THIS WEEK (Jan. 26 - Feb. 2) AT REEF SEEKERS DIVE
• • •
REEF SEEKERS REPAIR DEPARTMENT
• • •
Right place, wrong time or vice-versa, depending on your POV . . .
VINDICATED!!! - I have spoken often about the challenges of trying to decide when to cancel a trip and we were faced with such a challenge (again) this past Saturday. We were scheduled to go to the Oil Rigs on Asante and the National Weather Service was also predicting a large swell (but long period) coupled with high winds out of the NE, either of which could put a damper on our trip and in combination could really make things gnarly. I talked with Captain Gary Jackson on Wednesday about the prospects and we agreed to keep an eye on things and chat Friday. Things still looked the same on Friday evening and the biggest complication was that nothing was supposed to start kicking in until well after Midnight Friday night. And that certainly complicates things because you'd like not to cancel if you can go. So we decided that we'd chat at 5AM Saturday morning and if the wind had picked up, would cancel and try to spare people the drive to San Pedro. I also sent out an e-mail to everyone on the trip Friday night bringing them up to speed. My alarm went off at 4:50AM Saturday and I could hear some of my windows rattling from small gusts. I had just sat down at my computer to check some real-time swell and wind readings before I called Gary when my phone rang. It was Gary calling me telling me it was breezy enough in San Pedro that he didn't think it would be a good day and we should cancel. I agreed and then called each person on our trip to advise them to go back to bed. Of course, when I finally got up around 10AM, it was a GORGEOUS day but still a little breezy. However, I knew there were two other boats in the same predicament as we were and was curious to discover what had happened with them. Turns out one of them decided to give it a go, made it almost all the way out to the rigs before it turned to crap. Their captain told me it was windy (whitecaps), choppy, and the water didn't look good so they turned around and went back to port. Another boat did the Olympic first, blew off the rigs due to conditions, and I'm not sure if they simply went back into port or tried something else. Yet boat made it over to Catalina but couldn't find anywhere decent to dive and came back home. And one more boat went over to Catalina and decided to dive but the best they could find was 10-15 foot viz at the few places that were diveable. On top of that, the swell was apparently banging right into the Avalon Underwater Park making the stairs unsafe to use so there were complications there as well. So we certainly were relieved to find that we not only had made the right decision but had made it early in the game. (Because there have been plenty of times we've canceled when it turns out we could have gone.) Whew!!! And because this storm moved through quickly, Sunday was also gorgeous and quite diveable and many boats made it over to Catalina. It's all in the timing.
SQUID THIS WEDNESDAY - We've got our first Squid Dive of 2015 planned for this Wednesday but it looks like some things have changed in the last week. Although there were squid eggs everywhere a few weeks ago, it now appears that many of those egg sacs are either gone or have withered away into nothing. Now this doesn't mean that a new batch of horny squid may not show up tomorrow night and get the party started again but things aren't looking as rosy this week as they were a few weeks ago. But we've still got this on the books and if you're interested in joining us, make sure you give us a call at 310/652-4990 to get signed up. This is still a freebie but I need to know if anyone's interested before I make the drive on down to Vets.
PLEASE USE OUR NEW PO BOX NUMBER - At the end of the year, because they're consolidating things, the Beverly Hills Post Office change our box number from 11634 to 634. I actually applauded this move because I think a 3-digit number is easier for folks to remember than a 5-digit one. But what a nightmare this has been. The short version of this is that while anything sent directly to the new box number comes through fine, mail sent to the old box number is apparently not getting forwarded. In fact, I sent eight "test" letters mailed from various places to the old box to see how long they took to get forwarded. In the SIX WEEKS since I sent those, I've gotten exactly TWO of the letters forwarded to the new box. This has become a nightmare for us because we know some of you have sent checks for trips and they simply haven't arrived. What should be happening is that the mail should arrive at the BHPO with the old box number, it then should get sent downtown to Central Forwarding, it then should be tagged to the new box number and sent back to BHPO, and then arrive in the new box. So it shouldn't add more than a few days to the process. I have no idea what's going on and I've talked to a few people I know at the BHPO. I'm to talk to a Postal Inspector tomorrow but the simplest way to alleviate all of this is that if you're sending anything to us, please use Box 634 and not the old number.
CONFIRMING ISLA MUJERES AND WHALES SHARKS - Well, I suppose I can't claim to be confirming the Whale Sharks at this point, but I am in the process of firming up the Isla Mujeres dates (August 15-22) with the vendors I use down there. I hope to have all that done early this week. We're also getting a lot of interest in this trip with about eight people already telling me of their intentions of going. Since I need to cap this around 14 divers, if this is something of interest to you, make sure I know of your interest so that when I get things firmed up I can not only have you on my list but we can also jump on plane tickets and the like. We fly into Cancun and there are numerous options for that so the goal is to have everyone arrive to roughly the same time and then travel as one big group to Isla (which requires a van, a boat, and a taxi). But it's a great trip, it offers a variety of diving (Whale Sharks, cenotes, wreck dives, and reef dives) and it's a lot of fun. Plus there are an amazing number of good restaurants on the island so we eat well as well as dive well. Make sure you're on my list if this is of interest to you.
BONAIRE & INDO TOO - I'm also firming up the dates for both Bonaire and Indonesia this week so the same general advice applies: If you're interested, make sure I know about it.
PRESSED STEEL TANKS - There's an e-mail going around dealing with Pressed Steel tanks that's causing some confusion, at least in my mind. We sold a bunch of these in our later years. They are the small silver high-pressure 80 & 100s that fill to 3442psi. Pressed Steel went out of business a few years ago. They were making these tanks under a Special Permit (SP9791) from the Department of Transportation (DOT). The permit was last renewed in 2011 and expires either on January 31, 20015, or February 28, 2015, according to two different pages on the DOT PHMSA (Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) webpage. Now it certainly makes sense to me that if the permit expires, no new tanks of this sort can be made until someone applies to have the permit renewed so they can resume manufacturing (which won't happen). The part that doesn't make sense to me is that the e-mail also claims that once the permit expires, EXISTING SP9791 tanks cannot by hydroed and must be removed from service. So the e-mail suggests you get your SP9791 tanks hydroed before the end of next week or they're no good. Since the tanks already exist and were manufactured under a permitted process, it doesn't make sense to me that they'll suddenly become paperweights. (But then again, it IS governmental bureaucrats we're dealing with.) I plan on calling the DOT PHMSA tomorrow morning to try to get some clarity on this and will update you either in the February newsletter, TWARS next week, or - if your tanks are going to become obsolete - in a special e-mail. In the meantime, I'd suggest you check your tanks if you don't know what you have to see if you even need to worry about this at all. If your tank fills to 3442psi, look for the "SP9791" stamped somewhere along the top line on the tank shoulder. Also look for "PST" or "Pressed Steel". If you don't find all of those, you're in the clear. (If you're not sure, call us.) And if you're thinking of buying a used tank, if it fits the bill, don't make the purchase until we can get this straightened out.
And on that convoluted note, that'll do it for now. Have a great week and let's go diving soon!!!
Owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.