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  • What is Scuba Diving in San Diego Really like? - The Unvarnished Truth
    Diving in San Diego is beautiful and FUN, but undoubtedly can be a challenge! Preparing Mentally and planning your dive accordingly will ensure you have a successful cold water dive! If you are new to San Diego, Please read this throughly! We want you to have the best time on board the Marissa. We LOVE scuba diving in San Diego and believe our waters have a lot to offer! However, we find that being MENTALLY PREPARED for the types of conditions San Diego often has, results in fun and successful dives. You will find the naked unvarnished truth in the paragraphs below, please contact us with any further questions or concerns or if you need help in any way. Temperature Despite our city's sunny disposition, San Diego waters are COLD at depth. Temperatures range from the coldest 46-48ºF (usually) in February- March and the warmest (usually) August-October -54º-58ºF, but most of the year you can count on a solid 52ºF. Exposure Suit This is COLD especially when performing multiple dives. We recommend at least a 7mm Wetsuit, a hood, gloves, and boots (generally these are 3-5mm) or a drysuit. Some people find this level of exposure protection uncomfortable and restricting. If you are this person, you may consider sitting this one out. Weighting Wearing this amount of exposure protection results in diving with a LOT more weight than say, when you dove in Florida or Hawaii. We find that a good rule of thumb for weighting yourself properly is 10% of your body weight +~6lbs if diving a standard Aluminum 80cuft tank. Conditions San Diego Sits in the Catalina eddy and is therefore more protected than many other parts of Coastal California. However, we get our fair share of challenging conditions you should be prepared for. Visibility We are pretty excited when the visibility is 25ft! We like to call this our "average" visibility here in San Diego. Often the visibility is <5ft and sometimes when we are really lucky (usually in the fall - Aug-Oct) we get a couple of weeks of STELLAR 60-100ft of visibility. But you should expect visibility that <5ft ;), then you won't be disappointed. Surge Surge is the back and forth movement influenced by the swell while you are at depth. This back and forth motion pushes divers from a few inches to a few feet in one direction, and then, a moment or two later, pushes the diver back a few inches or a few feet in the other direction. This back and forth motion is SURGE. Traditionally, divers handle surge by "going with the flow" surge typically will put you back nearly where you started. If you must, you can anchor yourself to a rock, wreck etc, but this strategy has been known to cause more stress on the diver. See what works best for you and go with the flow! Currents We get mild to moderate surface currents, nearly every afternoon and sometimes in the morning. We have a current line to assist you to the anchor/down line, but you should be prepared and know how to dive in a current (ex. perform your dive into the current instead of with it etc). Our Surface currents typically disappear around 20 feet deep, but you will want to plan for drift on your safety stop if you miss the anchor/up line for your ascent. Wind Wind is another potential source for task-loading. When the wind blows on the ocean it creates "wind waves" often these are little splashes of water that seem to aim right for your open mouth. So we recommend diving with a snorkel or with your regulator in your mouth when you are surface swimming. We also recommend swimming with your back to the wind waves, when navigationally possible, so the wind waves splash on your back and hood and not in your face. Swells We are very conscious of the swell reports and size of swells we run trips in. We cancel trips for large swells. However, despite referencing several regionally, local and micro forecasts, the "weather man" still sometimes gets it wrong. We all know this from our "on land" weather. Of course, we will cancel any trip at any time, if we deem it unsafe for the divers to dive, get back up the swim ladder etc. However, normally, when we go out, there is a small 1-3' swell. You should expect this. This is normal ocean behavior! Add a little wind and the 1-3' swell can feel a little like driving over a rocky dirt road in your grandmas ancient Oldsmobile with bad shocks.;) (bump-bump-bump, (wind waves), rocky-rock-rocky (swell). Again, it's really just fine as long as you know what to expect! Conclusion There is no reason to be scared of Cold water diving, but every reason to be prepared, mentally, physically, and with the proper gear. Cold water diving is very FUN! We have a myriad of nudibranchs which are every color in the rainbow, and plentiful! No matter the visibility, you can always find a colorful nudibranch! We have a abundance of Sea Life! Part of what makes our waters so cold and often lower visibility is the cold water upwellings off the giant trenches off our coast! This creates a plethora of plankton life, which attracts a LOT of other, larger sea life. We welcome you to join us, prepared...and to have fun!
  • What is the water temperature / What Exposure Suit do you recommend?
    Our waters are COLD all year long at depth. At depth during the late winter through early summer is generally 50-52F. It is cold. You will need at least a 7mm wetsuit with a hood, gloves, and boots. Often in late summer, early fall through early winter the water warms up to 55-58F. You Miiiigght choose to dive without gloves or a hood this time of year (but definitely bring them) Even when the surface is in the 70's it's pretty darn cold underneath!
  • What is the typical Visibility in San Diego?
    Visibility can range greatly from day to day. During the late winter, spring and early summer months, we experience visibility from 5-30ft. During the late summer, fall, and early winter the visibility clears up and is often 40-100ft!
  • Do you supply tanks?
    Yes, we supply tanks. All of our AL80's have "pro-valves" which means they can accomodate DIN and Yoke regulators. We do have 2 steel 100’s DIN ONLY, on a first come first serve basis.
  • Do you supply weights?
    Yes, we have mostly hard weights and a small amount of soft weights.
  • Do you supply food/drinks? If so, what kind?
    Yes, we supply a snack bag and bottled water for each customer, and fizzy drinks, hot tea, and coffee are available on request. Snack Bags include: Chips Muffins Danish Aussie bites or Paleo Bar Granola Bar Fruit Snacks Fruit Candy (totally a must) Anything else that Capt Lora thinks looks fun:) Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten Free options are available.
  • What should I bring?
    You will reap the benefits from our years of experience, IF you bring the following along with your dive gear, of course. Do not underestimate the importance of being able to get warm and dry. (NO, your "HOT" buddy’s (or boat crew’s) body-heat is not what we are talking about!). The water temperature is between 50-52 degrees; with multiple dives, getting warm between them will make your day that much more AWESOME! ➢ Exposure Suit: 7mm wetsuit or drysuit ➢ Dive gear (unless you are renting) ➢ Sunscreen ➢ Dry Towels ➢ Dry Clothes ➢ Sweatshirt or jacket to keep warm ➢ Seasickness Medication ➢ Government Issued ID ➢ Certification Card ➢ Tip for the Crew Trust me; if you have ANY thoughts of seasickness, you may want to try some seasickness medication (JUST DO IT!), such as Dramamine, Bonine or even Ginger. Seasickness can ruin your dive trip (and everybody else’s) so please do your body a favor and come prepared. Dramamine comes in a "less drowsy" formula, and Bonine is a less drowsy formula, (in my humble opinion) regular strength Dramamine sometimes makes a lot of people too sleepy to think right the day of, better to take this one the night before. We (as in the UNIVERSE) have found the most effective way to ward off seasickness is by taking the recommended dose the night before, then again 2 hours before the trip. But of course….it’s your call.;)
  • Do you rent gear? If so, how much does it cost?
    If you are from out of town, we are happy to facilitate rental gear through House of Scuba and provide a pick up / drop off service. We understand it is difficult to travel with rental gear and are happy to facilitate this for you. House of Scuba Charges $45-65 Per set Depending on what you need Marissa Charters Charges $20 Pick up/Drop off fee Since you won't be at the shop to try on your gear we make the best size choices given the information you provide and the manufacturer size charts. So, we will need each divers: Height Weight Shoe size What size wetsuit the divers usually wears, if known.
  • What do you provide in the cost of the ticket? What is included in the cost of the ticket?
    What we PROVIDE: ➢ AL 80 tanks with DIN/YOKE Valves ➢ Air Fills ➢ Hard Weights ➢ Food and Beverage ➢ Hot Tea, Coffee, or Coco ➢ Warm Packs If you are on a special diet, we can do our best to make sure we have food for your specialness;) Please contact us to let us know, we are happy to make sure you have food on the boat!:)
  • Do I need a Buddy? Can I dive solo?
    You do not need to sign up with a buddy. If you want a buddy, we will do our best the day of the trip to pair you up with another diver or group of divers. :) Please feel free to text me and ask if there are other people needing a buddy on the day you are interested in joining us. I am happy to get you in touch with another diver that needs a buddy!:) You are welcome to dive solo, as long as you are, trained to do so and honestly comfortable diving alone. We do strongly prefer you have a redundant system if you are diving solo.
  • Does a Dive Master go down with me? Is a Dive Master provided?
    IN WATER Dive Masters/Guide NOT Provided: Our Dive Master DOES NOT enter the water with you. It is industry standard and USCG orders in San Diego that our Dive Master must remain on board the vessel, except in the event of an emergency/urgency on the surface. While we do not employ Guides/Dive Masters, we are happy to get you in touch with one of our "Trusted Dive Masters". We are happy to do the leg work for you and find out which trusted DM is available for the requested date and then facilitate an exchange of contact information :)
  • Do you have Nitrox? If so, how much?
    Yes, we have and fill Nitrox on board. The cost is 12$ per fill for single tanks, $24 per fill on doubles. We generally pump 32%, but can pump up to 40%.
  • How much does it cost to dive?
    Our prices are reasonably priced:) and we only take 10 Divers! So you won't be overcrowded!:) 2 Tank local trips cost $159-175 (all fees and taxes are included in that price)
  • What are some Open Water / Beginner level Dive Sites?
    Some Great Open Water / Beginner lever dives sites include the following: Ingraham Street Bridge - Depth ~ 60ft Ancient Caverns ~55-62ft Lost City - DEPTH ~20-30ft Horse Head Reef - Depth ~40-60ft Check out our new Dive Site descriptions page!
  • What are some Open Water / Intermediate level dive sites?
    Some great Intermediate level / Advanced level dive sites are: CONNORS CANYON - DEPTH 45-75ft HIGH SPOT - DEPTH 45-70ft RUBY E - DEPTH 65-85ft (Deck of the Ruby E is at 65ft - Sand is at 85ft) CHRIS'S ROCK - DEPTH 65-75ft CHELSEA LEE REEF - DEPTH 65-90ft
  • What are some Advanced Level Dives?
    HMCS Yukon Depth - 65 - 105ft - 65ft to the deck, 105ft to the sand *MUST have an Advanced Certification or Deep Certification Train Wheels Depth - 65-105ft Strawberry Ledges - 66 - 115ft Puzzle Pieces Rock - 88 - 107ft Anger Management - 85 - 105ft
  • Will I see Kelp on all of the dives listed as "Kelp Forest" Dives?"
    After the El Niño year hit in 2016, the beautiful and thick Giant Kelp Forests have diminished significantely. Many of our sites that were once thick with Giant Kelp, are now rocky reefs with some kelp stalks. They still house beautiful sea life and are wonderful sites, but may not have the amount of Kelp they once had. We are hopeful that the water will cool down and the Kelp will grow back :)
  • Do you take divers to the Coronado Islands in Mexico?
    Unfortunately, we no longer make runs to the Coronado Islands. It is a long trip, and in recent years the Mexican Government has turned many boats around and sent them home as soon as they cross the border. Several years ago, they closed the border entirely since they have opened it up, it has remained unstable. They also have implemented a tourist permit that costs $30 per person in addition to the cost of the trip. Although it seems to be getting more stable as time goes on, the risk of driving there only to be turned around is still too much.
  • What type of nitrox system do we have? Do the tanks need to be O2 Clean?
    We have a continuous blending system, that can pump 22%-40%. Tanks do not need to be O2 Clean. Our system is NOT O2 Clean, so we do not recommend using your O2 Clean tanks.
  • Do Instructors get a discount? Do instructors with staff get a discount? If so, what is it?"
    With inflation and Fuel Prices skyrocketing, we have had to eliminate most discounts in lieu of raising prices. We do have charter pricing and a fancy pamphlet.
  • What is the Boarding time? Boarding time vs Departure Time.
    All of the dive times listed on our website and your confirmation email are BOARDING times. Meaning the time you need to be at the boat. We depart after everyone has signed in and safety briefings completed. We give Boarding times not Departure times.
  • What are your trip minimums?
    Trip Minimums: Trips must meet a minimum number of passengers to run, pre-purchased Tickets count towards this minimum. Minimum Numbers: ➢ 2 Dive Trip -- 5 Passengers
  • What is your cancellation policy, if I need to cancel?
    Cancellation by the Customer: All Customers are responsible for giving the required notification of cancellation via email as per our policies listed below. To receive a full credit or refund the following must be observed: - Individual Ticket holders - 72 hours before the boarding time of the trip -Groups of 4-8 - 7 days (168 hours) before the boarding time of the trip -Groups of 8+ - 15 days before the boarding time of the trip ➢ Cancellations received from individuals or groups with less than the above-stated notice, from the beginning of the scheduled trip, the Ticket holder or group will be charged the list price for the trip and will not be eligible for a credit, refund, or rain-check, and forfeit all charges for the full list price of the trip. ➢ If a Voucher is used the voucher holder will be charged the full list price for the trip for "No-Shows." ➢ A valid Credit Card must be held on file for any reservation, in the case of such an event, if no credit card is on file the reservation is considered invalid. ➢ Requests for refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing (or email) no later than 7 days after the trip. I do my best to be reasonable about cancellations due to illness or emergencies. Please do not abuse this.
  • What if the boat cancels? What if the weather is bad?
    We are firmly committed to running ALL trips possible and will do everything in our power to do so! We are also committed to your safety! We do not cancel trips lightly, we do our best to respect your travel time, travel plans, etc. We consult the Noaa Regional forecast, and several micro-climate local forecasts. We make the best decision possible based on the information available. ALL CANCELLATIONS WILL BE VIA EMAIL - Please make sure you check your emails up to the night before the trip. If you are traveling from out of town PLEASE, check with me 3-5 days before your trip and ask how the forecast is looking! We typically make decisions 12-24 hours prior to the trip, but I am happy to look at the forecast and let you know if there is any crazy or iffy weather predicted. ➢ Marissa Charters Owners / Captains reserve the right to cancel any trip for any reason, at any time, and within any time frame. ➢ In the case of cancellation due to inclement or hazardous weather and/or sea conditions, a refund will be issued. We are more than happy to reschedule your trip for you, just let us know :)
  • Do you accept OLD Marissa Dive Charters tickets?
    Yes! Mostly :) Given that these tickets are SO old and most were sold before we took over the boat in late 2009 and therefore did not see the income produced by these tickets. We have decided to accept the paid value on the tickets for you to use towards open boat trips. Unfortunately, do to some fake tickets that were reproduced, we require a bit of information first. We require the ticket to be intact (both stubs present). Ticket numbers and a photo of the tickets must be emailed to us to verify the tickets are still valid. Once we validate them we will work with you and schedule your first trip for you. Then bring any tickets included in your request to the boat on your scheduled dive day. We will then exchange them for an online code you can use anytime :) on our online system. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you out with us!
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