USA – California – Tahoe – Meek’s Bay

My new dive buddy!

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Dolphin Scuba Meek's Bay - Shore 43 34.0 26 minutes
Meek's Bay - Shore 44 30.0 29 minutes
Meek's Bay - Boulders 45 45.0 44 minutes

For his twelfth birthday, we bought Tripp his base SCUBA gear and classes for Open Water certification at Dolphin Scuba.

The dive weekend was in the midst of a two week holiday at Lake Tahoe. Dolphin had a bit of a mix-up in managing whether a 12 year old could join group classes for the checkout or not, and so our original plans in Monterey were cancelled. What happened instead is that they worked around our existing vacation and had one of their instructors come up to meet us in Tahoe, which worked out great!

There were two or three other groups out at the beach doing certifications (altitude, technical… something), but our time was just with Matt Estrada, Tripp, and I. Matt was great to allow me to be beside them through the dives, though I tried to stay out of the way as much as possible, and I skipped the first dive to allow him to focus.

For the first dive I joined, Tripp and Matt had done an air exchange and ascent before I went into the water, plus underwater gear removal and replacement. We then spent the next fifteen minutes or so going around the sandy beach area. I trailed behind them on a semi-solo dive, to let them focus on Tripp’s learning.

The second dive, Tripp had to work on navigation skills, heading half way out to a dive buoy. After the skills were over, again we just dove around at 20-30 feet. A few crawdads were around the area, but mostly it was about being comfortable in the water.

One the second day, and Tripp’s final dive, we did one long dive out from the beach and over to some of the boulder areas. Tripp’s buoyancy looked great, and we enjoyed a little more life (though still just a few schools of small fish and crawdads), but we just explored at about 40′ till Tripp was down to 1500psi.

No checkout dive is the same as a real rec dive, but it’s always awesome to get in the water your first time. Tripp seened to do just fine with the cold water and thick wetsuits; the good visibility in Tahoe always seems to help. I’m super appreciative of Matt’s flexibility at letting me tag along on their dives.

USA – California – Lake Tahoe

Operator Site Dive Depth Bottom Time
Dive Ventures Fannet Island 11 54.0 24 minutes
Barge 12 52.0 52 minutes
Cave Rock at Night 13 20.0 34 minutes
Rubicon Wall 14 76.0 29 minutes
Rubicon Wall-South of 15 42.0 38 minutes

Fannet Island
As my first Tahoe dive, this was horrible. Starting with Amy freaking out and shooting to the surface (and me being a world-class horrid buddy), to moderately low visibility, the circumvention of the island was uninteresting, with a lack of life, and a few schools of very small silver fish. There were lobsters to see as the primary life. While Tahoe in general was a successful and fun trip, this was a poor start to it.

Sunk in the middle of emerald bay, a huge all-wood barge is preserved by PADI and the Tahoe association for divers to visit. It seems a tad more interesting than it is, in that, well… it’s a barge. Large, flat, no steering, no complexities, just giant beams forming a large platform, railroad-spike looking iron pegs sticking out of the sides. It’s an interesting sight, for a change of scenery, but not one I’m likely to return to, as emerald bay is emerald for a reason… gross, algae-ridden, greenness.

Cave Rock
Now this dive is one of the two that make this trip worth recommending. A late night departure for a midnight dive, full moon shining through the perfectly clear waters… an awesome experience. While still lacking in life, the crawdads definitely come out en masse at night. With a small light light, or none at all, the div was peaceful, relaxing, and surreal.

Rubicon Wall
Majestic. The word that describes this dive. Over a thousand dives in, and my buddy counted this as her best freshwater dive ever. The “wall” isn’t quite what I normally think of as a wall: the drop was angled, the rocks split and sand making rivers through the wall, gigantic boulders splitting the peace of the sandfalls. Gullies in the rocks, the only word besides majestic is beautiful.

Rubicon Wall – South of
A few large fallen trees added dimensionality to the scape. The final dive of the weekend was shallow and short, to minimize nitrogen absorption so that we could make it out of the lake area by day’s end. A clean end to a fun weekend of diving at the lake.