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Old 08-10-2008, 06:15 PM   #1
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Abalone death at stillwater cove

I was just checking salt point dive conditions & saw that an abalone diver drowned yesterday in the kelp, anyone have any specifics. It just said that he tangled up his knife in the kelp wich was attached to his calf.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Here is the story condolences to his family.

Abalone diver drowns in Sonoma County

By MIKE McCOY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT


Published: Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 6:49 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 7:02 p.m.
A 54-year-old man diving for abalone near Stillwater Cove off the Sonoma County coast died Saturday, the victim of an apparent drowning.


Witnesses on shore reported seeing the man struggling after apparently getting entangled in kelp, sheriff’s deputies said.

Other divers in the area swam to the victim, who deputies say may have been under water for as long as 10 minutes, and pulled him to shore, where they began CPR.

Rescue personnel from Timber Cove fire, state parks and the Sonoma County sheriff’s helicopter arrived and took over resuscitation efforts, but the victim was declared dead at 12:40 p.m.

Sheriff’s personnel declined to identify the victim pending notification of next of kin.

The drowning was the fifth abalone-related death this year on the North Coast. Last year, seven people died.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

To the families of the decease abalone diver, I send my condolence to the familes of the diver who died in the North Coast water. May he rest in peace..... Farewell. Remember everyone who dives in these water, risks of entanglement is enormous and high risk. Be careful out there....

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Old 08-10-2008, 10:07 PM   #4
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Sorry to hear this news. A knife can and often will save you from getting tangled in the kelp, allowing you to cut yourself loose. Snagging and hanging up on the knife in the scabbard is another matter entirely.

I always wear my knife on the inside of my calf since it tends not to grab kelp as I swim through the stuff. Wearing it on the outside of the leg almost guarantees you'll snag up. It would be interesting to hear how this diver got his knife hung up. There is a ton of kelp out there this year. Be safe and look out for your buddy! Don't dive alone if possible.

My condolences and prayers to the family...


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Old 08-10-2008, 11:00 PM   #5
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

A 54 year old solo diver might have had other issues going on than kelp. Many ab divers die from natural causes. RIP either way and always have a buddy.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:10 PM   #6
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Most ab divers are over-weighted, add heavy kelp and a little surge and you have a recipe for disaster.
My condolences to the family.
It’s sad but these deaths are avoidable.
Always drop your weight belt at the first signs of trouble.
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Old 08-10-2008, 11:49 PM   #7
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tino Bernazzani View Post
Most ab divers are over-weighted, add heavy kelp and a little surge and you have a recipe for disaster.
My condolences to the family.
Itís sad but these deaths are avoidable.
Always drop your weight belt at the first signs of trouble.
its soo important but usually you dont think about droping your weight belt till its about too late
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:05 PM   #8
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_w View Post
its soo important but usually you dont think about droping your weight belt till its about too late
Very true. There have been a lot of recoveries on guys still wearing their belts. Dropping those suckers while wearing North Coast rubber will make you ascend like a Polaris missile. In a panic situation though, that's often not even considered.

Just the same, it could have been a heart issue or any number of other ailments as mentioned previously. I just hope that the family is well taken care of in this difficult time.


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Old 08-11-2008, 09:05 PM   #9
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Well here is a name to go with the story.

The Sonoma County coroner's office has identified a San Bruno man as the diver who died Saturday after becoming entangled in thick kelp along the Sonoma County coast.

Craig Alan Belluomini, 54, was apparently diving for abalone in Stillwater Cove when he became trapped in the kelp around noon, the sheriff's department reported.

Witnesses said the man was seen struggling, and other divers pulled him to the shore to begin CPR, according to the sheriff's department.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:06 PM   #10
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

When I first started freediving I carried my knife on my leg and used my open heeled scuba fins. I lost two knives that were pulled off my leg after getting tangled in kelp, and constantly had kelp pulling at my fin buckles. I eventually moved my knife to my forearm and bought closed heeled freedive fins. I know everything's a trade off, but these two changes sure cut down on kelp snags.
My condolences to the family.
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:04 AM   #11
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

My condolences to the family.

I absolutely recommend custom knife pockets sewn into suits. There are many small equipment and diving practices that work in terms of safety and success. I have custom knife pockets sewn off-center in the chest area of my freedive suit and leg of my scuba wetsuits. I feel less than 100% wearing anything else. The knifes do not get hung-up and are available to reach with either hand. I also have a pocket sewn in for an emergency float, signal float, or gun/popper float. All the pockets are low profile enough to not get caught up on kelp and if you need to drop your belt you will still have the knife and float. Thanks to all the people and helpful advice available here on spearboard. Take care.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:28 AM   #12
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

The kelp is really bad this year on the North Coast. Its the thickest anyone has ever seen it. The bottom is covered with eel grass and a type of kelp so thick that you can not see the rocks or bottom until it get about 20 to 25' deep. At about 30' the kelp starts to thin out. The bull kelp is so thick that its like diving in a jungle. I have see thick kelp is areas that have never had kelp before. I have three regualr spots that i can not even get in the water, because its covered with kelp.

Everyone thinking of coming ab diving be very very careful, this is the most dangerous conditions i have ever seen.
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Old 08-12-2008, 11:32 AM   #13
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Yikes, always sad to hear. I also switched my knife to my arm rather than leg as it has a tendency to tangle up there. Never had a problem on my arm.

The thick kelp is indeed tough, but the good news is it is easy to see from the surface. I'm far from being an expert, but I've found that the pockets in between thick kelp areas are very fruitful and as a bonus it is more cover.

I think the trick is to get a good look from the surface at where the kelp is before you go down and head back up long before you need to.
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Old 08-12-2008, 03:20 PM   #14
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

what time of the year does the kelp thin out?
The ab season has 3.5 months left. Is Aug the peak of kelp mass?
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:53 AM   #15
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

This is such a sad thread to read - but I am very glad that I did read it, as I really like some of the tips offered here - namely, this low profile pocket idea and the biting of kelp. Thank you for sharing!
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