Catalina is the kind of place that I would describe as in my backyard, just 86 miles away it’s one of the closest getaway spots to southern California and for many, a sanctuary for those looking to set their watch to island time.
It was a Tuesday afternoon when I got the call. A call that I felt really changed the direction of my life. Body Glove decided to sponsor my trip to Malaysia where I would be competing in the International Scuba Pageant. They also decided to try something new, to sponsor me as an athlete. Out of no where, I suddenly had a sponsor to be a scuba diver. They wanted me to come in, sign a contract, and get to Catalina ASAP for a photo-shoot. “WHAT?!!” I was blown away. The goal? Get more women interested in scuba diving. I was speechless, but my bags were half packed before we hung up the phone.
After organizing things between my jetpack and reporting schedules, we decided a quick Tuesday/Wednesday trip would work perfectly for everyone. Flash-forward to Monday. I woke-up after a 20 hour shift of reporting live in the morning, modeling in a fashion show that afternoon, and finally covering the San Diego Chargers/Jacksonville Jaguars game that evening. I didn’t get much sleep between my excitement and my anxiety but time really does fly when your having fun and after a day at the Dive N’ Surf/Body Glove office, I passed out on their company boat, Disappearance and woke up headed west towards Catalina Island.
Once we arrived in Catalina we got straight to “work”. When I say we, I mean myself and two lovely ladies: Tessa and Mackenzie. The three of us would become inseparable. Tessa, a dive instructor for Dive N’ Surf, Mackenzie an event planner. When you combine the three of us with our wonderful photographers Greg and Scott—— we had more fun than a boat is supposed while at “work”. But hey, a company who’s built their name on adventure definitely has room for quite a bit of fun.
Now getting to our “work”. Upon arriving at a little spot known as the Italian Gardens we immediately jumped off the boat and into some of the clearest, bluest, warmest waters I have ever seen in Catalina. I mean it was just like swimming in the Caribbean. After a couple of jumps off the top deck of the Disappearance it was time to get to get diving. “Dive with buddies” that was our slogan remember, and honestly a slogan that really represented the rest of our trip.
After a quick 40 minute dive it was time to get moving towards Cherry Cove, where we would be spending the night. Before we started grabbing up a mooring ball, we wanted to have a little fun with some of the paddle boards and snorkel gear we brought. I will always remember this moment. The moment we tried to paddle board in the open ocean. It was honestly one of the funniest moments of my life because none of us could stay standing on the boards. The combination of choppy waters and light boards make it the most hilarious thing for any spectator to observe. I fell at least 5 times before I decided that perhaps I should just float around on one for a bit with Tessa instead of trying to keep my cool and stand-up. A bit of goofing around a free dive or two later, back on the boat and ready for a night dive.
While I had heard of lobster diving before, I had no idea how crazy awesome it would be. Mackenzie and I had gotten our licenses together before we embarked. Neither of us had a night dive under our belts and neither of us had ever caught a lobster. Going down at night was awesome. On the way to our location, we had to swim to the sweet spot with our gear in order to save air. Nothing like laying on your back in the middle of the night looking up, surrounded by black waters, and only light form the stars
above to guide you. Tips I got on how to catch a lobster: 1.) Pretend it’s a cockroach that you’re trying to squish 2.) Don’t let go. The lobsters in the west don’t have claws— the only thing you need worry about are the horns on their backs— many of which you can’t feel through your dive gloves. I was able to catch two lobsters on my first dive. One of which had a HUGE tail, but teeny-tiny back, the other just a little guy. After measuring, both were too small to bag. Mackenzie and I walked away empty handed, but Greg, Scott, and Tessa were able to catch plenty. That night we ate and drank like kings.
The next day was our last day. Two day trips really fly by. The first and most important thing we wanted to do was do a bit of snorkeling near the shore. This is where I think we got some of the best pictures of the trip. Snorkeling and playing with the dinghy. After a few shots of laying in the boat, playing around the rocks, and attempting once more to standup paddle—- We put on our dive gear one last time and got some of the most amazing dive pictures of the trip. The spot we found was near the corner of Cheery Cove. There we found a patch of kelp and a huge rock that attracted all sorts of life. I was like we had walked into another room of the ocean. Thousands of fish, clear blue water, and of course the sunshine shooting through like an arrows piercing the sea.
Wrapping up the weekend was tough. Honestly this post doesn’t even do it justice. Hopefully the picture give you a little more insight into the fun we had. It was like our job for two days was to just relax, have fun, and let someone else capture the moments. This two day trip was by far one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. Tessa, Mackenzie, Greg, and Scott were all fabulous people to spend my time with. Also a big shout out to Robbie, Ronnie, Ray, and Saul for making the trip possible and always making us laugh. Hopefully another dive trip with that kickass group will soon be in order.
Until then, I’ll just keep glowing over the opportunity to inspire others to dive in. :)