When Halloween 2021 rolls around, I will have been following a plant based lifestyle for 10 years. Huge step in my life making this transition from a diet that included meat and cheese, lots of fats and sugars. That first recipe from Julie, on her Plant Purity website I made, before I even knew what “nooch” was her Cheezy Scalloped Potatoes. I’ve spoke of this experience many times over, but that began my journey alongside Julie and Jerry, eventually joining a Protective Diet.
I’ve promoted the amazing results I experienced in previous posts; weight loss, improved cholesterol, increased strength, more regularity and increased stamina. While some of those results have been diminished over the last few years, I continue to have the mindset that “I’ve got this!” Much like running those ultra marathons, having the knowledge and envisioning crossing the finishing line kept that drive to succeed high. This resulted in crossing the finish line three times (a 50k and two 50-mile races). Since then my interests have gone elsewhere and while I would still love to get out and run, now is not the time. A new hobby I did take up, scuba diving. This too can benefit from a protective diet!
Let me start by saying, neoprene wetsuits are the devil and very unflattering. They are hot, tight and honestly very uncomfortable (coming in at 7mm thick!), but are necessary for diving in cold water (52F) in places like the Monterey coastline. Two years ago, along with my friend Val we earned out PADI Open Water certification. This in part because his son was involved in Boy Scouts and wanted to earn the Scuba Merit Badge, listed as one of the five most difficult merit badges to earn.
In March 2019, we found a local dive shop, Pacific Ocean Sports in Concord, California, paid our tuition and picked up our study materials Over the course of two weekend pool sessions, we learned the basics of scuba diving from buoyancy and breathing to BCD and BWRAF or “big white rabbits are fluffy” an acronym use as a pre-dive check of your dive buddy. Since earning our certification Val and I have really taken to the sport. Val was previously certified and didn’t need to go through the full training as I did, never having breathed underwater in my life.
Looking back on the certification, it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done and ranks up there with finishing a 50-mile race. While certification isn’t cheap ($600), little by I’ve added the Advanced Open Water Diver and Rescue Diver to my resume, along with numerous specialties. While training costs money, so does gear but the first 10-12 dives were completed using rental gear, before I started to invest money in my own gear. Now, approaching 50 dives I’ve got a complete line of scuba gear for different underwater environments, while the initial invest is great, we are reducing our cost each time we spend a day or week in Monterey Bay.
With May on the horizon, we will set out for Morehead, North Carolina at the end of the month for three days of diving off the Carolina coastline. This area is known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to the number of shipwrecks up and down the east coast of the US. It’s a trip we are highly anticipating with the potential to dive on World War II wrecks including a German submarine (U-352) that was sank in 1942. This will be the first time diving on any wreck with the potential to penetrate some of those wreck if the conditions are right. Needless to say, I am excited to view my first wreck.
This will be just the second trip outside the confines of Monterey Bay. The only other time was one of our first dives after being certified and we headed south to Carmel and dove Whaler Cove in the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. This was one of the worst dives to date due to poor conditions and visibility. None of what we expected to see was seen but it is an area I would love to back to now that I have gain experience.
Monterey Bay is one of the most recognizable areas and popular when it comes scuba certification. Every weekend we are down there, hundreds of divers appear, setting their kits up in preparation to learn the sport or enjoy what the underwater environment has to share. This along with countless seals, sea lions, otters and cormorants. On our night dives we’ve been fortunate enough to see octopus and crustaceans. The bay is also teeming with plant life from grass and kelp to brightly colored fauna growing on the reefs. The Metridium Fields is a beautiful reef about 200 yards off shore with white anemones that covers the reefs.
SCUBA & PD
I don’t judge myself by age, but following a Protective Diet can help me heal my body, lose weight and make me feel amazing. Remember, I said those wetsuits were tight, even more so if you need to drop a few pounds. I’ve started my five month timer, looking at that 10 pounds a month, but won’t need any scale to tell me if I am successful. As many of you know, your clothes will feel loose or you might end up with “BPS” or Baggy Pants Syndrome. Along with the weight loss, this makes me more streamline in the water and hopefully help to regulate my breathing better in order to stay underwater longer. Dives usually later 40-45 minutes (depending on depth), but my buddy always surfaces with considerably more gas than I do.
While we only scuba one or two days out of the month, we do attempt to maximize our day and 4-5 dives aren’t out of the question. However in a wetsuit with a 42 pound cylinder, a BC (or buoyancy compensator) and 24-26 pounds of weight and a 50-100 yard walk can cause overexertion before I even get wet. Dropping a few pounds will definitely help my knees, shoulder and back when it to this aspect of diving in Monterey Bay. I relish to have those days where I board a boat, ride out to the dive site, suit up and step off the back in a warm water environment. Until that day comes, I will continue to enjoy the 52-55F degree water in the central coast.