A couple of days ago I was talking to a couple of my diving buddies at a local club meeting, and they were excitedly telling me about their upcoming trips to tropical destinations. As often seems to happen in discussions of that nature the gathering crowd began to explain to each other how easy it is to dive in warm water as opposed to what they make sound like the near-freezing water we have in California.
I listened for quite a while, and then I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. I took my turn in the conversation by lamenting, with just a tad bit of sarcasm, that I was so envious of them as they will be leaving poor me here at home with everything from kelp forests and reef communities filled with fascinating creatures that range from several hundred species of nudibranchs to sea lions, dolphins, sharks and whales. And to increase my misfortune, there are enough kinds of bony fishes and invertebrates to keep many divers occupied for a lifetime or two. And squid runs. And the gray whale migration that is part of the annual wintertime scene here.
Poor me. Poor us.
Just consider the fact that when we stay home and dive in our local waters we miss out on some of the joys of travel like delayed flights, long TSA lines, lost luggage, airport food, airport food prices, cramped airplane seats and crying babies on airplanes. I suppose you get my drift.
The fact is, I’ll gladly put up with a host of travel inconveniences in order to reach a variety of diving destinations all over the world. But I am not going to allow the pleasures of diving elsewhere in the world detract from, or worse yet, eliminate the significant pleasure I receive when I dive right here in my own backyard. There is so much great diving right here at home — there’s no way I’m going to skip it altogether.
Quite often when I speak up for California diving the first thing I hear as a retort to my pro-California diving position is that our water is so cold. And my retort to that is, it is just like your mother said when you were a kid on your way out the door during wintertime, “Take a jacket.” In essence, “Dress for the weather.” Today, with advances in wet suit and dry suit technology, we’ve got lots of exposure protection options‚ plenty enough to keep us warm while we have lots of fun enjoying diving in cooler water temperatures.
So, go ahead and travel and dive the world. But just remember when you return home to California, we’ve got one of the world’s truly magnificent diving destinations right here.