It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, December 14, 2007

Playing with Line at Point Lobos

We took Friday off to do a little line clinic with Beto at Point Lobos. We brought Kevin along even though he is a line expert (they don't call him Cave Diver Kevin for nothing) so we could also practice some other stuff with Beto around to watch. It was really chilly on the surface when we first got there; it was pretty overcast and a little windy. First we did some land drills with the reel (with our gloves on and goodman handle on our hands). It was mostly the stuff that Kevin has shown us before, but we practiced in a little wooded spot behind the cabin at Whaler's, and I think that tying off to tree branches is more interesting practice than the Breakwater parking meters. It went pretty well, although reeling in was really hurting my hand, though I suspected it would be easier in the water, when the reel is much less heavy. But I did find a better hand position than I previously used. After we did the basics, we also covered how to follow the line out in zero viz. That was pretty funny, especially every time we came to a tie off and I smacked into Rob when he stopped :)

We had some snacks and finally made it into the water in the early afternoon. The plan was to do some valve drills and S-drills in midwater, then to head to the bottom and run some line along the sand channel. Beto pointed out that palm kelp is a very convenient place to tie off, which I never would have considered. When we got into the water, I could not believe how clear it was. The water right near the ramp was probably as clean as I have ever seen it. We were all excited at the prospect of great viz. On the way out, we passed Phil Sammet, who was on the way in from a similar dive he was doing with students. He told us the viz was terrible on the sand channel. Hmph. So, we headed out until we were in about 30 feet, and descended to 20. Around 20 feet, the water went from incredibly clean and clear to really murky. We did our drills, which were pretty uneventful, except that my valve drill sucked, so I did a second one at the end in an attempt to redeem myself :P After that, we dropped down, and I played with the reel first. The viz was incredibly bad, and it was super surgy. Tying the line was painful because I kept getting jerked around by the surge. I laid line as we headed out along the sand channel for about 15 minutes. Then we turned around and I reeled in. My team kept leaving me in their dust, since I am always pokey but even pokier when there is line cleanup involved.

We finally got back to the start and Rob took his turn. As soon as he got his reel out and picked a spot for the primary tie, his reel sort of exploded. His reel was super filled with line, and Beto had suggested it might be easier if he cut some of it off; he wasn't kidding. I held the end of the line while Rob cleaned it up (which he did impressively quickly and gracefully). Then we got back to business and he laid line along the sand channel, taking a very similar route to the one I took (no creativity...). After nearly 15 minutes, I was super cold, so I told him, let's turn around. He tied off the reel (because he for some reason loves doing that), and then I thought he told Kevin to reel in, although it made no sense to me. I don't exactly know what transpired, but in any case, next thing I knew, Kevin was heading out further, and he was not handling the reel. After a couple of tie offs (which of course were super fast and slick), I told him it was time to head in. He reeled in back to where he had started and then handed the reel to Rob, who reeled in. In the very murky viz, it was a little hard to keep everyone in site, but I think by the end of it, we figured out how to arrange ourselves so that we weren't in Rob's way, but we could all keep track of each other. After Rob finished reeling in, I took over as el capitan again, and took us in. After just a minute or two, I decided I was just too cold and thumbed it. After a little discussion about whether I really wanted to ascend or swim in further (I won't say who asked, but amazingly, it was not Rob), Rob shot a back and up we went. Once we hit the surface, I realized I was seriously wet. I super-inflated my suit and laid on the surface to warm up a bit. Kevin and Beto wanted to go back down and swim in underneath, since we had finally hit 20', where the viz was awesome. So after I warmed up, Rob and I went back down too. We swam in, checking out the moon jellies and little blue rockfish on the way. The water was so clear, it would have been a great day to snorkel in the cove. 102 minutes, 48 ft, 49 degrees

I was even wetter than I thought when I got out of my suit. But that is okay, since I am taking the suit in this week to have some work done and be leak tested anyway. I changed out of my wet clothing and then we did a little debrief in the parking lot. After that, we headed to Turtle Bay for dive 2 :)

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