In two separate incidents over the weekend, two Bay Area men diving for abalone along the Sonoma Coast at Fort Ross State Park and at Salt State State Park.

On Saturday at Salt Point, emergency responders found San Francisco resident Clyde Thompson, 67, floating in the water. He was brought to shore and pronounced dead, according to the Press Democrat newspaper. The man’s girlfriend last saw him at 9 a.m. when he set out for a morning of diving, Stinson said. She called authorities at about noon when he didn’t return. State Parks lifeguards found the man’s floatation device about 75 yards off shore, and soon found the man floating in the water about 50 yards to the south of the float.

A Lifeguard watches divers at Salt Point State Park in August.

A Lifeguard watches divers at Salt Point State Park in August.

On Sunday, Oakland resident Alan Rosenlicht, 57, was pronounced dead after emergency divers found him unresponsive in the water at Fort Ross State Park. He was reportedly diving off Kolmer Gulch on the northern end of Fort Ross State Park. Other divers had noticed an unattended floatation device on the surface and dove down to check on the diver when they discovered he was unconscious. Timber Cove fire and a State Parks lifeguards responded and CPR was administered but he could not be revived. He had reportedly been diving alone, and it was unknown how long he had been in the water.

Conditions on the north coast, from Bodega to Mendocino, were reported to be very good, with very calm water and up to 20 feet of visibility reported at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino County. Still, with water temperatures in the low 50’s, abalone diving requires extremely good physical fitness, stamina, and experience to safely dive in even the best conditions.

Abalone Diving the Sonoma Coast
A Close Call in Kelp