It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, May 8, 2010

K2 and Locals' Ledge

Photo by Clinton Bauder
This weekend there were two BAUE tech boats. We initially signed up for the boat on Sunday, but then there was still space left on Saturday so we decided to dive back to back. I think Rob was trying to make up for time lost in the last few months with classes. So we packed the car to the gills (turns out you can fit 4 sets of doubles, 10 bottles, two scooters, and a camera into a RAV4) and headed down on Friday night. It was pretty windy when we got down there on Friday night, but by Saturday morning, it had calmed down. I don't really know who decided where we would go, but we ended up heading down to K2 at Mount Chamberlin. Rob and I originally talked about dropping on K2, scootering down to the south wall, and then coming back up to K2 for the end of the dive. But at the last minute I remembered that the last time we were at K2, I thought it would be nice to do a dive on the north side -- we had gone around the north side on that dive (for the first time) but didn't get to go very far down the wall. Since we were looking to do a multi-level dive, it seemed like a great spot to go for the deeper portion of the dive. So that's what we did. When we got in the water, the downline looked more or less vertical, though by the time we descended, the boat had drifted over the line, so it was at a steep slope, but not due to current.

Photo by Robert Lee
The viz was incredible. I could see the top of K2 as soon as we emerged from the (only very) slightly murky layer on the top 15 feet. We headed down the pinnacle on the south side and then scootered around the east side. When we got to the north side, we hopped across the sand to a smaller pinnacle from about 150' to 210' (I'm guessing). We scootered across the sand about 20' from the bottom, and it seemed like we could see the ripples in the sand forever. The sand was quite free of critters, except for a lone, big, sunflower star. When we got to the little pinnacle, we noticed that there was a little plateau on top at about 170', and it was teeming with canary rockfish (and a couple vermilions). They seem to always hang out at the bottoms of walls (for instance, at Beto's Reef, they are always right at the rock/sand interface), so this struck me as odd. They tolerated a brief photo shoot with me. When we were finished there, we headed west through the sand channel north of K2. Rob found a Tochuina on a gorgonian in that area. We also found a little swimthrough near the bottom back on K2, which Rob went to recon but decided not to scooter through it.

Photo by Robert Lee
We hopped back over to K2 and came up a bit shallower and then headed back to the east side, stopping for pics here and there. Eventually we ran into Clinton and Mark, and Clinton started taking pics of Rob taking pics of me. It was pretty amusing, because Rob was completely oblivious to it until he was finished. Rob found a patch of bushy hydrocoral, so of course he had to get some pics of that. I entertained myself up at the top of the reef, looking for nudis in the hydroids. I found one Doto and one Dendronotus subramosus. There were also tons of Spanish shawls throughout the dive and a few Dendronotus iris. After Rob finished with the hydrocoral, we headed back to the shallow peak where we were greeted by a huge school of blue rockfish (with the occasional olive and of course a single vermilion). There was also a sheephead cruising around.

On deco, there were a few kinds of jellies, including some sea nettles and two Scrippsia pacifica. A big sea nettle tried to attack Rob while he was switching to backgas at 30', and in one fluid motion, Rob stuck his reg in his mouth and sucker punched the sea nettle. Poor nettle. The water was insanely cold... I had 46 on the bottom consistently, then 48 from 70 up and 50 from 20 up. Brrr. When we got back on the boat, Clinton and Mark reported seeing a ratfish. I was totally jealous!

Photo by Clinton Bauder
For our second dive, we headed to Local's Ledge. Yay! The viz was once again crazy good. You could see all of the little side pinnacles and rubble across the sand from the main structures. We settled on a little pinnaclet off to the side with some nice hydrocoral. Rob found a tiny white slug that neither of us recognized. When we first got to that rock, I could see Mark and Clinton, so I suggested Rob look around for Clinton. He found him and brought him back. Clinton pulled out his camera, rigged for wide-angle, and got ridiculously close to the reef to take some pics. So I figured it was a slug he wasn't familiar with. We think it is Cuthona albocrusta, which none of us has seen before -- pretty cool to find a new to us slug at a site we've all dived so many times! After Clinton finished taking pictures, we headed over to the next rock, which had some particularly picturesque hydrocoral, which Rob and Clinton shot. While they were doing that, I was poking around looking for slugs and found another 4 or 5 of the same slug. I also found a single Cuthona divae and tons of Flabellina trilineatas. Eventually I got cold, and it seemed a reasonable time to thumb the dive, so we headed back to the line and headed up.

Edit: Rob was sad when I posted this that I did not include his favorite picture from the day. I explained that there was only one paragraph for Local's Ledge, so only space for one pic, so it got bumped. Well, here it is:

All of the pictures are here.

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