So there seems to be more to do in Silicon Valley than just conquer the tech world and tour vineyards. It's ABALONE season! I don't exactly know what this means, but if you click on the link above, it will take you to a story in the Mercury News (Silicon Valley's Daily Planet) that will more than adequately inform you of all things abalone.
Apparently, these things are a delicacy. There are a lot of restrictions like - you can't use scuba gear! You have to just free dive (that's diver speak for just holding your breath and going to the bottom until you need to come up for air - I don't see the point, but I guess these Abalone people are into it). And get this! Standard visibility is just 5-6 feet! So basically, you can't see anything, you have no tank or reg or any way to breathe, and temperatures can be in the upper 40s! (That's Fahrenheit - 4 degrees Celsius!) You also need particular gear (including a mollusk scraper) and a sport fishing license. You're only allowed 3 per day or 24 per year, and there's a black market for these little sea critters of up to $100 per abalone. It's also pretty risky because they have to rescue about 50 people per season.
Has anyone ever done this who wants to weigh in? I love diving, but I'm not going through this for shellfish. Also, their numbers are dwindling. Here's a pretty good report on the ecological issues regarding abaolone:
Thanks to that website (U.S. Gov) for the photo as well! Very educational. Also, thanks to my marine biology professor in college because I still remember that mollusks have radial symmetry (and I think they're gastropods, too!).
Hugs and fishes,