It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Eighteen Minutes at the Breakwater

We were down in Monterey for the weekend. On Saturday I was helping with some Fundies checkouts, and then Sunday we had big plans for a fun dive. Rob wanted to do a long dive out to Twin Peaks, so that was the plan. The conditions on Saturday at the Breakwater were totally placid, with amazingly good viz. We knew conditions were supposed to deteriorate at some point on Sunday, though I hadn't looked at the forecast in a couple of days. We headed to Point Lobos under overcast skies with on and off torrential downpours. Ugh. When we got to Lobos, the ramp was super sloshy. The tide was very high and the water was just moving all over the place up and down the ramp, not really in distinct predictable sets. So after a couple of minutes of watching that, and even taking our scooters out and putting them next to the ramp, I decided I didn't want to dive. So we headed to First Awakenings for breakfast and then to the Aquarium, in some pretty icky rain. By the time we finished at the aquarium, it was sunny and the bay just looked so appealing that we decided to head to the Breakwater for a dive after all.

We had a ton of gas and tanks in the van, but not exactly the right tanks for the job. So we decided we would use our spent doubles from the day before, which each had a bit of gas left, plus our 70' deco bottles as stages :) The plan was to scooter out to the end of the Breakwater to see if we could get some sea lion action. Unfortunately this plan called for bringing a lot of gear into the water, and there was a good bit of surf by the time we got there. I am not really a fan of dragging gear through big surf, or really any surf, so we decided I would human buoy the gear. Rob walked me into the water, handed me some gear, and then got into his rig and came back with the rest of the gear. Getting in was a pain even without carrying extra gear. We passed the Fundies checkout class coming out of the water as we were getting in. We scootered out on the surface a bit past the bend in the wall, and then dropped and continued out along the wall. Pretty shortly into the dive, I felt a stream of water shooting down my leg. When I put my hand on the spot where the water felt like it was coming in, the end of my p-valve hose (not hooked up) was right under my hand -- hmm. I gave the valve a twist to make sure it was closed, and it seemed like maybe it wasn't leaking anymore. But a couple minutes later, I could tell that it was still leaking, even though the valve was still closed. Maybe it wasn't the p-valve. But it felt like quite a big leak and it was spreading down my leg and across into my other leg. So about 8 minutes into the dive, I turned it and we headed back in. Grumble grumble. When we got to the surface, I told Rob why I thumbed it. I suggested we stage the gear out in the same manner that we did on the way in. He asked for my stage bottle, and for some reason, he took both bottles and his scooter and walked out through the surf. I didn't understand why, but apparently he thought that I was in a big hurry to get out, which I really wasn't -- I don't think a few extra minutes in a wet suit was going to kill me :P As Rob was getting out, Beto caught on that he was coming out by himself, after a very short amount of time, and I guess was a bit concerned, so he came down to the beach. Brian followed him, so by the time Rob came back to get my scooter, I had a three-man escort out of the water. Very nice :) I managed to get my fins off in a period of relative calm, and just as I was walking out, saw a big wave coming behind me. I trotted back into the water so it would pass by me before breaking, then looked back toward the beach to see Beto sort of jumping through/body surfing the wave. But everyone made it without getting rolled. Then I waddled out of the water before another big one could come through. Phew. It was a slightly harrowing experience, and I had to stop at the rocks on the side of the beach for a little breather.

After retrieving our gear from the beach, we found that one stage reg's second stage was completely swamped with sand, and the other was missing its face plate and the various pieces that fall out when you are missing a face plate. We never did retrieve all of the pieces :( Totally not worth the trouble for an 18 minute dive! I think we should have called it quits at the Aquarium.

1 comment:

Clinton said...

As I told Rob earlier. This story should have ended at "Aquarium"!