It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, March 28, 2008


On Friday, Kevin, Susan, Rob, and I went diving off of Phil's boat. We had originally been planning to go to E3, but Susan had been diving in the E3-ish area the previous day, and reported terrible viz (and that it was night dive dark at depth). So we decided to try heading south to get some cleaner water. We talked about the various sites down by Yankee Point and decided to try for Flintstones. Phil's talk about the topside conditions worried me, but the ride down turned out to be fine once we got south of Lobos. The weather topside was really nice. It was a great day to be out on the water.

When we got down near Flintstones, Phil motored around finding the deep and shallow spots. He dropped the anchor in about 100 feet, and pointed us in the direction of the side that drops down to 160 or 170 feet (Rob and Kevin were very concerned about making use of their 18/45). We got in, and swam like hell against the current to get down to the structure. The water was very green and yucky on the way down. Eventually we broke through to clearer water, but there was still a lot of particulate. When we got down to the structure, we were on top of a plateau next to the main pinnacle, in about 100 or 110 feet. We were still basically on top of the structure, though, so we had no protection from the current. We fought our way to the edge, and then dropped down into a little channel between two walls, where we finally got some relief from the current. It was about 150 feet to the bottom of this channel. We swam down it (Kevin was leading), and found a boulder at the end of the channel. We came around a corner, and eventually made our way to another, even narrower channel with the bottom at around 170 feet. It was narrow enough that two divers swimming abreast was cozy in spots. The walls were covered with corynactis and the other usual fare. We eventually started to work our way up the reef, and we ascended the walls of the channel and up over the structure. Then we hopped along some of the smaller structures off to the side of the main pinnacle. The visibility was probably around 40 feet at the bottom, but it was really dark, due to all the junk in the water column.

So, we eventually worked our way up the reef. We found a lone metridium that was open and posing for a picture. I tried to orchestrate a team picture, but Kevin just doesn't get it when it comes to team pictures. I guess he just wants all of the camera's attention to himself :) I have to say that things got a lot more colorful from about 120 feet up. However, the topography was more interesting deeper. The only critter that I saw that I thought was particularly cool was a simnia snail. Other than that, it was just a colorful dive (as it always is at Flintstones). Eventually, it was time to go, and we left the reef at about 100'. As soon as we left it, the current was moving us along pretty quickly. When we were at 70', I looked up and saw reef again. We were sailing past the shallow part of the main pinnacle.

The rest of the ascent was pretty uneventful, but we were joined by a menagerie of gelatinous animals. First, I saw two separate little salp chains (both quite small, not very impressive looking). Then at about 30 feet, I saw a moon jelly. At 20 feet, we saw a really cool jelly below us, that was all sprawled out as if it were playing dead. When I shined my light on it, it popped to life and started swimming fast towards us, and it looked much more compact while swimming, like it had pulled its tentacles in. I don't know for sure what this is, but I suspect it to be Aglantha digitale, although depending where you read, it is possibly out of range for us. So I don't really know. At 10 feet (and maybe 20 too), we saw a Pleurobrachia bachei, giving us a nice light show. There was also a solitary sea nettle swimming by. Oh, and at the bottom, I saw a Solmissus sp. I think. 168 feet, 66 minutes, 48 degrees

When we got to the surface, it was calmer than when we got in. It was amazingly calm, in fact. Phil told us that he saw a group of six whales swim by while we were in the water. Then, on the way in, we saw whales pretty far off. We headed in their direction and watched them for a bit. At one point, we were lined up for a perfect head-on view of a fluke, and also a head-on view of their bodies as they breached. There were at least three, I think.

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