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Me diving

Friday, February 15, 2008

Fun Friday with Phil

We took Friday off to go diving with Kevin and Susan on Phil's RIB, to put our new Tech 1 skills to use :P We were originally talking about doing E3, but then Phil suggested a nearby spot, a bit further west, so we went there. The topography was a series of ridges/pinnacles with little sandy gaps between them. The top was somewhere around 70 feet, and the sand varied from 100' to a bit over 150' (maybe more, we didn't go down there). When we headed out, there was a really low tide, and I was glad I wasn't shore diving, especially because the ramp was really overgrown with juicy algae. The forecast was for conditions to build throughout the day, but it was quite calm when we headed out. After a brief steam (as Rob likes to say) northwest of Whaler's, we got to our destination. After a brief review, we flopped, err, rolled in. My flop off of Phil's boat is definitely less graceful with the deco bottle; I will have to work on that.

We were diving as a foursome; I was leading, followed by Rob. Kevin and Susan got in a bitter fight over who would be three and who would be four, but after three rounds of roshambo did not resolve it, I decreed that Susan would be three, and Kevy-poo four. We followed the line down and could see the structure clearly from about 40 or 50 feet. As soon as it came into view,
the first thing I noticed was some very pretty hydrocoral shrubs. We hit the structure around 70 or 80 feet, and after my ears recovered from the descent, I headed to the right. We swam along, descending as we went, eventually reaching about 140 feet. There were lots of elephant ear sponges and gorgonians. I noticed that there was another structure off to our right across a little sand channel. Rob suggested we go check it out, so we swam over to it. There was a nice big elephant ear right where we intercepted it, and more gorgonians. It was quite colorful over there. After a brief photo shoot, we headed back to the original structure, and continued along it. I saw a Festive Triton, and tried to show it to Rob, but couldn't find it again. I gave up pretty quickly, since it wasn't exciting enough to search for :) Shortly before the end of that ridge, I found a Dendronotus albus, which was exciting enough to search for again to show to Rob. I finally found it the second time because the kelp that it was on had several egg bundles on it as well. We came to the end of the ridge, and at the end there were some knobs sticking up out of it, which were very colorful -- they were covered in strawberry anemones, yellow sponge, small stalks of hydrocoral, and there were lots of small elephant ears on the rocks below. And did I mention the big school of small blue rockfish hanging out in the water column right off of the structure? We hung there for a little while while Rob took pictures, and then we circled around to the other side.

The other side had more interesting topography. There were some cracks and overhangs, and in one area, a nearly vertical section rose up above us. The cave divers among us could not resist the temptation to stick their heads into one particularly dramatic vertical crack, but there were just a few rockfish in there. There was yet another structure across an even narrower sand channel on this side. At some point they came pretty close together, and it was super surgy in the channel between them. We swam through the channel, and on the other side, the bottom came up shallower, to probably about 110'. Strangely, it seemed much brighter and bluer on that side. However, there wasn't nearly as much life on that end of the reef. At this point, it was time to start the ascent, so I handed that over to Susan, and suggested we head back in the direction we came from, since it was quite surgy where we were. We started our ascent as we swam in that direction. I noticed Rob was trying to squeeze in a few shots during our deep stops, because there were some nice hydrocoral shrubs. In hindsight, I think that the 80' to 100' range was very nice, and we should have spent more time there. We left the structure around 80'. A few minutes after Kevin put the bag up, I heard Phil revving the engine above, which was a welcome sign. About twenty minutes later, we hit the surface after an uneventful ascent (except for that horrible leg cramp I got at 7' :P). 148 feet, 60 minutes, 52 degrees

After we got back in the boat (which was a bit of an ordeal, as I nearly strangled myself with my necklace while doffing my gear, and my deep water exit is weak to say the least), we headed in. The conditions had picked up since we launched. There were some nasty big waves around the Cannery Point rocks. The period of the swell was really long, so in the cove it was reasonably calm, but every now and then, there would be a big swoosh. This basically made for the worst possible conditions on the ramp -- really low tide, with big powerful waves sloshing across the bottom of the ramp. We ran into Jonathan on his way out for a dive as we were pulling into the ramp. Getting the boat on the trailer looked like it was going to be dicey, but Phil got us out without too much difficulty. I guess it was a bit of a spectacle, though, since there were some onlookers watching it. After that, we retreated to Siamese Bay for some post-dive chow.

The rest of the pictures are here.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Nice report, Alison, as usual. Good pix too. Have a go-round for me; I'm quarantined with the flu and won't see any diving for a couple of weeks. And between you and me, I may go off to the caves so it will be WARM water.
Take care,
Barbara, Sheck, and Fannie