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Me diving

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bad Forecast, Good Dive

Rob and I did not have dive plans for the weekend, but there was a BAUE tech boat on Saturday.  I heard a rumor that some spots had opened up on the boat, so I asked Matt and he said there was room for us.  The forecast was pretty horrible earlier in the week.  In fact, even when I signed up a few days before the boat, the forecast was pretty horrible... something like 20 to 30 knot winds plus a respectable swell.  There was some whimpering on Friday about the forecast, but Jim said that based on the wind direction, the sites in the bay should be doable.  And the reports from Friday were that the visibility was pretty decent in the bay.  When we met up on Saturday morning, Jim was basically not even entertaining the notion of getting out of the bay, but he still thought that the in-the-bay sites looked good.  We didn't even bother to load our scooters on the boat, since the bay sites really don't call for them.  We headed out to Mile Buoy.  I was diving just with Rob.  For some bizarre reason, when we got to the site, no one else seemed like they wanted to go diving.  So while Rob and I got geared up right away, everyone else was just milling about.  I figured that was there problem, so we splashed as soon as we got the go ahead from the boat crew.

As soon as I hit the water, I found unbelievably clear, blue water.  Probably the best viz I've ever seen in the bay before.  And sea nettles as far as the eye could see!  We headed down the line, and found very good viz down to about 100 feet.  Closer to the bottom, the water was stirred up so that the viz was probably more like 20 feet; not too surprising since there'd been a big swell throughout the prior week.  It was also pretty dark, at least in comparison to mid-water, where it was super bright!  After we battled our way through the nettles to get to the bottom, we just sort of milled about on the site.  For some reason that I can't exactly remember, Rob didn't bring his camera.  I think it was because he was very negative about our prospects of getting a dive in, and didn't feel like setting up the camera.  It's a real shame that he didn't bring his camera, because either macro or wide angle would have been great (macro on the bottom, wide angle in mid-water).

During our amble about the bottom, we saw most of the exciting things one can see at Mile Buoy -- lots of basket stars (more than 5, then I stopped counting), a few Tochuinas, a bunch of big lingcods, and the usual assortment of rockfish, including some groups of juveniles.  We also saw some interesting nudibranchs, which would have been good to photograph.  I saw a couple of weird-looking Tritonias.  At first I thought they might have been diomedea, but then I decided they were probably just festiva with not-very-distinct markings on their backs.  Then later on, Rob showed me a slug that he thought was diomedea, so maybe the first two were too.  Definitely a good use case for a camera with a macro lens :)

Eventually we wound our way back to a taller rock, which had a lot of rockfish swimming around it.  It seemed like the viz was better around there, probably because we were up off of the sand, and thus there was less schmutz in the water.  We hung out there for a bit longer, then I suggested we start the ascent, because I was really looking forward to videoing the sea nettles on the way up.  I was a bit worried they'd all be gone by the time we left the bottom!  Not to worry, they were still out in full force.  I put the bag up (Kevin wasn't there, after all :P), but then I quickly passed it off to Rob since I wanted to take some video.  I amused myself for the first stop or two, videoing Rob and the nettles.  But then around the end of our 60' stop, it got even better when a mola swam by!  Then we were visited by a curious sea lion.  Throughout the deco, we saw several molas, probably four or five.  And we got bombed by a sea lion a few times, and as we got shallower, we saw a few sea lions zooming around together.  We could see the other teams during deco (since the viz was like 100 feet).  There were a couple of sea lions who seemed pretty curious about Ted's team, which was particularly amusing since they seemed completely oblivious to it!  Near the end of the dive, I saw the coolest thing of all... a sea lion going after a mola, who took off and managed to escape (this time).  Sadly I did not get a decent shot of that on my video :(  Overall I was really happy with the nettle footage though, and thoroughly entertained for the entire deco!  Seems like I've been getting lucky with some awesome ascents lately.

When we surfaced, there was a big gaggle of sea lions not that far away, but Jim didn't seem too keen about dropping us over there for some video of them.  We should have just swam over without asking :P

After collecting all of the teams, we headed back to the dock, and managed to avoid any unpleasant weather at all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I swear, your reports and video are almost enough to make me change my mind about doing deco!