The swell forecast changed for the worse overnight, and when I arrived at the Breakwater at about 8:45am I'd already heard from Sarah that Lovers Point and Coral Street weren't diveable. I had already figured as much, since I could see the whitewater out on the point from Highway 1 in Marina. There was a good sized swell running into the east wind on Del Monte Beach, and it was pretty, with the spray feathering off the tops of the waves. I thought, "I should have brought my surfboard."
I found Sarah and Michelle at the Breakwater, and we walked out to the steps to survey conditions. There was a good bit of chop and some intermittent 2-3 foot waves helping the tide come in. Waves were breaking on the wall and creating an annoying cross wave as the surf swept up onto the sand. On the grass classes were kitting up, and I saw Ron and Todd, a couple of my instructors who were beginning the last day of an OW class. Michelle knew them too, so we went over and said hello. Todd asked me if I wanted to help with his group, and since it was looking like Sarah, Michelle, and Brad, who had joined us, might thumb the day, I told Todd I might be able to pitch in.
Sure enough, everyone but me decided to go to the aquarium. So I rushed over to my van and got my gear on as fast as I could, since the class was already heading down the steps. Todd told me to catch up with them in the water, and I finally did find them halfway out to the bend.
My job was to stay with two of the students while Todd went below and did drills with the other two. Visibility was so bad that people had to descend holding onto each other.
After everyone had done their drills it was time for the tour part of the dive. A "tour" of the breakwater in surgy, 1 foot visibility is basically miserable. You just scudd along the bottom looking at your compass. But the students were gamers, and they followed Todd around the sand, holding onto each other, while I brought up the rear making sure nobody got disconnected.
Finally it was time for the students to do their last task, which was to navigate their reciprocal course back to the beach. I took two of them while Todd watched the other two. My group, two girls, were undeviating from the 240 degree course I'd dialed in on my compass, so I just followed them across the sand ripples. When it was time to exit it looked like there was just enough surf to make things interesting.
Todd asked me to go in first, ditch my fins, and come back out into the surf zone so I could be there to help the ones he sent in if necessary. The students did a great job getting through the waves to the beach and I had very little to do except help them up if they tipped over. In the picture you can see a few students crawling out near the rocks by the wall.
I ended up calling it a day at that point, feeling happy that I'd got to get wet after all and even help out a little. It was a way to feel better about driving all that way only to find that Mother Nature wasn't showing her most dive-friendly side.