It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Beto's Reef

We dove at Lobos today. We went to Beto's Reef, which we have never been to before. But we have asked various people for directions out there, so we had a pretty good idea of how to get there. We planned to swim out to the Lone Metridium and then head north from there. We also wanted to do some drills, which I decided we should do first, since I like to get the un-fun part of the dive over with first. We decided we'd drop in about 20 feet of water and do the drills, and then ascend (since one of the drills was a bag shoot) and swim out further on the surface before starting the "real" dive. For that, we planned to spend no more than 40 minutes below 70 feet, based on some sample profiles we ran in DecoPlanner. I was leading the dive; for some reason, I haven't led a dive in a while. More on that later.

We got into the water at about 10, and swam a little bit out along the sand channel. We dropped in 20-ish feet of water, and I did a valve drill. Well, first I puttered around a little bit, because last time we dove, I felt head heavy, which made no sense at all since I hadn't changed my rig at all. But everything seemed fine today. So then I did my valve drill, which went smoothly, except my loserly RSI-riddled left arm was a little slow with shutting down the left post... I can open it super fast, but closing it was slow. Then I shot my bag, and we went up to 10 feet, where Rob did a valve drill and hung out maskless for a bit. Then we headed up. 14 minutes, 24 feet, 50 degrees

We swam out a bit further. Rob likes to swim out super far, which I don't really get. The extra 5 minutes in the sand channel isn't really going to make that much of a difference in terms of gas or deco! So I insisted we drop earlier than usual, since I was, after all, the captain :P We dropped in about 40 feet of water. But it didn't look like 40' because the viz was excellent. Once I started to descend, I thought it looked like the bottom was right there. We descended into a bunch of juvenile rockfish, next to a bunch of senoritas. We swam out along the sand channel (after Rob insisted we do so via his wetnotes... what a pushy #2!) until we hit Hole in the Wall. On the way, I saw a rainbow surfperch (which I only recognized because yesterday I was looking at the various surfperch in my fish id book, to try to id those red fish from Friday). I also saw a really big, really red vermilion rockfish (my favorite rockfish). Rob pointed out a giant green anemone in the sand, which was in a pretty odd spot... just off by himself in the middle of the sand channel. We also came across two snails mating. From hole in the wall, we cut over towards the Lone Metridium. Rob was periodically trying to take over as captain, because I guess I wasn't swimming fast enough for him. He is such a bad #2, I guess he just needs more practice :P I saw 4 sea lions (swimming in pairs) on the way. Rob was oblivious, and by the time I told him, they were gone. Right around here, my computer started going crazy. Apparently I had accidentally put it into this very annoying mode where after the "first dive", it reset to use air for deco purposes, and 50% for ppO2 purposes. So once I got to about 60 feet, I was over my ppO2 limit. It kept beeping and flashing, and taking me off of the screen that showed bottom time. Super annoying! After passing a couple of the parallel walls, and not seeing the Lone Metridium, I decided we must have missed him. So I just headed north from there, since I figured we couldn't be too far. We did our travel at 70'. It was a nice, though uneventful swim -- some little rockfish, but not much else to see in midwater. Out here, the viz was probably about 50 feet.

Rob kept crowding me as we swam (we're in the middle of nowhere... no rocks, no kelp, and he can't give me some personal space!?!), and then he starts moving his arm around in my space. So I pushed his hand away, only to realize he was pointing out that Beto's Reef was to our right. Whoops. So we swam over to it. After first I was like... is this it? It wasn't as exciting looking at first as, say, the Three Sisters. Then I saw the elephant ear sponges! There were a bunch of those. There were a lot of rockfish peering out from cracks, and several scallops. There was some hydrocoral, but not the beautiful big bushy ones, just some smaller, flatter, purple stuff. I also came across a really small vermilion rockfish. Like juvenile-sized, but he was red (my fish book shows them to be pretty brownish when they are juvenile, so perhaps this one was slightly older than that). He was so cute, I wanted to pinch his cheeks. Rob told me there would be gorgonians here, and he finally found one. It was pretty deep though, below our previously-establish 100 foot max depth (not that that stopped Rob from swimming down to take a picture). Then we turned a corner and I saw 4 more in one spot, a little shallower. Rob got some pictures of me posing with them. We saw a few more throughout the dive. There were also a lot of nudibranchs out there. Nothing too exciting -- some yellow dorids, San Diego dorids, some white dorids whose identification I'm not certain about. Rob said he saw a festive triton, but he didn't show it to me :( Rob also found a big ling (not quite Lingzilla though) which he took a few pictures of.

I turned the dive basically simultaneously on gas and time. We headed back in a slightly different direction than we came, because I had become convinced we could swim directly back to Hole in the Wall, instead of going further west and then backtracking. We passed Sea Mount on the way in, which we unfortunately did not really have time to check out, but now we know where it is. Next time we got to Beto's Reef, I will plan to spend some time there on one leg. We ran right into Hole in the Wall, and swam along the back (west) side of it. After that, Rob apparently decided he was captain again. He claimed that since he was running deco, as soon as he started giving commands to ascend to a depth, he was in charge. Since he took us up to 70 feet basically as soon as we left Beto's Reef, I think that is a pretty bogus claim. Anyhoo, he swam us across the sand channel over to Middle Reef, and we hung out at 30' over there for a bit. Then we headed in along the sand channel. Because my computer was in this super annoying mode, it had given me a 27 minute deco obligation (at 10 feet, of course :P). For some reason, Rob felt compelled to make the computer happy. I was like... whatever, I'm not hanging out at 10' for an extra 10 minutes! (That's what was left by the time we were done with all the stops we wanted to do.) So I convinced him to blow off the last 5 minutes. Just because you forget to put your computer in gauge mode doesn't mean you have to listen to it. We ascended really close to the ramp and even though the tide was a bit lower than it was on entrance, I managed to get myself out without flopping around on my knees :) 91 minutes, 101 feet, 47 degrees

As an aside, I really hate my computer, because if I put it into gauge mode, and then it shuts off, when I turn it back on, it has reset back into non-gauge mode. So I often end up diving it in air mode, and occasionally bending it since I'm not actually diving air.

As another aside, I really need to whip Rob into shape, re: being not the leader! I usually have a rule about not saying mean things about people on my blog, but since it is Rob, I think it's alright to make fun of him :) But he's actually an excellent dive buddy :)

We went to Turtle Bay for lunch. Yum yum.

All of today's pictures are here.

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