It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Twin Peaks

Rob and I were diving at Lobos on Sunday, all by ourselves. Well, there were other divers at Lobos, but we were a team of two. That seems to happen less and less frequently these days (I blame it on Rob's screwed up priorities). We actually drove down to Monterey on Saturday afternoon and after making the rounds to Backscatter and Beto's house (the two best places in the greater Monterey area to debug a misbehaving L&M video housing), we ended up at Cynthia's. Rob and Kevin went for sushi while Cynthia and I tended to the wine drinking. Eventually, Lynne, Peter and Kirk showed up and it was a par-tay. After sleeping that off, we headed to Lobos in the morning.

Rob suggested we do a scooter tech dive of some sort, and of course the default was something in the Twin Peaks-ish area. We hadn't been all the way out to Twin Peaks in a while, so we decided to go for it. Somehow I got talked into leading. I guess it is good to lead so you don't forget how to, but I think I led last time we went to the Road (but who's keeping track?). When we first arrived at Lobos, the tide was really low. As we were carrying gear down the ramp to stage it, I joked to Rob that if we dilly-dallied enough, the tide would come in by the time we got in the water. In fact that's exactly what happened :) It was a good viz day, so after I got myself stuck in an area with kelp all around, I suggested we drop early, at the mouth of the cove. I managed to find Middle Reef pretty quickly and then headed over to the sand channel. The viz was especially good once we turned the corner at Hole in the Wall. Before we got there, there were quite a few tube snouts, some quite baby-looking, along the sand channel. Other highlights of the trip included finding the Lone Metridium actually open! It seems like it's been a stump of a metridium a lot lately. From there we headed out towards the sisters. As has become my custom of late, I ran smack into the First Sister, and after swooping over the center to check that it was really the First Sister, I headed to the Second. I paused briefly to lament the lack of elephant ear sponge on it, and to reset my average depth and time, and then we were off down the Road. I followed the rock-sand interface pretty closely and basically had the pedal to the metal, so to speak, for most of the ride out. We were traveling along the top of the road, pretty shallow, for most of the trip, since the viz was so good. It was a nice view down from the top. The one stop that we made along the way was when we ran into the tower of olive rockfish that seems to often hang out near the end of the road. Right next to it was a big school of blue rockfish. I stopped to just hang with them for a minute. Then we headed on out to the big peak. Right as we got to it, I pointed my scooter down and zipped down to the bottom.

Rob was shooting macro, so we stowed our scooters and started looking for critters. We settled on the northwest tip of the big peak. It seems like we have a tendency to settle there; perhaps we should mix it up a bit next time. I definitely didn't feel like I brought my macro-siting A-game on this dive. I saw a couple of Dotos, but that was pretty much it for exciting slugs. I am pretty happy with the Spanish shawl picture that Rob got (which I can take no credit for). We eventually meandered around the peak and down the south side, and eventually across the little sand channel to the next rock over. There were quite a few sea pens in the sand channel there, but not the fluffy kind that I like. We eventually decided to head in a little shallower, and we made it back to the spot with all of the rockfish and hung out there for a few minutes before I thumbed the dive. On the way in on the Road, we saw a bunch of squid eggs on the sand below us. We briefly zipped down there to take a look and then continued in.

We had discussed cutting over to Beto's Reef on the way in. I really don't remember why we wanted to do this, but I have a feeling there was some reason. In any case, as we got to the shallow end of the Road, Rob started gesticulating and pointing in the Beto's-hat direction. I rolled my eyes and ignored him, since I was captain, dammit! Then when we got to the Second Sister, I headed across the sand to Beto's. We intercepted it basically right where the reef steps down by the wolf eel's den. We looked for the wolf eel, but did not see him. Then we headed in along Beto's and then the kelp-sand interface towards Hole in the Wall. Kevin told us they had seen a bunch of squid eggs around 70 feet along the kelp-sand interface, so we spent our 70 foot stop looking for them, but did not find any. When we got to Hole in the Wall, I suggested we cross the sand channel and so we did our 50 foot stops on in along Middle Reef. We visited the warbonnet on our 40 foot stop and the wolf eels on our 30 foot stops. It worked out quite well :) When it was time to do our 20 foot stop, we headed east to find somewhere that the reef actually came up to 20 feet. We found a spot, switched onto our bottles, and then hung out for a few minutes. We eventually tired of this and Rob suggested we joyride around the east side of Middle Reef. I told him fine, but he could lead. So we zipped around for a while, and I knew we were headed in the east and somewhat south direction, but was glad that Rob was responsible to getting us back to the ramp. Then on the way south just about when it was time to start heading up, I heard the tell-tale putt-putt come from Rob's scooter and he turned to me and told me it was dead. So I offered to tow him. We could have ascended there, since we were in the cove, but I figured it was good practice to tow him (which I haven't done in ages, and don't know if I've ever done when he was toting two bottles and a camera). We continued in at a crawl, and then around 10 feet, I decided I wasn't sure how much west versus how much south I should go from there, so I thumbed it. When we got to the surface we were in the middle of the cove, almost to the ramp north-south. I started to tow him on the surface and about halfway to the ramp, my scooter died. So we had to kick in the last 50 feet to the float. Boohoo.

After we got out and retrieved our gear, we chit-chatted with James, Merlin and Danny for a while, and chatted about a potential trip to Tahoe sometime. Eventually we cleaned up gear and headed to RG for lunch with the Seattle crew and friends. I had the peanut butter milkshake, and found it quite tasty. From there we headed to Cynthia's for a little while and then met Kirk and Lynne and Taste of Monterey. Peter eventually joined us. When we were finished there, Kevin, Cynthia, Rob and I went to Pepper's for a small dinner. I'm starting to feel lukewarm about that place.

Errata: Turns out the wolf eel picture I posted here was actually from Monday's dives (those wolf eels all look the same to me!), so I have removed it.

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