It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Surgy Banks

I had two days of diving planned for the weekend, with a last-minute Phil date on Friday and a BAUE boat on Saturday.  Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well on Friday morning, so I didn't end up making the dive.  But I did ride out on the boat (trying to put off the decision not to dive :P) and so I got a driving lesson while the boys were on deco, and I got to uncover all of the mysteries of what Phil does while we're in the water (but you know, a girl never tells...).  Right before the boys surfaced, the wind really kicked up.  There had been whitecaps all morning, but it pretty quickly got rough.  The ride back on Friday was pretty darn sporty.  I didn't get in the water, but I still had to rinse my drysuit after the ride back.  So I was a bit skeptical about the boat on Saturday.  There was a medium-sized long period swell, so that would be fine (boating-wise), but I was worried about the wind, and the small craft advisory starting in the afternoon.  But once we got going on Saturday morning, the wind was looking fine.  It looked like getting to Yankee Point shouldn't be a problem, but when Rob and Kevin came down from the wheelhouse and asked if everyone was up for a run down to Big Sur, I was pretty surprised.  There was a fog bank off in the distance which I was worried would be sitting right on top of Sur Banks when we got there.  But when we got there, it was clear.  There was a fog bank in the distance still though, so everyone was reminded of the importance of coordinating our bag shoots.

I jumped into the water first, and found not very much surface current at all.  I got my light cord tangled with my scooter tow cord, which of course I didn't realize until after giving Rob and Kevin the okay to descend, so I quickly sorted that out and then dropped down to 20 feet just as they were starting to wonder where the heck I'd gotten to.  The viz on the way down was not that great.  It was green and hazy.  But it cleared up below maybe 50 feet.  There was a bit of current on the way down, though nothing outrageous.  What was outrageous (though not really surprising) was the surge down there.  It was probably the worst surge I've ever experienced on a tech dive.  We were moving at least 15 to 20 feet at times.  Oy.  The viz was good, but the water was kind of milky.  Still, I'd say the viz was easily 40 to 60 feet.  When we first got down the line (which was on the north pinnacle), we did a quick circumnavigation of the structure.  We actually didn't make it completely around the structure, we cut back across the south pinnacle back to the north pinnacle before making it the whole way around. 

Once back to the north pinnacle, we spent a while on the west side of that pinnacle, and eventually moved across the top of the pinnacle.  I alternated my time scootering against the surge to stay in place, and just hanging out over the reef and letting the surge drag me to and fro, watching the giant hydrocoral heads go by.  Rob was taking pictures, so instead of scootering to hold station, he was kicking.  It was insane, and sort of impressive.  Eventually he got a raging CO2 headache and put the camera away, though it was nearly the end of the dive by then.  We did take one more quick scoot around the side of the pinnacle, I think just trying to find some protection from the surge, of which there as none.  I was pretty amused to see a little school of fish that was getting knocked around by the surge.  They didn't seem any better at dealing with it than we were.  Oh, one other thing that we saw on this dive -- one lingcod nest, and another lingcod that was sure acting like he was guarding a nest (though I didn't actually see the eggs).

Near the end of the dive, both teams ended up hanging out on the north pinnacle, near the line, and we left the structure and popped our bags at just about the same time.  We could see the other team through our 50 foot stop, and then only lost sight of them because we got into the ugly layer.  The viz in the layer was surprisingly bad in comparison to below.  It was sort of warm though.  The deco wasn't terribly long, since we spent basically the whole dive on top of the pinnacle, which is not too deep.  We didn't see anything super interesting on deco, though there were a variety of little jelly things to look at now and then.  We hit the surface to find that the weather was still quite nice.  Apparently the fog had rolled in during the dive, but then it rolled back out.  After having a little chicken and junk food, and changing out of my drysuit, I headed up to the wheelhouse, where there was a really nice view!  Eventually the other team surfaced and after retrieving them, we headed north.  I rode back the whole way in the wheelhouse (since I am terrified of climbing the ladder when the boat is underway) and talked cats and such with Captain Mike :)  When we got back to Carmel, oh boy did the fog roll in.  It was a pretty slow ride back.  By the time we got to Point Pinos, the wind had kicked up.  I guess they were right about that small craft advisory starting in the afternoon. But we made it back before it got too nasty, and still in time to make it back to Anywater Sports to drop tanks.

1 comment:

Lynne Flaherty said...

I had to abort a dive off Phil's boat once for dry suit flooding. So I also know the secrets of what Phil does while everybody else is in the water. Plus the best thing that was seen on the dive by anybody was the more than twelve foot long black jellyfish Phil and I saw from the boat . . .