It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seattle Diving

Rob and I were in Seattle for Thanksgiving, visiting our respective brothers. We weren't totally attached to the idea of diving, since schlepping gear is a bit of a pain for not a lot of diving. So we agreed that if we could bring minimal gear (think drysuits, undergarments, masks, gloves, hoods) and borrow everything else, then we'd do it. Rob contacted Lynne and a few others to see what they could do for us. Lynne was conveniently (but sadly) going to be away for the weekend, so we basically just borrowed all of her gear. So we went over to Lynne and Peter's on Friday and had a chat, played with their kitties, and got some gear. I think they actually had enough stuff that even if Lynne were diving, we would have been fine. We each brought backplates, though in the end I just used Lynne's, since it already had the cam bands in it for a single tank. (Note to self: next time, don't bother bringing a backplate.) We were given an array of tanks to choose from, and I took two single 95s, thinking that way I would have a lot of gas, since Rob took a set of doubles. So if he wanted to do one longer dive and one shorter dive, we would have that flexibility. I never even considered that they might not overfill their LP tanks. But they don't! I guess since the only place I ever get tanks filled is Anywater (and Extreme Exposure, when in Rome), I totally take that for granted!

Saturday morning, we met up with Nils, Scott, Peter (who was a "maybe" but did show up) and Laurynn, who I had never met before, to dive Cove 2. There have been a bunch of GPOs there recently, so that's what we were hoping to see. They had some ideas of where we might find them. We got geared up and were all sitting on the little ledge by the steps, where we did our gear checks. During the checks, my backup second stage started hissing. A lot. Too much to just ignore. Peter tried futzing with it a little, but it would not stop. Scott said he had another second stage in the car, and voila, he provided me with a second stage that even already had a bungee necklace! And it was even a better bungee necklace than Lynne's (sorry Lynne). After that was all taken care of, we got in the water. The tide was super high, which is a good thing at Cove 2. We were in two teams, mine consisted of Peter, Rob, and me. Peter was leading our team, though the other team was ahead of us. So we mostly followed them. We dropped down at one of the buoys and followed a big line down the slope. We eventually saw two GPOs. The second was (by my standards) HUGE, though apparently there are even huger ones up there. They were both under things, not out in the open. But still some pretty good octopus sitings.

We followed the slope down a bit deeper than I expected, and for a bit longer than I expected too. Oh well. In addition to the GPOs, we saw a few things that I was pretty excited about. First, there was a sailfin sculpin (whose sail was unfortunately not up) on the way down the slope. Right at the bottom, where we turned around, in the end of a pipe, was a red brotula, which I don't think I've ever seen before (so it was totally worth violating the MOD of my gas by 3 feet). Right near there was a warbonnet. Then on the way up the slope, there was a Tritonia diomedea, which I have never seen before and was super excited about. Then I saw this super cute fish; I had no idea what it was, but knew it was cute enough to point out to Rob, who then showed it to Laurynn. She coerced us (I swear) into petting it. It was a buffalo sculpin, another new fish for me. Then Rob found a grunt sculpin (sooo cute). So not bad for the Seattle version of the breakwater. Oh, and lots of orange metridium, which amuse me, even though they are like nothing special to Seattle peeps. On the way up we did some sort of loop so that at any point I was really quite clueless as to how far we were from shore. So I kept having to tell Peter how much gas I had, since I didn't know when to call it. I am sure he felt like he was taking one of his OW students on a tour :)

Our dive ended up being about 50 minutes. I think on the last trip, our dives were about that length, and I was ice cold by the end. Just before this trip, when I was sort of dreading the cold, I realized that on the last trip, I had my old 250gm Thinsulate undergarment. Now I have a 400gm. Ahh, what a difference that made! Of course, once we were out of the water, it was insanely cold, so that was pretty uncomfortable (especially with wet hair). But Peter totally came prepared, with his little insta-matic hot water heater (we totally need one of those for the van). We finished up with lunch at the restaurant right there by the parking lot. Man, that place is like the anti-Breakwater deli. They are so friendly to divers.

We had a second dive planned at Mukilteo pier that night. Apparently this site has a zillion ratfish, and Rob had asked Nils to take us somewhere that has ratfish. Since I guess there is no access right at the pier, you have to go in from one beach down. So Lynne and Peter loaned us scoots for the dive (which we were doing with just Nils). We got there and Rob found that the screw that locks the trigger on Peter's scooter was stuck, and was not coming un-stuck with his hands. There was another team of divers just coming out and Rob borrowed some vise grips from them, and soon fixed the problem. Then as I was getting my hood and gloves together, I realized I lacked fins. Sigh. I had left Lynne's fins (with my mask tucked in a fin pocket) at Cove 2. Somehow I managed to go from 2 sets of fins (Laurynn has also brought me a pair of fins, which I returned to her before leaving Cove 2) to 0 sets of fins in the space of a few hours. Rob told me I could never again make fun of John H. for forgetting his fins. After briefly considering doing the dive without fins, I decided to drive back to Cove 2 to look for them while the boys went diving. Cove 2 is just a few miles from my brother's house, so I suggested to Rob that we just go by there tomorrow. He had this really nervous look on his face and started to say something and then stopped. I had a feeling that Rob was really concerned about my mask, because he has this idea that it is the only mask in the world that fits my face.

Anyhoo, I went to Cove 2, which was traumatic in and of itself, since it was dark and raining, and a strange city with way too many exit only lanes, and I am, shall we say, a "weak" driver even in the best conditions. I made it there without crashing into the median on the West Seattle Bridge, and had a look on the bench where I knew I had left it. Then I headed into the un-Breakwater-deli, and asked if there was a lost and found. After being quizzed briefly on what these missing fins looked like, they returned them to me (with my mask in one of the pockets, phew). How un-Breakwater-deli of them. Yay! I returned to Mukilteo, where Nils and Rob were chit-chatting, having come out of the water not too long ago. They reported something on the order of 200 ratfish, which according to Nils is not as dense as it often is. Wow. On the way back to Jeff's, I confronted Rob about his weird fear of me losing my mask, and he admitted that he was afraid if I lost my mask, I would give up diving. I assured him that that was not true.

Thanks to Lynne and Peter for all of the loaner gear!

1 comment:

Lynne said...

Sorry about the malfunctioning gear! But now you'll have to come back (hopefully when I am NOT working)to see the ratfish.