It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, September 4, 2010

BAUE Rec Boat

Photo by Clinton Bauder
Saturday I went on the BAUE rec boat. I dove with Andrew and Kathy. We motored down to Yankee Point to check out Flintstones, but it was hellishly windy, basically as soon as we got past Lobos. We dropped anchor to see what the wind would do to the boat at anchor, and decided it wasn't diveable. So we headed back towards Lobos, thinking we could go to Honeymoon Rocks. We got there, and then suddenly turned around and headed back south. Turns out when we got to Honeymoon Rocks, someone (Clinton, I think?) had the idea to check out a site called "McDonald's" which was south of Lobos but close enough to shore to get some protection from the wind. This site is so named because there are two big arches there. I'd never been there before, and based on the description of the crew, I was just hoping I would find one of the arches.

It turned out not to be much of a problem, since as I followed the line down I realized the line was basically draped right over the top of one of the arches. So we were guaranteed to find at least one arch :) The viz was really good and the water was nice and blue. We swam under the arch, which was probably 15 or so feet high. We swam through the top of it, which was right around 80 feet. After we got through it, we headed to the right, since there was more pinnacle in that direction (the arch was pretty close to one end of the pinnacle). We meandered along at around 70 feet. The sand was probably at about 100 feet or so, which we could see very clearly. There were some other smaller structures off to the left, so we were actually swimming through channels between the main pinnacle and the other structures in a few spots. The were the usual assortment of sponges and nudibranchs and such, plus there was some hydrocoral, though not the big pretty bushes of it. Eventually, we got to a sort of barren area with some palm kelp. I headed up to the top of the pinnacle, planning to hop over to the other side. But when I got up there I saw that the palm kelp was covered in those hydroids that Eubranchus like to live on, and I saw tons of slug eggs all over the hydroids. After a little looking, I found a couple slugs, one of which was quite big (for a Eubranchus). I pointed it out to Andrew and Kathy, which was kind of funny since it was horrendously surgy at the top. I think it took a few fly-bys before they saw what I was pointing at.

After that, I decided to just head back the way we came. I ran into Clinton when we were almost back to where we started. He was gesticulating about something and I didn't see anything where he was pointing, but suspected he might be trying to show me a pinniped. But a moment later, a seal came swimming down the side of the pinnacle and past us. After a bit more ambling around, Sami came swimming back to the pinnacle, from out over the sand and told us that the other arch was over there. So we headed out in that direction and could see it pretty much immediately. This arch was a little bit shallower, it was maybe 70 to 75 feet at the top, and it was much longer, so it was kind of like swimming through a short tunnel. It also seemed to have a lot more stuff growing under the arch. After swimming through it, we headed back to the pinnacle and pretty much just killed time near the anchor for the last few minutes. I found more hydroids with Eubranchus eggs and one more slug near the anchor. When we came up from the dive, it was a bit more sporty than when we had started the dive, which I wasn't too surprised by given the conditions we had seen at Flintstones.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
When the topic turned to where to go for dive 2, Clinton mentioned Locals' Ledge, which I thought would be good since Kathy wanted to go someplace with hydrocoral. Locals' is my favor site for hydrocoral (well, other than Big Sur Banks). Unfortunately the water in Carmel was quite a bit more green. Fortunately, it was quite calm up there, which was nice after the sportiness south of Lobos. Andrew was leading the dive. I think we were anchored at a slightly different spot than usual, or maybe the poor viz just made me lose my bearings. In any case, we pretty much just circled the pinnacle three times, once at about 70', once at 50', and once at 20'. On the first time around, we saw some really nice big pieces of hydrocoral. But it definitely wasn't the best day for Locals', due to the viz (I have seen worse viz there, once). The third spin around the pinnacle was really surgy. When we got back to the anchor line, I thumbed it, since it seemed like we had pretty much seen what there was to see there. It was still calm when we got up from the dive, and we had an uneventful ride back to the dock.

Since I was diving sans photographer, I've included a couple of Clinton's pictures from the dive. All of the pictures are here.

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