|Been there, done that? How may times have you dived the same site? Of course, you want to have as wide a variety of dive sites as possible in your log book, but sometimes diving the same location multiple times can be quite interesting.
First, dive sites change. It had been a long time since I had dived the Avalon Underwater Park. This last Memorial Day I had again the opportunity to dive the Park. I was doing a kind of "refresher" for my two younger sons who had not been in the water in a while. Only my youngest son had dived the park before. I wanted to give them a tour over two dives. I thought I knew the park well, so on the second dive I was going to show them around the small wrecks in front of the stairs and to the west (left of the stairs). A couple of these are small fiberglass sailboats. But at first I couldn't find them. They had moved! While the Avalon Underwater Park is not known for its heavy seas and strong currents, they do occasionally strike and move thing around. Objects on the bottom move and change. Sometimes the bottom itself changes. A few years ago a major underwater bottom shift changed at the La Jolla Submarine Canyon altering the face of this dramatic slope considerably. Kelp forests come and go. Marine life profiles shift. Urchin and brittle-star barrens come and go. Fish populations move about. With seasonal changes, climatic shifts (such as El Niño and La Niña), various varieties of marine life come and go. Dive sites most assuredly change.
Second, with repeated diving the same site, especially under varied conditions, you simply see more. The second or third time around, you will see different reef formations, or the same formations from different angles and perspectives. Different water clarity will also change the "look" of a dive site. Poor water quality will force you to concentrate more on the macro. Better visibility gives you an excellent overall look at the same terrain. I have dived the Redondo Submarine Canyon probably a hundred times. While a fun dive, it is a site with usually less than stellar visibility. But one particular dive a few years back, we had 40 feet of visibility. Upon rising, I was able to look at the gentle contours on the bottom that I previously thought was flat. And for a completely different perspective, dive the same site at night, dusk or dawn. The marine life is different and behaves differently.
Finally, not only do you get to see a greater variety of marine life types, you can even become familiar with individual animals. At the Avalon Underwater Park, "Oscar" the big male sheephead has now been a fixture for some time. A few years ago I was diving the old Redondo Pier about every two weeks all summer long. I got to know an octopus on a friendly level in such away that I could hand feed it easily. "Spot" I called him (or her). A sort of trust almost seemed to have developed.
The next time you have the opportunity to dive the same dive site where you've been before, take it! You'll be surprised at what you see with a different perspective.