June 18, 2011
First free day of the internship and finally, my first chance to snorkel at Wrigley. Dan and Sabrina got certified for diving here last year, so they already knew the area and its marine wildlife. I was blown away by the amount of equipment that USC had for people to borrow: wetsuits in all different sizes, masks, snorkels, fins, kayaks, you name it. Our plan was to strap our snorkel gear to our kayaks and kayak out to a nearby cove and then jumping in the water to snorkel. So we get the three smallest and presumably fastest kayaks into the water, which was the choppiest I have ever seen in Big Fisherman’s Cove (the cove upon which WIES sits). We get halfway across the cove when I lay back and relax in my kayak for a second and look into the water. Before i know it I’m on the backside of a three-foot wave and promptly fall into the water with my wetsuit half on. Luckily I was only about 30 yards away from the cove we were going to, and I wouldn’t have been too nervous if I didn’t fall directly into a huge sea kelp. So I swim to the nearby cove with the kayak and the three of us put on our masks and fins after dragging our kayaks onto shore. The water was pretty cold compared to Mexico and Hawaii (the only places I have snorkeled before), but the experience was still pretty epic. Most of the time I was following Dan and Sabrina as we swam over and through thick kelp forests in search of cool animals to look at. We figured out that the best strategy for getting through kelp without getting tangled in it is to try to go directly over it by plopping onto it and swimming over it. Avoiding getting trapped in kelp is key, at least for me because for some strange reason I am more scared of the kelp than anything else in that water. There’s nothing creepier than having one of those slimy vines wrapped around your ankle. I shudder just thinking about it. Anyways kelp aside the snorkeling was awesome. The sea floor was only about 10-15 feet below us, but in certain spots it dropped down suddenly to depths of 30 ft or more, with full visibility to the bottom. We saw several garibaldi in and out of the kelp and a small goby hiding in a rock in about 2 feet of water. After I got out of the water Dan signaled me to get back in as he was swimming around, but I didn’t because I was already drying off. That was probably a good thing because what he had seen was a five-foot long shark of an unidentified species, and I am not sure how I would’ve handled seeing that in the water. Afterwards we kayaked back to Wrigley (I went as fast as possible) and ate some snacks. All in all it was a great day and I can’t wait to do it again.