It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Back to Mount Chamberlain

Saturday we were on the Escapade with John and Matt. The original reason for the boat was that Jim wanted to dive, but he couldn't find an alternate captain, so he drove and didn't get to dive. Poor Jim :( There was a lot of doom and gloom in the forecast. We were staying at Cynthia's apartment with Kevin, and before Kevin left to go to Lobos, he mumbled something about the buoy reading either 11 feet at 14 seconds or 14 feet at 11 seconds. And that if the boat wasn't going out, he had some Lobos reservations we could use. Boat not going out? Yea right. When we walked down to the boat to chat with Jim before bringing our gear down, he made us all feel like sissies for even hinting at the possibility of not going out. So we loaded the boat and headed out to check it out. Jim told us that there was big swell and little wind in the morning and it was supposed to change to small swell and big wind in the afternoon. The swell was big but long period, so I thought the boat ride down was pretty comfortable. Rob, John and crew were in the wheelhouse, while Matt and I were on deck. So our destination was a total mystery to Matt and me. We decided that Jim really needs a tin can on a string so that we can communicate with them. As we passed Point Lobos, we figured we were headed to one of two sites near Yankee Point -- Mount Chamberlain or the Dos Gatos/Nixies area. We landed at Mount Chamberlain, on K2.

Jim had been diving at K2 the day before, and lost one of his balls again (you know, the heavy thingy that holds the down line down). This time it was connected to a 150' piece of downline. Apparently while the boat was following him on the drift, the downline magically came detached from the float and the float magically ended up in some fisherman's boat. So we were asked to send a bag up on the end of the line if we happened upon it. We lamented the fact that Kevin wasn't with us to demonstrate the correct technique for retrieving one of Jim's balls. We were expecting some monster current since there had been monster current the day before. There was definitely a surface current; after I jumped in the water by the time I popped back to the surface I felt like I had to fight like hell just to get back to the boat to grab my scooter. But once we dropped there didn't seem to be much current, and the downline was quite vertical. It definitely wasn't like the day before. We headed down and before we really even saw the reef we saw the bright white downline from yesterday snaking around the reef. We followed the line to the ball, Rob monkeyed around with it briefly so it would be reasonably easy to pull (although apparently it wasn't). Then we followed the line to the end, moving it around any points of entanglement as we went. Rob put his big bag up on it. I was thinking he should have put his small bag up, since we could use the big bag to, ya know, be found by the boat at the end of the dive. Turns out it was a good thing he used the big bag. Apparently the bag was only above water for part of each swell cycle. Hmm. I really don't understand the geometry of that... the line was supposed to be 150 feet, the ball was at less than 120 feet, and the downline that we followed down was vertical. Even my Barbie trigonometry skills suggest that it should have worked. I guess there wasn't actually 150 feet of line.

Once that was finished, we were off. We had landed on the east side of the reef, a bit north of the peak, just by the little 100-ish foot plateau north of the main peak. From there we headed north. I have been to the east/southeast side of K2 many times, but I've never gone to the north end. I don't think I have been further north than the main peak before. I didn't realize how deep it is if you keep going north. After the little plateau, it is about 170' to the bottom and by the north side, it is 210-ish, I'd guess. If I had known that, I might not have planned an average depth of 150' :) When we got to about the northern tip, where there were some elephant ear sponges, we stopped so Rob could take some pics. There were also the usual gorgonians around. I also spied a bunch of Dotos. The viz was definitely a bit better than the day before, and it wasn't quite as dark. Still not great viz though. We hopped over to the northwest corner, and stop for another photo shoot. Rob made me pose behind an elephant ear sponge. At this point we were at the top of the pinnacle (or a little plateau offshoot anyway), and the surge really picked up. It made posing for pics interesting :P

Eventually we decide to head shallower so we continued south back to around where we started. We finished off the last couple of minutes of the dive on the plateau just north of the main peak. Then when it was time to start the ascent, we went over to the main peak. We didn't get swept off of the peak by the current this time, but it was rather surgy. The deco was pretty uneventful. When we surfaced, it had gotten a bit sportier (I guess the wind had picked up). That plus the surface current made it a bit of a pain to get back on the boat. It didn't help that bending down to remove my fins made me feel like my bladder was going to burst!

On the way back, we saw a few Risso's. The ride back was pretty smooth. I even made it up to the wheelhouse when we were stopped to watch the dolphins :) After talking about going someplace different or interesting for lunch, we ended up at Papa Chano's.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Apparently the bag was only above water for part of each swell cycle. Hmm. I really don't understand the geometry of that... the line was supposed to be 150 feet, the ball was at less than 120 feet, and the downline that we followed down was vertical. Even my Barbie trigonometry skills suggest that it should have worked. I guess there wasn't actually 150 feet of line.

Maybe the fisherman pulled up some of the line, then cut it.

Nice descriptions!! :)