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Location: Anacapalacie marshal

The water has cooled off from a few weeks ago and is now back to normal (for this time of year) levels at 66-68 degrees. Visibility ranged from 60 feet early in the day to 30 feet in the afternoon. A few playful sea lions greeted us when we dropped in for our first dive. The sea life on Anacapa is always spectacular, with outrageously sized Sheepshead and Garibaldi in every direction. 

Views: 1550
Posting: 11-13-2014
Tags: eco dive center, lacie, scuba

Anyone who has hiked up and down the stairs at Veteran’s Park only to battle seven foot waves can tell you that scuba is hard work. Our first speaker, Gretchen M. Aston, is the founder and developer of the ScubaFit program that’s specifically designed to get divers into top form in and out of the water. Gretchen has a long list of dive credentials and is a supremely accomplished athlete. She is the second female to be inducted into the AAU Powerlifting Hall of Fame, and will put your lifts to shame. Fit-geeks can’t miss this one.

Claudette of Reef Check Catalina will be in to tell us about the survey program that Reef Check runs here in Southern California. Reef Check is a volunteer based organization that surveys our marine environment and makes the data publicly available online. As you may know, our kelp forests are under constant threat from rising sea temperatures and exploding urchin populations. Organizations like Reef Check keep a keen eye on the health of our oceans. Reef Check is always looking for volunteer divers to add to their ranks, so those who are interested in helping preserve our aquatic environment have one more way to contribute.

Speaker #1 ScubaFit: Gretchen M. Ashton, CFT, SFT, SFN, NBFE , is registered with the National Board of Fitness Examiners, is an International Sports Sciences Association Elite Trainer; personal trainer, specialist in fitness therapy, specialist in fitness nutrition, and a world champion athlete. Gretchen is founder of ScubaFit LLC, developed the Comprehensive FitDiver ® program, is an advanced scuba diver, nitrox diver, and co-author of the ScubaFit ®  Diver Course. She is an Expert Speaker for Los Angeles County Scuba Advanced Diver Program and Underwater Instructor Certification Course. Gretchen is Fitness Editor and/or contributor for California Diver Magazine, World's Best Dives, DiverWire, X-Ray Mag, and Scuba Sport Magazine, has been published in Alert Diver United States and Asia-Pacific, at, is an author at ScubaBoard, and a Scuba Fitness Examiner at Gretchen has appeared on Scuba Radio, Dive Zone Radio, presented at Scuba Shows, has been a guest at dive medicine conferences, was featured in the President’s Council of Physical Fitness and Sports newsletter for inspiring and innovative accomplishments in fitness, and in the Margaritaville Key West website culinary column. As an athlete she set 21 World and Americans records and is the second woman inducted into the AAU Power Lifting Hall of Fame.

Speaker #2 Claudette of ReefCheck -  Reef Check California aims to build a network of informed and involved citizens who support the sustainable use and conservation of our nearshore marine resources. To accomplish this, volunteers are trained to carry out surveys of nearshore reefs providing data on the status of key indicator species. All of Reef Check California's data is publicly available through our Nearshore Ecosystem Database (NED), where you can explore the data graphically to learn about the status of your local dive spots.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CA DFW) also uses this data for assessment of California's coastal network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  Come learn more about getting involved in the program and meet one of our citizen scientists

Views: 1342
Posting: 11-03-2014
Tags: eco dive, la, los angeles, news, scuba, scubashop, shindig

El Niño, Global Warming & Diving-
 El Niño doesn't occupy the Californian mind as much as something like the Santa Ana winds, but El Niño is just as much a part of the California weather experience. El Nino brings heavy rain and warm waters to our coast, which has a variety of effects on our marine ecology- especially our sensitive kelp forests.

El Niño is a part of the pressure cycles that govern air flow in the Pacific Ocean. During normal conditions, Equatorial winds gather warm water pool toward the west. Cold water upwells along South American coast. During El Niño, surface water warming is prolonged, reducing cold water upwelling. This disrupts the normal flow of air and water, hence the unusual weather phenomena.

The strongest El Niño events was back in 1998,  which caused an estimated 45 billion dollars in damage and 23,000 deaths worldwide. Like the Northridge earthquake, that year was burned into the collective Californian memory. I was only 10 at the time but I distinctly remember the flooded backyards and rain coming down like I'd never seen before. Scientists fear that with climate change warming the surface sea temperatures (SST), conditions will be ripe for El Niños to develop. Super El Niño events like the one in 1998 will not only become more frequent, but more intense as well.  

Those saying that the mild El Niño we are experiencing now is a welcome relief in our extended drought, it is unclear if it will bring enough water to offset the years of depletion our water system has sustained. This winter's El Niño is expected to be less intense than in previous years, but California residents should be prepared for future El Niños with much stronger effects. Last bit of trivia: the name El Niño (The boy in Spanish) refers to Jesus Christ, because El Niño effects were often noticed in South America during Christmas time.

But Warm Water is great! Right?- The extra warm water has been a nice treat for those of us used to the brisk conditions out here in California, but the extended summer temperatures do come at a price. Bull Kelp and Giant Kelp, the native species to our waters, depend on the dense nutrients of cold water to maintain their growth rate of 10-12 inches a day. Warm water not only holds fewer nutrients but also causes a reduction of photosynthesis and consequently, reduced canopy blades. El Niño has been bringing more warm water into our coastline, threatening our kelp forests. Along with over-harvesting and urchin grazing, our kelp forests are at risk. If you would like to help, organizations like LA Water Keeper run kelp forest conservation efforts that are volunteer supported.


Atomic Aquatics SplitFins
Atomic Aquatics SplitFins

Atomic Split Fin Trade In Program-
If you've been eyeing a pair of Atomic Split
Fins, you're in luck. Trade in your old fins towards store credit for a pair of Atomic Aquatics split fins.. Split Fins are designed to be more hydrodynamic, which means less drag and more propulsion, reducing diver fatigue. These fins come in a variety of handsome colors and can really complete that sexy alien mermaid look you've been going for. Without fins, divers would be more or less dead in the water; a good set of fins is an essential piece of kit. This a great time to upgrade your old fins, so bring them over and move up in life!


Marine Protected Areas- The concept of a Marine Protected Area may seem obvious considering our country's many national parks, but they have only actually existed since 1999. With the passage of the Marine Life Protection Act (thanks to Tom Ford), California was split up into five regions that would set up protected marine parks. Now there are over 120 such protected areas up and down the coast where commonly hunted fish can reach reproductive maturity. Fish like the kelp bass, which is very popular with sport fishers, are ten times more common within reserves. These safe havens help reseed other unprotected areas, and scientists have seen an encouraging recovery in fish populations. Fish lovers and fish eaters alike can rejoice, because we have more of them to look at and they have more of them to eat. Everyone is happy!


Princeton Tec Dive Lights- I originally bought my dive lamp to use on a night dive, but since then I take my lamp with me anytime I'm diving. In California visibility can be unpredictable, and often times things get a lot more interesting at depths where sunlight isn't great. Bringing a dive light down to 60 feet brings back all the vibrant color that is lost at that depth, and just makes my dive that much more enjoyable. We stock some of Princeton Tec's excellent dive lamps from small back ups like the Genesis to primary lamps like the 700 lumen Sector 7. SHine these lights to a bit of rock at depth and watch it erupt in life and color. Trust me, once you dive somewhere like Seven Fathom Reef or Farnsworth Pinnacle with a light, you'll never go without one again.


Night Dive Specialty with Lobster & Shrimp Hunts-  Sure, diving into the blackness of night has its spooky factor, but at night is when many nocturnal animals are up and about, like octopi, squids, sarcastic fringeheads, and a variety of more bizarre animals that are hiding during day time hours. It's a very otherworldly vibe. I pretend I'm in outer space, exploring an alien landscape.

Now that it's October, lobster season is in! My Facebook feed is flooded with pictures of my dive friends feasting on lobster they caught on their night dives, and you can do the same. Our night dive speciality will get you familiar with lobster hunting techniques and regulations. If your class is up for it, you can get together and share recipes and pig out on lobster you caught yourself. Nothing tastes better than your own catch. Just a tip from us: the bigger the lobster, the less tasty he is; go for the little ones.

Classes are $199, which includes three dives with your instructor, rentals, and all PADI materials. email


Worst Shark Weak EVER- Shark weak sounds like a pretty good idea, right? A week dedicated to educating the public about one of nature's coolest and most tragic figures. It's a chance to redeem a creature much maligned by pop culture, right? That TV Channel says, "NOPE! We are gonna run stupid-ass shows with names like Alien Sharks, Zombie Sharks, Sharkageddon, Great White Serial Killer and Sharkpocalypse because they get good ratings. Science can suck it!" Not only does this sort of programming perpetuate falsehoods about shark behavior, but is even driving up public demand for shark meat! Television suffers from a dearth of strong scientific communicators, and it's a shame that what used to be an earnest series of science and discovery has devolved into a stonery B-movie flurry of misinformation. Sharks and people alike are worse off for Shark Weak.


Spooky Dive Shindig October 7th 7pm-  Most of the time, scuba diving is just a Finding Nemo-esque paradise of friendly sea creatures and colorful corals. Every once in a while, however, scuba gets real scary. Tales of hungry animals, explosive decompression, and a visit from the LA county deputy coroner will set off our spooky Halloween themed Dive Shindig this coming October 7th at 7pm.

There will be a Casa Andreas tamale bar & Togo's sandwich's from 6:45 to 7:20 and our usual raffle. Prizes this time around will be an excellent boat ticket to Catalina, a first aid kit, and a Pool Discovery Diver course for a friend.

Our first speaker will be Scott of Bluewater Travel. Scott began experimenting with cameras later in life, falling in love with underwater and wildlife photography. He travels often to remote destinations, specializing in adventure expeditions where he can be close with the natural world. Ask him about his gnarliest underwater experiences!

Captain John Kades has been the deputy coroner of the LA County Coroner's Office for the past 12 years. As a part of the Special Operations Response Team, he specializes disaster operations, aircraft fatalities, drowning/SCUBA cases, and skeletal/buried body cases. Kades is an expert when it comes to scuba diving that goes wrong, and more importantly he can teach us how not to end up like his subjects.


Free Octo with Regulator Purchase- Buy a new regulator in October and we will throw in a free Oceanic Delta 4.1 2nd Stage Octopus. Simple as that! Your dive buddy will be super stoked about having a new octo to chill on if he ever runs out of air, which I'm sure you could use to leverage a beer of two out of him.


 The Sherwood Amphos is a more than capable entry-level dive computer for the recreational diver. It supports air and free diving, and its nitrox setting accommodates multiple FO2 mixes- perfect for aspiring tech divers. As many vets will tell newer divers that a computer is a crucial piece of safety equipment. Having a computer help keep track of air usage and managing safe ascents has certainly kept me out of trouble. If you buy an Amphos during the month of October, we'll include a free transmitter, a value of $480 and we'll pay your sales tax on the wrist unit too..


Pre-order a Drysuit- Summer may be over and water will be getting cold again, but there's no reason to stop diving when we stock such great drysuits. Much of eco's staff dive year round, and drysuits make that third or fourth dive of the day feel so much more comfortable than diving wet. As you may be aware, purchasing a drysuit includes the PADI drysuit specialty class, which also goes towards your master scuba diver card. Winter diving has some of the best visibility(50-80 feet), and drysuits totally make you look like an astronaut(sick!). Come into the shop and we can help you order the suit that is right for you.


Red Sea Dive Trip July 25th to August 1st- Our trip to the Philippines may be sold out, but do not despair; we've got another far flung luxury live aboard trip lined up with Eco Instructor Lacie Marshall! The Red Sea is the bit of ocean between Africa and Arabian Peninsula. You may be imagining vast deserts and camels, but the warm water temperature makes for a tropical style dive experience. Think short wetsuits and vibrant coral reefs. Highlights include the massive Daedalus reef, Anenome city, and wrecks like the Thistlegorm, which was discovered by none other than Jacques Cousteau. Divers will be living aboard the Red Sea Aggressor, a very cushy luxury yacht with all meals included. Oh yeah, did I mention beer and wine is all included as well? Beds start at 1899. Airfare is not included. Contact for more information or visit here.

Views: 1900
Posting: 10-28-2014
Tags: california, el nino, la, los angeles, malibu diving, news, scuba


IT’S HOT OUT THERE PEOPLE! Some people complain about our cold waters but when the temps hit triple digits everyone is running for the water in the thinnest wetsuit they can find.  No gloves, no hood no problem.  I hit up Vet’s Park in Redondo for an afternoon dive.  Who says you always have to go at the crack of dawn?  Crazies. We walked by all the people baking on the beach – they don’t know what their missing. The water was a little choppy on the surface but as soon as we got down it was nice, calm, and clear. I was in my 5mm and I was still hot.  The water temp was 73 degrees until we hit 45 feet or so and then it dropped to the high 60s – thermoclines are so refreshing sometimes.  [Tip: Thermoclines can be used to aid in natural navigation.  Also, for you wildlife lovers out there, pay attention to the fish that are on either side of the thermocline. Watch their behavior.  Do some fish avoid it?]
We went down the slope to 60 feet and then took our time getting back.  On the way back we saw a couple shovelnose guitarfish and a ton of sarcastic fringeheads (one of my personal favs.) Vets park is a sandy bottom dive site.  You have to really look to find some of the coolest creatures because they are so good at camouflaging themselves.  Go slow and be aware.  You can see tons of fish if you are just patient enough to look.  There are octos and a wide array of flat fish including thornback rays and big halibut.  Use the lines in the sand and the slope to navigate and you will not even need to look at your compass.  Make sure you do a night dive there as well – it is a whole different experience.  Most of us go on Wednesday nights. 

Onward and downward


Views: 1289
Posting: 09-20-2014
Tags: beach divin, scuba, veterans park
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