|They're down there laughing at me.
In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;Okay. So it doesn't actually rhyme unless you mispronounce abalone. Deal with it.
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;
In the Spring a lovely iris brings forth its regal cone;
In the Spring an old man’s fancy turns to thoughts of abalone.
It's that time of year. The opening of the abalone season is upon on us. But it doesn't look like anyone in their right mind will be doing any abalone diving today.
Swellwatch is showing 10-14 foot swells:
Pacific Waverider has a 12 foot northern swell and a 5 foot southern swell.
Which tells me my favorite cove is pretty much a zero visibility washing machine. This year's opening is looking more like 2012 or 2011 than last year's benign conditions. The forecast through the weekend does not look much better. I'll be waiting for conditions more amenable to my advanced age before venturing in, and hope any divers that risk it manage to stay safe this week.
A good time to get out the DFW guide and brush up on the New Rules:
"Abalone divers are in for a shock this year, likely more uncomfortable than the first surge of cold ocean water inside a wetsuit. In the wake of an unprecedented abalone die-off in 2011, new regulations for the 2014 season have curbed the annual catch limit and closed the North Coast's most popular abalone dive site at Fort Ross State Park...
The previous annual limit was 24. The daily catch limit remains at three abalone, along with the minimum size of seven inches. Also new for the season opening April 1 is an 8 a.m. start time, nearly three hours later in midsummer than the previous start time of half an hour before sunrise.
“It's a little too much over-regulation,” said Ben Dougherty, co-owner of a Bodega surf shop who described himself as an “occasional” ab diver. Dougherty said he expected some reaction to the die-off and acknowledged that it takes a long time — biologists say up to a dozen years — for abalone to grow seven-inch shells. “It's a touchy topic,” he said. But the annual limit of nine from Sonoma County waters seems “a little too strict.”...
Biologists were initially stumped by the die-off, which stunned local divers and was erroneously attributed to a red tide. The cause has since been identified as a bloom of microscopic algae called Gonyaulax membranacea, which produce a toxin called yessotoxin that was found in abalone gut tissue. No similar algae bloom has occurred since 2011, Rogers-Bennett said."