The Intolerable Cold Tundra of Tropical Diving

Some people get very cold while diving. And I’m not even talking about ice diving, or even diving in Northern California.  I’m talking about Tropical Diving, which can be in between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.  We call those people “little bitches”.

I wear a wetsuit that looks like long underwear cuz i'm a LITTLE BITCH.

But I come forward today to tell you that I am indeed one of those little bitches. I get cold.  I get cold just thinking about it.  When I take baths I boil the water first.  If my skin isn’t on the verge of scalding, I’m shivering.  So I’ve taken to wearing at least a 5 millimeter wetsuit in the tropics.  I won’t even tell you what I wear diving in Southern California, which is about 54 degrees right now, in the dead of (so-cal) winter (it is akin to what people might wear if they ventured up to the North Pole).

I had no idea what I was in store for. First boat dive 2008, Channel Islands. 7mill and 3mill hooded vest. gloves. and blinding optimism.

Putting on a thick wetsuit makes me feel like a kid in the winter time.  When you see a baby in his mama’s arms and he’s so bundled up he can’t even put his arms all the way down.  That’s how I look in a wetsuit, my arms held stiffly out.  I’d wear a hooded vest in the tropics if my pride wasn’t so diminished already. Because you see, I envy those people who go out in a rash guard. Those girls in bikinis while diving, they look like true Merbabes. Me? I’m a Merbabe in a half inch of neoprene.

It’s not my fault.  I’ll let you in on a secret.  I’m a Southern California kind of girl.  And, contrary to popular belief, we have seasons here.  Almost 4, but more like 2 for all general purposes. Hoodie season and bikini season.  Now, there’s a lot of overlap there.  Hoodie season lasts all year, but during bikini season, you only wear your hoodie for the beginning part of the day, until the marine layer burns off.  Also, you bring your hoodie to the beach, because it does get a little chilly.  Now, there are days of “bikini season” during hoodie season.  Heat waves in January, and such.

By virtue of this fact, my body has become finely tuned to the warmer temperatures.   In Southern California,  we know out of towners because they are wearing SHORTS in the winter.  Regardless of the fact that it is 77 degrees, it’s hoodie season (we may exaggerate this fact some).  And I find myself often wearing a jacket in the Caribbean, at night (and sweating) because, god dammit, I might feel a little chilly. As such,  I am perplexed by those people who act like diving in a water temperature that is cooler than body temperature is some kind of hot tub experience. But as much as I am perplexed, I am jealous. Cheers to you,  warm bloods. The more I dive, the more of a little bitch I become.

This icy tundra will chill you to the bone.

How do you stay warm, diver diver?

It’s like, we get it guys

6 thoughts on “The Intolerable Cold Tundra of Tropical Diving

  1. I am the exact opposite I guess. I don’t really get cold. I mean I pretty much wore shorts year round back in Humboldt. But night time there is shorts and a hoodie. I guess in Northern Ca I wear a 7mm hood, booties, wetsuit, and 3mm gloves. In the tropics I wear a 2mm shorty.

  2. Andy

    Feeling cold has nothing to do with it. Warm water hypothermia can be serious. Your body wants to be 98.6 degrees – swimming around in 80 degree water for a long time can be a problem, especially if you make several dives in a day. Mammals use most of their calories keeping body temperature up [which is why snakes eat once a year, we eat like pigs] which explains why you’re so hungry after diving, warm water or cold. So there!

    1. Don’t worry Andy. I know about warm water hypothermia, and all that jazz. But some people get way colder than others, and I’m just poking fun. Mostly at myself and other chief complainers of cold. For instance, Eric, who only dives Trop and won’t put a toe in BC. 🙂

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