Amazing blue water with a rich marine life and healthy reefs surrounds Santa Ramona, California.
There is a side to this city of ours that few very see. A quiet, eerie, sometimes alien world that lurks just minutes off the beaches of Santa Ramona, CA. A rather playful pod of Bottle nosed Dolphins and exotic jelly fish are among the most impressive sights you can expect in the waters around here.
Local marine biologists have been rightly concerned about how the contaminants in the water system a year or so ago would effect the local Marine life. “We feared our unique close shore reefs would be decimated, what with all the chemicals released to combat the bacteria. It has been a great worry of ours.” said Professor Seymore Fish of University of San Diego's Marine Biology Dept.
We caught up with a local diver out for an early morning dive as the sun rose today.
“Yes this one of the things I do to relax off duty.” Deputy Police Chief Brentt told us. “You would not believe what is out there, just a short swim from the shore. Its like a different world. Calm and quiet. The perfect place to unwind and meditate among the reeds and reefs. Its a serenity I can't begin to describe.” We asked about what wildlife he had seen on his dive.
“Well its hard to navigate down there, but from my compass directions and previous dives I have been on, I would say I made it just past the pier on Imperial Beach. That's a good 25 minute swim against the current from where I started and you always have to keep a rye on your O2 and make sure you have enough for the return swim, plus a little more just in case. On that short-ish dive alone, I come across a pod of Dolphins, who were friendly and seemed to want to play, diving in and out the water and going up for air from time to time. There's a couple of schools of Grey Mullet's down there. I spotted a couple of Gold spotted Rabbitfish, Yellowtail Snappers, Roosterfish, and countless others. There was also an intriguing purple jellyfish that I have yet to identify. So yes its teeming with life. I also know there are Manta Rays down there as well, but I did not see on any on today's dive.”
We asked what equipment was needed to enjoy this underwater world.
“In the winter the water temperature can vary considerably, we're in Southern California so its rarely cold as such, but in the winter and early spring can drop down into the low 50's which is on the chilly side to completely emerge yourself in and you can lose heat very quickly if your not careful. So up until around May/June time I would certainly suggest a decent wetsuit at least 3mm thick. With a snorkel mask you can dive to a maximum depth of 1 to 2 meters, so if your planning to go deeper than that you would need O2 tank and some sort of rebreather. A decent BCD is also essential. That us a Buoyancy Control Device.
Otherwise you have a real job descending deep enough to see anything and it also regulates how fast you can ascend, cos nobody wants the bends from coming up to quick. Flippers are optional but defiantly worth investing in. I would also suggest a bottle or two of water. Seems odd I know but you can dehydrate real fast in seawater, even with a wetsuit on, so your usually very thirsty when you come out.”
We asked if special training was needed. “For diving with a snorkel and mask, no not really. Just follow the manufactures instructions and google safety tips. So you know what to do if you hit any problems. For going deeper. Its not a legal requirement that you have training, but its certainly something to consider. Generally speaking the deeper and longer you dive for the more risky it is. I would suggest anyone seriously thinking about taking up his pastime, do a class or two yes. And nobody should be attempting anything like wreck,night or cave diving without training and a dive buddy, its just too dangerous.” he added.
Mr Brentt agreed to share some snapshots he took on his latest dive with us.
So as you can all see for yourself dear readers. The diverse marine life around Santa Ramona, does not appear to have been majorly effected by the actions of the CDC and state board, to eliminate the contagion and rebuilding the infrastructure and water system of the city.
In a slight departure from our normal news reporting I decided to run some articles on local pastimes and actives. In the next edition we will having a look at Hiking in and Around Santa Ramona