Siting on the corner of 25th and Wilshire Blvd, Scuba Haus was both a neighborhood icon and local diving staple for over 50 years. Starting today it joins a growing list of old-school California dive shops that have shuttered in the Santa Monica Bay-area over the past decade including New England Divers, Blue Cheer, and American Divers. Whether it’s rising rent, retail fatigue, or a sign of changing times, we now have one less place to get a regulator serviced, a tank vip’ed, or to try on a wet suit free without worrying that you would have to ship it back if it doesn’t work out. Something to consider the next time you’re shopping on line.
At least the ocean isn’t closing any time soon. We’ll see you out there.
Scientific divers, bug hunters, and warm-water warriors one-and-all, it’s time for Diver Day at Aquarium of the Pacific. Free admission to all certified divers with an urge to explore the underwater world without all the hassle of getting wet. Sponsored by the good people at Sherwood Scuba, this event will also showcase the great underwater work that volunteer divers are doing here in California and offer you the opportunity to get involved and help make a difference in the health of the ocean.
The title sponsor of the event Sherwood Scuba, has started a new initiative called Sherwood Scuba Marine Conservation which supports research and conservation-driven programs across the worlds oceans. Check out their Facebook page and like it to support some really terrific work and to find out how a dive manufacturer can make a difference in protecting the worlds oceans.
Mark your calendar for what will be “fin-tastic” day. See you out there.
The great thing is you’ll have a chance to help protect and explore a pretty unique ecosystem in Avalon Harbor proper that is almost always off limits to divers while being continually impacted by human actions. The fish you save may be your own.
There are few things in life that a true Waterman loves more than diving. God, country, and mother do not immediately come to mind. Neither does holding hands nor long, reflective walks on the beach. A dive bar on the other hand is a part of the genetic make-up of every great diver. There is “B-A-R” in their DNA. That’s why I feel like a little piece of me died this week when word came down that the legendary Mermaid Bar in Hermosa Beach has shuttered it’s doors after 70 years.
Smelling of beach sweat and desperation with a decor that probably could give you tetanus just by looking at it, The Mermaid was your one stop shop for ice cold beer and a place to put your feet up and your butt down after a long day on the water. It wasn’t just a smarmy and poorly lit bar either. It was also a place of innovations. There was quarter beer night, dollar pitcher night, and pretty much everyone’s favorite, Blackout night. It was magnificent.
Now I know a lot of you never went to The Mermaid and now, sadly, you never will. I guess the point of this getting all nostalgic and crap is that places like this are where you make memories. Horrible,awful memories. You also make some fun ones as well I suppose but I digress. So let’s say so long to “The Old Maid.” I never figured she’d go out of business. I always assumed she would be torched for the insurance money. Just remember to enjoy your own special dives while you can and then take one last look at The Mermaid.
Just a reminder that lobster season opens on September 30th. There are some changes in the regulations this year so check them out at the offical DFW site. License and report cards are still needed so don’t wait until the last minute to pick yours up. Also, in a very big change, opening time is no longer midnight. It is now 6:00 am. So go to bed and set your alarms for zero bug thirty.
An early attempt in the science of creating artificial reefs for Throwback Thursday. Here’s a shot from out in Santa Monica Bay from the late 1950’s showing an abundance of Pile Perch on one of the many artificial reefs created by a variety of groups and municipalities out of a variety of materials during the 1950’s.
When the Red Car Line was phased out of existence in Los Angeles, the old cars were simply pushed into the Santa Monica Bay to create new aggregation spots for recreational fishing purposes. Public transportation’s loss was going to be the oceans gain. Not surprisingly, these artificial reefs didn’t hold up long against the forces of the ocean and are entirely erased from the Bay now. It was however, creative thinking to help enhance the quality of habitat in the Southern California bight.
Earlier this year the California diving community lost a true original as Max Von Klein passed away after a short illness. A NAUI and LA County Underwater Instructor, Max was also the master volunteer at the Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. He was in short one of those guys you met diving that you would never forget. What a lot of people don’t know is that Max was also a quality photographer who wanted people to see what was out there and that it needed to be cherished and protected from overuse. That’s why he left me his slides to share. This is just a sample of what he saw in North County as the “King of the Beach Divers.” Enjoy a few of his shots.
Just as getting the right gear together for a dive needs to be a deliberate and thoughtful process to ensure a safe and enjoyable outcome, so does picking the right post-dive libations. To help you along to that end, we offer up these three decompression delights from 3 different regions of California:
Green Flash Brewing West Coast IPA – While it is brewery described as “a tantalizing menagerie of hops. Simcoe for tropical and grapefruit zest, Columbus for hop pungency, Centennial for pine notes,” it’s doesn’t taste as lame hipster as that. It’s actually a nice slow-drink IPA that is surprisingly light despite the 8.1% alcohol content. With it’s grapefruit juice like hue, you can almost convince yourself that you are getting your RDA allowance of vitamin c. You’re not but you won’t mind.
2) Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA – A heralded hop-head from Healdsburg, this Northern California suggestion is the writers favorite. It has a great chew and a big hoppy flavor that drinks like a champ. It is the diver equivalent of Irish-food, satisfying and filling, perfect for a post-dive deco stop with an alcohol content of 7.5%.
3) Firestone Brewery Double Barrel Ale – The old hand on the list, this tasty beer has been brewed on the central coast for almost 20 years. Other craft brews have come and gone but this classic holds up very well and goes down very smooth. A full bodied ale with a great finish, this is the beer you want to crawl into after a boat out to Anacapa or Santa Cruz. With only a 5.0% alcohol content, you have to work pretty hard to do serious damage.
We know you have a lot to choose from when picking a end-of-the-day refreshment and wanted to share with you some of our favorites from over the years. Just remember that any beer shared with dive buddies is a good one. Except for Bud. Bud sucks.
A quick picture of juvenile GSB currently living the sweet life in Santa Monica at The Heal the Bay Aquarium under the pier. Stop by and check out the baby bass and all the other great exhibits in this tiny ocean educational gem.