Oct 302008

I hope it is a wet winter for California. From KPBS:

The Department of Water Resources announced it will deliver just 15 percent of the amount that local water agencies throughout California request every year. That marks the second lowest projection since the first State Water Project deliveries were made in 1962… It could force farmers in the Central Valley to fallow fields and cities from the San Francisco Bay area to San Diego to impose mandatory water rationing.

Oct 292008

A study tracking salmon in the Fraser and Columbia rivers has determined that dams are not the main cause of Salmon collapse.

“dam modifications to assist migrating salmon have led to much-improved survival rates since the 1970s, the study team suggests.”

In other words, the core issue with Salmon survival is in the open ocean. This does not bode well for an easy fix.

“Possible negative factors include ocean warming and changes to salmon prey distribution, increased salmon predation by seals and sea lions, and lethal parasite infestations of wild smolts spread by coastal salmon farms.”

Oct 282008

Adam and I headed out with a charter group on the Horizon for a one day one night diving trip to San Clemente. We used Horizon Charters for the trip and had a pretty good experience – they have a nice operation and the crew was really good. I learned that sleeping on a boat has a bit of a learning curve.

We did three hour long dives over the morning and early afternoon before it was time to head back to San Diego. The first site was Fishhook, which had a nice wall (even a couple caves) and some decent kelp. The second site they said was “jesus rock”. It also had a decent wall and a lot more kelp. The third site was just north of fishhook. It has a little bit of a wall, and a lot of nice kelp. All three were really great dive sites. The visibility was 40-80 feet and the weather was fantastic. I’ll be coming back to the island again.

Oct 162008

Adam and I headed out with Waterhorse charters to dive the kelp beds off Point Loma. The Humboldt is a pretty nice boat – lots of room and very speedy. The dives looked to be pretty epic while we were gearing up. The bottom was pretty milky but the top 30 feet of kelp was excellent. The Ruby E… well, it was the Ruby E. Small, but still fun to do some swim-throughs and poke your head around the holes.

Oct 152008

Quoth the UT:

“Mayor Jerry Sanders warned of deep, imminent budget cuts and water rationing across San Diego yesterday, while also stressing the importance of a new City Hall and an expanded convention center.”

…About the city budget, Sanders said his aides are projecting a $43 million deficit in the current fiscal year, which will mean that “we almost certainly will need to curtail programs and close facilities that enjoy broad public support.”

…In addition to pledging support in his strongest terms yet for a convention center expansion and a new City Hall, the mayor stressed that he was prepared to take more active roles in expanding Lindbergh Field and accommodating the Chargers regionally, two issues he has generally kept his distance from so far.

Water rationing – I get that. Everyone should, we live in a desert.

Expanding City Hall (seriously?), the convention center, the airport (travel demand is dropping), and paying up to the Chargers while cutting community facilities and services? That’s a messed up set of priorities.

Oct 062008

I have not yet listened to Another Frightening Show About the Economy from This American Life. Since it is from the guys that brought us The Giant Pool of Money (the excellent show about the housing crisis), I have very high hopes. Give it a listen if you want to learn about the credit market freeze.

Update: They did another excellent job on this one.  What are credit default swaps? What is the commercial paper market? Why do these things matter to me? Why did the market freak out? What does the future hold?

Listen to this show.

Oct 022008

I’ve been diving a 5mm wetsuit with a 3/5 hooded vest for a year in San Diego. Most people dive 7mm+ and think I’m nuts. I started to agree with them. I momentarily considered moving to a thicker wetsuit, but figured that ultimately it would just be a speed bump on my way to a drysuit. I’ve been doing longer, sometimes deeper dives, and neoprene just isn’t cutting it.

At depth (say 60 or 100′), a neoprene wetsuit is much less warm than it is on the surface, because the pressure of the water compresses the wetsuit. Drysuits on the other hand require you to add and subtract air from them as you move about the water column. This adds complexity, but means that you always have the same amount of insulation, regardless of depth. Since you are mostly dry, you also lose much less heat to the water. The other nice thing about a drysuit is that you can adjust your warmth simply by switching what you wear under the suit – the same suit can be used in freezing or temperate waters. After a lot of research I took a deep breath and got myself measured for a custom fit TLS350 in August.

The wait was pretty unbearable. I finally dove my new suit on Saturday and Sunday. It was a learning experience. It felt like I was back diving for the first time again – there was a whole new set of skills and equipment to relearn. After my third dive I was starting to get more comfortable with the process, but I think it will take me quite a few more before it all becomes second nature.

While the drysuit feels a bit weird and awkward right now, the value of the suit really hit me on the way back from the Coronado Islands. We had just finished two dives and had been in the water the longest for both dives. As we were relaxing at the back of the boat I noticed the rest of the crowd. Most of other divers had changed into dry clothes, but were huddled up under the boat cab and looked absolutely frozen. I was sitting at the back of the boat in the wind and spray and was very content. I probably looked like a smug bastard, but I was warm and dry smug bastard.

Oct 012008

Mani, Adam and I headed out to the Coronados last Sunday to dive at the lobster shack. It has been a while since I was out there, so I was hoping the sea lions were there in force. Unfortunately there were just a couple young ones and they weren’t quite ready to come play in the water. I’m expecting November will be a lot of fun.