Version : Kelp Diving Rocks! Well, sort of.



thecheeseman
06-23-2008, 18:22
I recently went night diving through the Cypress Sea charter in Monterey. The night dives went great, then the boat decided to put us in the middle of a kelp forest for (my first) night dive. Luckily, I was paired with my DM, so I wasn't too worried. To make a long story short, I got stuck in kelp on the way up and down. On the way down, I was simply dragged down, but held my reg in firmly. We saw all kinda of cool stuff!!! On the way up, my reg hose, bc and fins were all stuck. I was coming up the anchor line, and was ascending too fast but I couldn't grab my inflator hose because I would rocket up if I wasn't holding on to the rope!!! I managed to get into a hge pocket of kelp and began to freak out. My reg hose was stuck-but still in my mouth. I though I was going to die! I still had 500 psi ish left, so thats at least good. I looked at my computer and practically kicked myself-I was 15 feet deep, I thought I was like 50!!! I managed to get unstuck and back on the boat.

Other than that, I had a great time.

Any of you guys have kelp experiences?

lemonquist
06-23-2008, 18:33
The Catalina Dive Park has a pretty awesome kelp forest. Last time I dove there, some got tangled around my first stage. It's pretty easy to snap off if you can't unwrap it.

The worst part of it for me is on the surface. It touches my leg and I think something's swimming next to me.

thesmoothdome
06-23-2008, 18:58
Kelp forests are one of the most beautiful parts of cold water diving.

A few tips for diving in it:

1) If you feel like you're hung up, stop and drop down a few feet. Kelp rises. If you descend a few feet, you'll be free of whatever is there.

2) If you feel like it's got you by the tank valve, don't twist around. Reach up and over your shoulder and BREAK the entaglement.

3) If you're grabbed on the fin, again don't twist. Reach back and remove the offending stalk.

4. Relax.

5. Kelp canopies will be very thick on the surface. Kelp grows about 2 feet a day. Try to plan decents and ascents on the outskirts of the forest.

6. If you do end up surfacing in the middle of the canopy, DO NOT ROLL TO YOUR BACK. If you can't drop back down and head toward the boat or shoreline, it's time to break out the kelp crawl. Inflate your BC, reach out in front of you and pull yourself over the top of the canopy. Continue to reach and pull until you are free from the kelp.

ian
06-23-2008, 19:02
Diving in the kelp forest feels like flying through the redwoods.

I managed some awsome dives in the kelp this weekend on a two-day trip aboard the Magician out of San Pedro.

cmburch
06-23-2008, 19:49
99% of my dives are in kelp. The kelp is very thick now. It gets beat out during the winter storms and regains its thick dense mats during the summer months. Go to Google Earth and check out the Carmel, Sonoma, Mendocino, etc. areas to see the density of the kelp beds.

Some say there have been some freediver deaths related to being stuck in kelp and found with their weight belt still on. I have pulled out inexperienced SCUBA divers who may have had problems with their buoyancy control flopping and floundering at low tide under the surface mass. I have also had inexperienced SCUBA divers surface to swim over it or in the middle of it rather than under it when returning to shore. I have seen backswimming SCUBA divers try to swim on their backs through it.

Santa Cruz to Big Sur has schools of large blue Rockfish in the kelp now. White Sea Bass are now frequenting the kelp beds - SCUBA scares them. I can tie my kayak off in a bed of kelp and eat my lunch while watching the sea otters resting on their backs with a loop of kelp to hold them in place. Not during low tide, I can pull myself down bull kelp to 40' when freediving for abalone. It is spectacular to follow a ray of sunshine piercing the giant kelp canopy to the surface when freediving.

Check SCUBABoard NorCal section for some excellent pictures of kelp diving.

CompuDude
06-23-2008, 20:12
Kelp forests are one of the most beautiful parts of cold water diving.

A few tips for diving in it:

1) If you feel like you're hung up, stop and drop down a few feet. Kelp rises. If you descend a few feet, you'll be free of whatever is there.

2) If you feel like it's got you by the tank valve, don't twist around. Reach up and over your shoulder and BREAK the entaglement.

3) If you're grabbed on the fin, again don't twist. Reach back and remove the offending stalk.

4. Relax.

5. Kelp canopies will be very thick on the surface. Kelp grows about 2 feet a day. Try to plan decents and ascents on the outskirts of the forest.

6. If you do end up surfacing in the middle of the canopy, DO NOT ROLL TO YOUR BACK. If you can't drop back down and head toward the boat or shoreline, it's time to break out the kelp crawl. Inflate your BC, reach out in front of you and pull yourself over the top of the canopy. Continue to reach and pull until you are free from the kelp.

Good tips. :smiley20:

I LOVE diving in the kelp. So beautiful...

http://www.h2ogeek.com/2007-01-20b%20Malibu/slides/IMG_2533-crop.jpg

http://www.h2ogeek.com/2007-12-02%20Santa%20Cruz/slides/IMG_5638-crop.jpg

fisheater
06-23-2008, 21:54
LOT it!

Lots of neat creatures there and the light coming through is cathedral.

bubbletrubble
06-23-2008, 23:47
I love kelp dives!

A few more tips that might be useful:

- Bring a reliable light and "prepare" for the experience like a night dive. If the kelp is really thick, it can get quite dark!

- Identify potential snag points on your rig and fix them if possible. Somehow, my dive buddy loves to get her plastic fin buckles snagged by the kelp. Perhaps spring straps are in her future. :-)

- Have a cutting implement handy. Kelp breaks easily by hand, but it's the other stuff (fishing line) that gets caught in the kelp you'll also need to worry about.

- If the kelp is thick, you and your dive buddy may have to go single file. If you are in the lead, go slowly so that you don't ditch your dive buddy...especially if he/she gets caught ensnared in the kelp. Sometimes, if the viz is really sketchy, I'll do 2 small kicks and then look back for my buddy.

- It goes without saying. Before the dive, review your lost buddy procedure. It's pretty easy to start playing "Where's Waldo?" in the kelp forest. :-)

scubarobin
07-09-2008, 13:08
yes, kelp rocks! We are heading out (in August) to Calif for trip #4. Just call us "kelp addicts". :smiley20:
Here is my video from last year: California Kelp Diving - 2007 on Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/1032895)

compudude - those pictures are exactly why we love it! WOW!

CompuDude
07-09-2008, 13:14
yes, kelp rocks! We are heading out (in August) to Calif for trip #4. Just call us "kelp addicts". :smiley20:
Here is my video from last year: California Kelp Diving - 2007 on Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/1032895)

compudude - those pictures are exactly why we love it! WOW!

Drop me a line if you're diving SoCal, and want to meet up for a dive sometime. :)

Vegas
07-09-2008, 14:30
Oh yes!
I LOVE diving in the kelp forests....
when the sun breaks through and shines down, the sight will take your breathe away...

...One time, by Catalina, i pushed a stalk to the side, and there in the middle of the kelp bed was a beautiful little horned shark, right in front of me.... **sigh**

I have to stop now...I'm tearing up...

scubarobin
07-09-2008, 17:19
yes, kelp rocks! We are heading out (in August) to Calif for trip #4. Just call us "kelp addicts". :smiley20:
Here is my video from last year: California Kelp Diving - 2007 on Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/1032895)

compudude - those pictures are exactly why we love it! WOW!

Drop me a line if you're diving SoCal, and want to meet up for a dive sometime. :)

we will be on the Great Escape Aug 2nd and 3rd. :smiley20:

mm2002
07-09-2008, 19:01
yes, kelp rocks! We are heading out (in August) to Calif for trip #4. Just call us "kelp addicts". :smiley20:
Here is my video from last year: California Kelp Diving - 2007 on Vimeo (http://www.vimeo.com/1032895)

compudude - those pictures are exactly why we love it! WOW!

I love your vids Robin! Especially the Squid in Bonaire! Nice work!
oh yeah, and to stay on topic....I haven't dove in Kelp yet.

thecheeseman
07-11-2008, 22:05
Kelp forests are one of the most beautiful parts of cold water diving.

A few tips for diving in it:

1) If you feel like you're hung up, stop and drop down a few feet. Kelp rises. If you descend a few feet, you'll be free of whatever is there.

2) If you feel like it's got you by the tank valve, don't twist around. Reach up and over your shoulder and BREAK the entaglement.

3) If you're grabbed on the fin, again don't twist. Reach back and remove the offending stalk.

4. Relax.

5. Kelp canopies will be very thick on the surface. Kelp grows about 2 feet a day. Try to plan decents and ascents on the outskirts of the forest.

6. If you do end up surfacing in the middle of the canopy, DO NOT ROLL TO YOUR BACK. If you can't drop back down and head toward the boat or shoreline, it's time to break out the kelp crawl. Inflate your BC, reach out in front of you and pull yourself over the top of the canopy. Continue to reach and pull until you are free from the kelp.

thanks a bunch!!!! wish i knew this before.

navyhmc
07-12-2008, 00:34
I've done a few and have enjoyed them greatly. smoothdomes suggestions are spot on. The biggest is relax. Going in and out underwater/15'-20' down minimum is indeed good planning.

Laustimus
07-17-2008, 15:30
Now that I got my new to me (used for 5 dives) DUI CF200X I'm ready to go try some Kelp dives.

Wife and I are trying to decide where in Cali to go, she would like to check out Monterey. Lookin at the Catalina vids looks cool to me though too. Decisions decisions... ;)

navyhmc
07-17-2008, 17:05
Make a long weekend of it. Start in Monterey, take a day trip to Catalina and then have a few dives at LaJolla cove. That is a winner of a weekend!

scubarobin
07-20-2008, 18:40
Now that I got my new to me (used for 5 dives) DUI CF200X I'm ready to go try some Kelp dives.

Wife and I are trying to decide where in Cali to go, she would like to check out Monterey. Lookin at the Catalina vids looks cool to me though too. Decisions decisions... ;)

for your first time to California, be sure to consider time of year and water temps. From Aug-Oct water is the warmest. Also, Monterrey is going to be much colder water than Catalina. Boat dives out of LA to Catalina might be a great first-time California experience for you both. Check out California Scuba Diving BBS forum, news, photos, videos, dive boats, stories, and weather (http://www.diver.net) for info on Calif dive boats. :smiley20:

MelissaExplainsItAll
07-20-2008, 18:52
I would love to do a kelp dive. Kelp Forests aren't very abundent in New England. Being a Marine Science Major.. One of my goals in life to do a kelp dive.

mm2002
07-20-2008, 19:14
I would love to do a kelp dive. Kelp Forests aren't very abundent in New England. Being a Marine Science Major.. One of my goals in life to do a kelp dive.

I can relate with that. I have'nt found any Kelp down here either.

scubarobin
07-21-2008, 09:06
I would love to do a kelp dive. Kelp Forests aren't very abundent in New England. Being a Marine Science Major.. One of my goals in life to do a kelp dive.

you MUST do it. Make plans to go to Catalina and shore dive, or do some boat dives out of LA. It is really amazing.

I must tell you a story.... when we got certified back in CO in 2000, there was a photo on the wall in the classroom. It had the kelp forest with a group of garibaldis. I was fascinated by the pic and asked my instructor "where is that? I want to dive there!" His reply is "ooh, that's California, you don't want to go there! That is cold water!! Yuck!" Well, I didn't go there...for 3 years, but I kept seeing photos of the kelp forrest, the amazing critters and fish, and one day I made up my mind I would do it. I LOVED it. Now it is one of my favorite dive destinations anywhere in the world.
It is closeby, you don't need a passport, the diving is cheap, and you have no reason not to do it!! It is colder water than the Caribbean, it is darker water, it has lower vis, you have to wear heavier wetsuit and weights... but it is worth it!!! Go!

robin:smiley20:

thecheeseman
07-27-2008, 17:16
wow those are amazing videos!!! yeah, the kelp is just simply amazing especially because so much life is hidden inside.

cmburch
08-13-2008, 11:14
I am posting in multiple forums so it does not get lost
The death on Saturday at Stillwater Cove, Sonoma, California of Craig Alan Belluomini made me think about safety when freediving in Kelp.

It seems that his leg knife/sheath became entangled in Kelp and he drowned a few feet from the surface.

Link to rescuers post:
Diver drowns, kelp seen as culprit... - ScubaBoard - Scuba Diving Forums and Social Network (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/norcal/247698-diver-drowns-kelp-seen-culprit.html)

Link to Freediving in Kelp Safety
Free Diving in Kelp (http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=22351)