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Thread: Dove "the Palace" this weekend

  1. #1

    Dove "the Palace" this weekend

    with Lee K from MDA and the Beach Diver gang Sunday morning. This was the first time we tried to dive with the group - we love the boat dives, but they are so pricey! So the Beach Diving is a great alternative - we are getting pretty bored with the same ole shore dives and wanted to learn a new site....so it seems like a good idea to go with a group!

    we gathered at the LDS around 8am, everyone seemed cool - about 4 older guys with 100+ dives, and the rest of the group's experience ranged from OW/10dives to AOW/50 dives....hubby and I were in the middle-ish with 25 dives and advanced cert.....so we were feeling pretty good about our chances of 'keeping up' with the group of about 15 divers....

    how was I to know Lee K was crazy??? haha - The Palace is apparently what the Sheraton used to be. to enter, you gear up, then hike down from the parking lot - through several pool areas, climb through a bush and over a rail, then down like a hundred steps and finish with a nice 'clamber' over the rocks to the shoreline. whew!

    I now know (from other local experts) that I should've bailed when I saw the surfers were out - but everyone else was going in and I was trying not to be a chicken! The tide was in, so we were able to get finned fairly quickly - but the waves were crashing over our heads and the current was pushing us strongly.....Lee advised us to conserve our air and postpone the drop as long as possible, so we swam out a good ways. What a journey!

    Once we got closer to the wall, he told us to drop....and of course all was well as we swam along the wall. He may be an old guy but Lee is one fast swimmer, I must say! I really hope the newer folks were watching their depth, I know I hit 104 without really thinking about it - I didn't stay long as the vis bad and there wasn't a lot to see - so I didn't think it was worth blowing through all my air.

    There was actually better coral and a lot more fish at the top of the wall, though we did have to fight the surge quite a bit. I got pretty good at the "grab a rock and hold on until the surge pushes forward - then swim like crazy" method of progressing back towards the shore. The waves had calmed down a little so the surfers had left the area - good thing that none of us got konked by a board. Though I did kick one guy in the head....poor guy swam right up under my legs and I didn't see him! I felt bad....

    Came up a little east of the entry point, near the rocks, so I had to take off my fins and walk a little in the shallows - but I was pretty happy to do it after all that hard work in the current! It was about a 40 minute dive for me, max 104, but we spent most of our time around 50ish. Saw some great shells and a lot of new (to me) fish!

    We rested on the shore for a few minutes while Lee stayed in the water scanning for all his charges - then we headed on back up through our obstacle course (even tougher uphill, natch).....they had to wait like 15 minutes for the last guy to surface - I'd have kicked his butt for getting so far separated from the group (with no buddy), but what do I know.

    The very newbies jumped in their cars and took off pretty quickly, I don't think they had a good time - but we enjoyed chatting with everyone about all the dive sites we still need to do as we all loaded our vehicles up.

    My legs are killing me today (from the stairs??) but I'm really happy about conquering The Palace!!

    Next weekend we are doing a Boat dive to one of the Northern sites that are only open April/May: "the Tunnel".....but maybe we'll try another shore dive with the old guys as well!

  2. #2
    Sounds like an awesome time! I actually think that kickin' back after the dive with your buddies and a few beers is almost as fun as the dive itself.

    You get to talk about what you did, what you learned, and the fun you're going to have next time.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Chilly

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