A day in the life of James Cavanaugh - or a few

scuba diving and kite boarding

So this past weekend was great. I had planned to go diving and kite boarding, but I had not expected everything to fall into place as well as it did. So I asked some of my co-workers if they wanted to go down to Monterey and SC to hang out with some other co-workers at the beaches and what not while I was diving and kite boarding. Keenan decided to take the drive with me, so we left after work on Friday to drive down to Santa Clara. We got in around 8 and met up with Quan to get some Chinese food. It was pretty good, but not very filling. After we ate we drove over to Dan’s place where we started having a couple beers and watching TV. Met up with Murwan which I haven’t seen in a couple years, and we all went out to this club. I don’t like going to clubs, but everyone else wanted to go, so I tagged along. Drinks were expensive, cover was expensive, there were a lot of guys all over, no where to sit, can’t have a conversation with anyone cause the music is too loud, what’s not to like? We got Keenan to drink, more than I think he’s had ever, but not too far, so that was a success. Got home around 2:30, plenty of time to sleep before leaving for Monterey at 6:30 sat…Woke up around 6:30, rolled off the couch and drove to Neil’s place, JJ got there shortly after I did, we loaded up the car and went down to Monterey, me and JJ slept…George was there to keep Neil awake. We got our gear from Monterey Bay Dive Company right across the street from where we were diving – worked out great. Walked over suited up and went in…swam out about 200 meters – dropped down onto this big pipe about 30 feet down and headed along the pipe toward the Metridian fields. There was a lot of things to see along the pipe, I brought my camera down, and then it started flashing “caution depth” so I turned it off, which I didn’t think was a big deal cause Neil and George both had cameras. I saw the biggest starfish of my life – probably 2.5 feet in diameter a sun starfish was sitting on the pipe, there were a lot of tube anemones which looked cool, nice to see a black one every once in a while, but most of them were yellowish white. saw a dungeonus crab hide under the pipe and some of the big spider crabs that are really ugly. After the pipe ends we swam about 20 meters 30 degrees from north leading us to the metridian fields. On the way there over the sand I saw a bunch of things sticking out of the sand, I thought they could have been the grass eels but when I looked closer they were the legs of the brittle starfish. I touched some and they promptly pulled into the holes. The metridian fields were pretty awesome – a bunch of white plum anemones on red algae covered rocks. We were about 50 feet under and JJ taps me on the shoulder, apparently a sea bird was swimming by us, but I thought it was a fish and didn’t see it well. The others saw it and tried to get a picture of it, but wasn’t fast enough. Looking around there was a lot of hidden things, red fish that blend in perfectly with the algae, i saw a shrimp scurry off, the whitish gobies were all over the place. Some more hidden spider crabs, lots of things, I wanted to stay down longer and still had 1000 psi of air but JJ was out, so we all had to surface. Man that was weird, obviously we were surfacing slow, to avoid all sorts of problems going fast, and the visibility was probably 15-20 feet. So when I got about to about 30 feet depth, I couldn’t see the surface or the floor, and it was just a sea of blue around me. It was actually really cool, but disorienting at the same time. I soon got to the surface, and saw how far we had to swim, man that sucked going all the way back on the surface. We met up with Quan, Ann, and Keenan, who was walking by the aquarium and seeing Monterey, we got some mexican food, and our tanks refilled. On our second dive we were going along the rocky side of san carlos beach, where all the sea lions are. I was hoping to see a sea lion under water but none of them came in while we were down. We swam along the sand until we got to the rocks, not much to see there, and visibility was worse. When we got to the rocks, I saw some abalone, and a big sea cucumber, I didn’t think the sea cucumbers were as common as they ended up being and had Neil take a picture of them, after we swam a bit more there were tons of sea cucumbers and some really big ones like 3 ft. long. some had spikes on them which looked real cool too. There was a different type of starfish on the rocks, the harder kind that don’t move as fast, and I was surprised how big some of them got. We saw some more fish, and some more crabs, saw some fishing line, I wanted to tug on it, but thought I might get hooked on accident, that would suck. I saw a couple rocks that were blue, I don’t know if it was algae or sponge or what but it was pretty cool to see blue rocks. I caught a little spider crab thing that blended in really well with the rock it was on, I think George got a video of it, which would be real cool, but I haven’t seen it yet. We had 1000 lbs of pressure left, so decided to go back, surfaced about half way, and there were dolphins jumping like 20 feet from us. We couldn’t see them underwater, and I wanted to get closer, but they kept getting further away. The sea lions were all along the coast too, but they never came in. That was it for the day, packed up rinsed off, returned our gear.

When we got back, Dan and his roommates were going out, but I didn’t feel like it and neither did Keenan, so we just hung out at Dan’s and played some guitar. Sunday came, Quan was showing me the ropes for kite boarding. I was nervous about taking the kite up as last time I got dragged across the beach, but Quan handled it no problem, so I figured it would be ok. I brought it up and had pretty good control of the kite, brought it back down, and everything seemed good. Quan showed me how to body drag, and I was going up wind with the kite, slowly but surely I guess. I decided to get my board and give it a shot. I didn’t get up, instead went straight for some rocks, got a little scraped up, but no big injuries. Went to the regular launching area and got on my way. My board was a little hard to get on because the bindings kept moving up, but eventually I got them on and was ready to go. I thought it would be no problem getting out of the water, but it was a little harder than I thought. I was having the kite pull me pretty hard but wasn’t getting up, eventually I got it to pull me hard enough to get me out of the water and I was standing, got moving a little ahead of myself and lost the power from the kite, and i was back down, tried getting the kite to pull harder, and I got on the wrong side of the board, and had to fight to get the board back on, by this time I had gone down wind too far, so I had to start going toward the beach. I wrapped up my gear, and carried my kite – the hardest part of the day – all the way back to the other beach. I got everything set up again and switched out with Quan’s board so that I could get my feet in easier. I was up and going much faster this time and actually got to ride for a little while. Still couldn’t go up wind very easily and had to get out sooner than I would have liked. I thought I would go up wind on my way to the beach, but as it would have it, the wind kinda died cause of the net from the driving range, and I had to bring the kite in the water, it was drifting toward the rocks, and a guy on a jetski helped me get it out, and deflated it for me…both good and bad. I got around wrapped up my lines, and brought my kite back to the beach, by this time I was tired and was just going to watch Quan. I was going to go in again, but by the time Quan came out, it was crowded and we just decided to call it a day, and a good one at that. We ate some Boston Market, and drive back to Folsom. One of the best weekends I have had in a long time.

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