It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Almost July 4 Dive

It just seemed wrong to have a day off from work and not to go diving.  But Rob and I were both really in the mood to sleep in.  So we compromised with a night dive on July 3.  So we'd get to dive, but we'd still get to sleep in and spend the day at home.  And we even managed to talk Ted into coming with us. We met at our house a bit before 6, and packed the RAV4 (which Rob was seriously whiny about, but I refused to bring the van!), and headed down to Monterey.  We got there a bit after 8, and it was still light out.  We killed a little time walking the wall to look at the viz, which looked alright.  When we had driven by the Breakwater on the way back from our dive (with epic viz) on Saturday, the viz looked really good.  And we'd heard reports at AWS of good viz there.  So we were hoping it had held out for a few more days.  Rob's camera is still in the shop, but I promise that the dark days are nearly over.  Ted had his hero cam, but it had some sort of malfunction that prevented anything useful from being generated :)

We got geared up and entered the water just a few minutes after sundown.  We swam out a bit and dropped in 20-some feet.  And quickly found that the good viz had not held out for a few days!  The viz was really bad.  It was very thick with particles of goo.  There were also TONS of sea nettles.  The water was thick with them all the way to the bottom.  Which, in low viz at night, can really take you by surprise when they bump into you (or maybe I was doing the bumping).  We inched our way along in the bad viz, and pretty quickly started finding some octopuses.  Ted always claims that he never sees octopuses, and we always tell him they are everywhere at the Breakwater at night.  Well, tonight we proved it to him.  We saw at least ten (I stopped counting).  Lots of the usual little guys, plus one bigger one, and one bigger one that was in the midst of dying, and being eaten.  It wasn't quite dead, but it clearly was not going to make it :(  We also saw a single squid, which is always pretty freakin' awesome.  Other over-the-sand critters included a nice golden juvenile cabezon, and a few Pleurobranchaea californica.  Ted had never seen one before, so that was pretty cool.  On the first one, I tried to point out the side-gill, but the slug was not having any of that.  It curled up into a ball just to get back at me.  But one of the later ones had its gill unfurled.  During the dive, we did occasionally meander into clearer water.  And the clearer water felt insanely cold.  In reality, the hazy water was insanely warm... my gauge was oscillating between 57 and 59 (!) and when we entered the cold water, it dropped down to 53.

Eventually we worked our way back to the wall.  There were tons of fish on the wall.  There was a decent-sized school of olive rockfish hanging off of the wall, that kept reappearing.  We saw a boccaccio, which made both Rob and me do a double take, and we both pointed at it like "are you seeing what I see?".  Aside from that, there were the usual assortment of rockfish.  One other cool site on the wall was that there were zillions of orange sea cucumbers feeding.  We swam over patches of rocks that looked like a garden of fluffy orange flowers.  Pretty neat!  Eventually we got shallow and left the wall to head in on the sand.  The viz was getting quite bad, so I suggested surfacing, but Rob wanted to continue on underwater.  About 30 seconds later, I found a thornback ray.  So I guess Rob was right :)  We watched it for a bit, and then continued in, but the viz was starting to get so bad that it was a task to keep track of the guys, so then I really thumbed it.  Rob rolled his eyes and we surfaced (from 9 feet).

When we got to the surface, we were just past the gate on the wall.  You wouldn't believe the amount of whining I endured on the swim in.  First, Rob wanted to drop down again because we were SO far from the beach.  Then, Ted talking about how he should have brought his scooter.  Then, Rob wondering if we could call Jim and have him come pick us up on the boat.  Those guys need to do a little more kick diving if you ask me!  After we *finally* made it back to the beach and packed up our gear, we hit the road and after a stop at In n Out, we made it home by 1.  Not bad.  And we even got to sleep in.


gecko1 said...

"You wouldn't believe the amount of whining I endured on the swim in."

There's no whining in diving!

Oh. Right. My mistake.

Nevermind. Yes, I would believe it. :D

Anonymous said...

That's really interesting about the Boccacio, because I was pretty sure we saw one on the night dive we did at the Breakwater with Jonathan, lo these many years ago. I've only seen one other, here on Waterman's Wall.

Ted and Rob need to HTFU, or they're both going to be hopelessly out of shape for Mexican cave diving!