A view of North Crescent Bay beach with Seal Rock in the distance.

A view of North Crescent Bay beach with Seal Rock in the distance.

It was the last day of May Gray here in good ol' sunny Southern California!

Sport Chalet Expert and Image Hero Owner, Jonathen E. Davis, took the plunge around noon Sunday afternoon knowing how gray and rough the waters were in Crescent Bay, Laguna Beach.

The objective for this dive was to reach Seal Rock where California Sea Lions like to hang out.  It's one of Jonathen's favorite dive sites as its a great play to observe these animals in their natural habitat.

Water temperature average about 62º F – normally at 64º F divers can start experiencing brain-freeze if you aren't donning a dive hood.  Fortunately, Jonathen is equipped with a Pinnacle Evolution II drysuit to feel comfortable during any dive.

Water visibility after entry at North Crescent Bay was 0-4 ft.  Yikes! But sometimes you need to go in blind to find what you are looking for.

Just like any dive it's always important to have a dive buddy in case something terrible happens – Image Hero's own Director of Communications, Lisa N. Swank, is that buddy.  Lisa is a certified PADI rescue diver and safety officer during all Image Hero shoots. If she has an inkling that something is dangerous – she'll voice it.

Trouble is – it's hard to voice something when your head is underwater.

 Jonathen and Lisa's dive path to Seal Rock.

Jonathen and Lisa's dive path to Seal Rock.

Jonathen took lead as the navigator and pointed out to Lisa that it seems safe to take the "short cut" to Seal Rock.  They begin to shore swim from North Crescent Bay and wade their way to their point of interest. Jonathen recently acquired new ScubaPro TwinJet II fins and he able to move through the water much faster than Lisa is use to.  He eventually finds himself in the "short cut" and realizes that this was not the best idea to try.

The waves were coming in and the surge was... surgey.  Jonathen knew Lisa would see the predicament he put himself into and would make her way by going the long way instead of taking the "short cut." With that in mind – he knew she was fine.  As for himself, he knew the safest way through this mess was just to move forward.

Jonathen was pushed and shoved left and right, near scrapping the reef as the surge moved in in odd directions, almost high-centering on several exposed rocks.  Eventually he made his way out of the "short cut" safe and sound just by understanding the situation he was in. If swimmers were caught in the same situation – they would most likely be seriously hurt or worst.

In a safe location he floated at the surface of the water looking out for his buddy Lisa.  Luckily, she wears a bright yellow Aqualung Impulse 3 that makes it really easy to spot a swimmer in the water.  After a few minutes they reconvene, did an assessment of each other, and agreed to move on.  They put their regs in their mouth and began their descent.

 Sony Alpha A7s 1/320sec f/4 at ISO 51200 using a Sony FE 24-70 Zeiss at 24mm.

Sony Alpha A7s 1/320sec f/4 at ISO 51200 using a Sony FE 24-70 Zeiss at 24mm.

The water was murky and dark.  Not ideal whatsoever.

As photographed above, the ISO was at a high of 51200.  Not a problem with a Sony Alpha A7s as its the best low light camera on the market right now, but still wasn't the clarity and light Jonathen and Lisa were looking for in a dive.  At this point they believe it was going to be a blah dive.

Continuing to push forward another 5 minutes through the kelp forest and heading to our target location of Seal Rock at 270º – the environment was beginning to change.  What was earlier dark, particulate filled water of 4-6 ft visibility was beginning to become 15-25 ft of clarity as they swam through the kelp. 

 Sony Alpha A7s 1/320sec f/5.6 at ISO1250.  Much better!

Sony Alpha A7s 1/320sec f/5.6 at ISO1250.  Much better!

As you can see with the photo above the search for clarity finally revealed itself.  When Jonathen and Lisa arrived at the bottom of Seal Rock – the area lit up pretty evenly because of the sun shining through the overcast clouds.  This creates a "fill-flash" sort of lighting, similar to how a light with a softbox would work in a studio setting.  Its not very dramatic lighting, but for a dive day that was almost destined to fail – it turned out pretty well!

Unfortunately, no California Sea Lions came out to play. A lot of California Garibaldi as they glow vibrantly with the natural light protruding into the water 30-feet deep. Hopefully this summer we'll have some better dive conditions. But if that's not so – hello June Gloom! Image Hero will be in the water no matter what condition!

Next weekend (June 6-7) is the Long Beach Scuba Show.  Image Hero will be there to check out new gear and to take photos of the event. See you there!

(Crescent Bay – Seal Rock, May 31, 2015):

Number of dives: 1
Total Bottom Time (TBT): 50 minutes
Air Temp: 73º F
Water Temp: 62º F
Max Depth: 31 ft