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Old 08-15-2008, 07:50 PM   #31
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

Originally Posted by zenspearo View Post
What kind of kelp also matters.

The regular stuff and the bull kelp--no biggie.

That feather boa stuff is more grabby. I either stay away or am extra alert when around them.

I agree.

Like Travis, I tend to bite first and reach for the knife as a last ditch. You need two hands to cut kelp with the riffe knife, as it's too flexible unless you get some tension on it or the serration catches and starts the cut through. A bite is much faster, uses less energy, and requires no hands so you can focus on spreading the stuff out of the way or ditching your weightbelt, etc.

That said, I've found feather boa kelp harder to bite through than regular giant kelp and bull kelp. Maybe because it is more flexible like a belt and a little more solid too. Can only really bite one strand at a time.

That said, it still sucks that anyone has to die while diving. Seems like ab diving is by far the most dangerous diving around as far as fatalities per year is concerned.
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:14 PM   #32
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Quote MikeGuerrero SCUBABoard

Hey All,

This Saturday my dive buddy and I went up to Sonoma county to Abalone dive. We made it to Still Water cove and we were about to enter the water when one of the Abalone divers made a suggestion.

He said, "if I were you, I'd remove both those knives from your legs, you won't need them", we listened and placed both knives in my dive buddy float.

We made it to a section of the cove that had an opening of clear water, but man was this area full of heavy bulky kelp, kelp I've never seen in Monterey.

As we were looking for Abalone, we came across two other experienced ab divers that guided us more. They had us place the lanyards of our ab tools only on our hands and not on our wrists.

There is an inherit risk of trapping yourself with your tool while the lanyard clasps on your wrist while in a panic mode.

After listening, I dove down to 15 feet and spotted my Ab and re-surfaced and went right back down and got my ab. I was so excited.

My buddy kept trying but he had a hard time with his breath holds and the deeper water, he did manage to pull out a smaller one from the crevice but within the guidelines of size.

After vomiting 4 times on the float, man it was horrible watching all the kelp move up and down and that float didn't help, I felt better and dove for my second ab.

I was beat and couldn't dive any more and I told him we are at risk if we stay, upon hearing my concern my dive buddy said lets go back.

After resting for about 30 minutes we wanted to go back in to catch our fill of abs when at the shore in about 4 feet of water we start to hear a high pitch scream every 8 seconds, "please someone help,,,".

The scream continues and continues and we look at each other and think this is it something wrong. Without a second to waste my dive buddy launches his float and heads out to the screaming voice.

As he approaches a women diver is yelling please get him out he's under here, where is he?, yells back my buddy. Right here and she points, he moves the kelp aside and there he floating like a scare crow with his hands touching the surface.

He tugs and tugs and cannot get him loose, he then reaches into the float and pulls out my dive knife and looses it in the panic and reaches back in and gets the other knife.

He doesn't have the energy to dive down to cut the kelp so another diver reaches the area and is given the knife and he cuts him lose.

They perform mouth to mouth at the spot with no signs and they float him back to the shore and CPR is done.

The guy is foaming at the mouth and is lifeless, while his partner is just crying and crying.

There was an EMT off duty on the shore and within 9 more minutes the Coast Guard showed up in a helicopter; but it was to late, he had been in the water for at least 10 minutes.

It was assumed that when he came up on that last run with less than reserve air, his left leg because he was wearing a knife got caught on some kelp and kept him just 2 feet from the surface.

He tried to pull out his knife that was on his left inner leg. When he was pulled to shore the knife was gone but the holster was still on his leg. It was sad to see that holster without his knife, he must of tried to free himself and was out of air.

His weight belt was also not on him so he might of ditched that, his mask was not on his face when my dive buddy tried to free him.

My dive buddy was very sad that he couldn't have done more but the coast guard said he did a great job for valor, diving to the sight and trying to assit. The coast guard said they most time take up to 3 days before they find a body in the kelp. So he brought the body back to shore and gave closure to the family.

No one else jumped in to assist until my buddy reached the sight and assisted. All I can say is I learned so much from my first free dive.

I will dive again but under stricter guidlines; my concern is all the new divers that will venture into areas that are new and have zero experience, please be careful and never push your limits.

I finally learned from diving abs how much I pushed my body to stay under water to get that extra ab, I will difinitely not listen to that voice again.

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Old 08-16-2008, 02:53 AM   #33
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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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Old 08-16-2008, 04:56 AM   #34
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Re: Abalone death at stillwater cove

cmburch thanks for posting this sad story.

With the kelp as thick as it is up north now diving in the kelp at low tide is not a good idea. It is much safer and easer to dive at high tide. You may have to dive a couple of feet deeper but you do not have to deal with as thick of a mass of kelp on the surface.
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