I have gotten a lot of pearls and your hear about their value, but I usually give then to the kids, who lose them anyway. I had a nice Hoby when I was younger and wouldn't mind having another. We didn't know the first thing about sailing and still don't, but we did some of the most beautiful cartwheels that you have ever seen!
I love to dive. I am 58 years old and have been diving for 40 years since I went to the Navy Seals Dive School in the Phillipines in 1971. I was a Marine Recon Special Forces guy and one of the only non-Navy guys to ever get "Honor man" from a seals diving school.
I live in northern California and I dive many times a year on the north coast and made it to Hawaii this year for some of that sweet warm water high visability diving that we don't have here in North California. I have made hundreds of open water dives in my day, but I truly enjoy free diving for spear fishing which is mostly what I do these days. Once in a while I do some spear fishing with buddies with tanks when they have a boat, which I don't. I usually dive off the shore in the rocks and it is no less fun or productive than with a boat. I can stay out a lot longer and hunt till my heart is content.
Buddy diving on the north coast is almost impossible anyway. The water is so murky usually that when you go down and look away from your partner for a split second, you lose him or her. You spend all your time going up and down so me and my diving friends usually just dive alone, even if we are with others. Much of the time, I just overweight and once I am on the bottom, I set chum out, find myself a little nook to sit in , let the air out of my BC and sit down and wait! Lazy, isn't it? Sometimes I hunt under the rocks but when the vis is 8 or ten feet, you have to do what you have to do.
I usually bring a zip lock of abalone guts from a campground cleaning station for chum and dump it there as the ling cod and cabazon really like it and it lasts and it makes the hunting good even the next day. Breaking sea urchins open is good for greenling and perch, but it is eaten up in a very short time.
When I am free diving and spear fishing after ab diving, I put the guts on a ledge I can see from the surface at whatever depth that ends up being, and then another spot a ways away and yet another. Then I swim back and forth between them hunting and picking up rock crab. It takes at least 10 feet of vis or the only diving is abalone diving which is tough for the new guys. I like to dive at least 18 plus feet for ab as there isn't much surge and they aren't picked over because most divers like shallow water, especially in the heavy kelp beds. I have taken no less than 200 abalone divers on their first dive and I don't mind teaching them. It got kind of old so finally I wrote two in depth articles on everything I could think of with my 40 years experience on the gear, how to weight and what to expect and now I force everyone to read them before I take them! I print ten copies out every time before I leave for the coast. If you guys want to read them, they are at http://www.fishnfools.com
in the blog section. One is on spear fishing and one on ab diving and they are as in depth as anything I have ever read, if I must say so myself.
My biggest fish so far is a 29 pound ling cod and I have speared a lot of them over 15 pounds. The stupidest thing I ever did diving is spearing a 12 foot octopus while free diving alone. I have come to learn that if they even have one leg on the ground or around kelp, and they get one or two on you, you are screwed. I now only take smaller ones or larger ones if I have tanks with plenty of air and a partner is nice. I also love to dig clams, get mussels, surf fish with a dip net, stream fish, perch fish, striper fish, sturgeon fish, and did I mention fish! I love to hunt ducks too.
I have a wife of 32 years (Stacy) and 2 grown daughters, one just out and one in college. Going duck hunting with my nephew, who is a guide in Oregon, this weekend - again! This work thing sure interferes with my recreation! Nice to join you folks. Coop