It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Team Kitty Rides Again

Since Ken and Claudette were visiting from SoCal, it seemed like everyone came to Lobos to dive today. Kevin had made a great point of saying that he was not committing to diving with anyone in particular this weekend, but especially not Team Kitty :) Jonathan had some spare scooters for us to borrow, and as it turned out, there were six of us planning to scoot over to Granite Point. We decided to do two teams of three, and somehow, we ended up diving with Kevin. The plan was to go out to Granite Point, and go to some of the pinnacles further north than we go when we swim. Rob was leading the dive, and I was in my usual (for scootering) #2 position :) Thanks to Ben Villao for the below scooter lineup picture.

Somehow it ended up that everyone descended on the ramp to get into the water at once. Once I got my fins out and bobbed off the end of the ramp, I realized there were tons of heads bobbing around in the water, with their nearly identical Otter Bay hoods and mostly black masks :) I managed to find my team, and Kevin quickly decreed that we would not be surface scooting to the sand channel -- the viz in the cove was spectacular, so he wanted to drop right there at the ramp. So, we did, although Rob made him lead to the sand channel (ever since Rob got us lost on scooters between the ramp and the sand channel, he claims he "can't" find his way from the ramp to the sand channel). Once we got to the sand channel, Rob took over as knucklehead, I mean leader. We scooted out along the sand channel, and then headed to Granite Point Wall. After 2 minutes, we were there. Then we headed north until we got to an area with some hydrocoral. The first area that we stopped at was a spot we'd been to once before on scooters, on a day when all of the hydrocoral had eel grass wrapped in it. Some of the pieces still had eel grass in them, but not nearly as badly as before. Rob took some pictures while we poked around (or I did anyway). I saw a couple of Festive Tritons out there, and tried to force Kevin to look at one, but he resisted and looked at a small rockfish instead.

We swam around a bit while Rob found nice pieces of hydrocoral to take pictures of. He was setting me up behind one piece, and while he was taking a picture, I noticed a nice bushy Phidiana hiltoni. We continued out along the rocks and pinnacles, and eventually we came to a couple of cool spots with narrow canyons between rock formations. Those were fun to scooter through. At one of them, we stopped for a while, and Kevin and I did a few passes over Rob while he took pictures. We ended up getting pretty shallow; we were at about 40 feet by the time we turned. In the shallows out near the end, it really reminded me of Monastery. So many colorful encrustations; the rocks were colored with cotton candy colors. We turned the dive and headed back over to the wall before we headed out over the sand.

I didn't have a compass on my scooter (which was annoying, since I had to actually use the compass on my arm :P), but I was getting pretty suspicious about the direction we were going for a little while. Eventually Rob corrected, but as a result, we came upon middle reef from the east side, unlike from the north like we usually do. So we got to see a different area of middle reef, which was neat. We cut across it to the west, and then we saw the familiar deep nudibranch transects. The visibility had deteriorated substantially, I assume because of the tide going out. Rob led us right along the wall on the east side of middle reef. All of a sudden, there were divers everywhere, and I realized that we'd found Ted, Matt, Don and Elissa. They were right near where the warbonnets live, so Rob went ahead and tried to find them. He was looking and looking and couldn't find them, and so the other four left. Of course right after they left, he found one in his hole. Kevin and I both took a look and then we headed in. We scooted all the way into the ramp until we saw the lines of the floats next to the ramp, and ascended from 5 feet. Rob shot a bag before we ascended, hehehe. 79 feet, 94 minutes, 51 degrees

The tide had gone out a lot by the time we got out, so the water was pretty low on the ramp. But it wasn't too too low, so I managed to get myself, and my scooter out without embarrassing myself (although I almost tripped over another diver sloshing around on the ramp :( but my hands were a little too full to help). Ben came running down and took my scooter, and then he insisted on giving me an arm to hold onto. What a gentleman :P In the confusion of getting everyone and their stuff out of the water, Rob must have dropped his SMB, because Ken noticed it bobbing around to the south of the ramp about halfway to the beach after we were all out of the water and out of our gear. Rob grabbed a scooter and surface scooted over to pick it up. As he was scooting back with the SMB, a seal became interested and was following right behind him. It was so cute.

We had been planning on doing two dives, but I was kind of feeling like going to eat instead, so Rob did a second dive with Ken, Claudette, and Ben, while I went to lunch with everyone else (mmm, Gianni's). At lunch, we watched David's video of their dive to the Twin Peaks area. It was pretty neat; I am sure he will publish something soon.

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