It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, December 8, 2013

CRB (Meh)

Photo by Clinton Bauder
We were supposed to be on a boat on Saturday, but it got cancelled due to weather.  Considering how long it had been since I'd been diving, and I didn't have plans for the following weekend, I figured I should come up with some sort of alternative.  Sunday's forecast was looking pretty good, and it just kept getting better looking.  So Clinton, Rob, and I decided to head to Carmel for a shore dive on Sunday (no Lobos tickets, wah).  We went to Monastery first, which was definitely diveable, but not as epically calm as I was expecting (from the forecast).  There were also a TON of divers there, like so many that you might have to trip over them on the way into the water :)  So we decided to head to CRB, where I haven't been in years!

It took a bit of circling around before we finally found the right road to take to get to the stairs, but once we found it, we got the prime parking spot right across the street from the stairs.  We looked at the water, and while there were pretty big breakers out past the rocks, the entrance was protected enough.  Since its a long swim out to the "good parts", we brought scooters.  We also brought single tanks (since we'd had our eye on Monastery), and I think this may literally have been the first time I've ever scootered in just a single tank (that is, without a stage... not that I make a habit of single tank + stage dives either :P).  We schlepped the scooters and cameras and some tables down to the beach.  I decided to stage my rig down on the beach too.  I headed down to the beach, and as I was getting into my gear, I was having a ton of trouble with my drysuit inflator hose.  It just didn't want to connect to my drysuit inflator!  After forcing it a bit too much, I guess, the hose started to free flow.  Of course I was standing on the beach, by myself, in a not too convenient place to do a valve shutdown (on the left side of my H valve).  After some contortions, I got the thing shut down, just as Rob and Clinton arrived.  I thought it might be a bad Schrader valve, but Rob determined that it just needed to be tightened.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
It was a beautiful day on the beach, sunny, blue sky, nice-looking water, but man was it cold!  It was probably in the low 40s at its warmest (glad I wasn't one of the wetsuit divers at Monastery!)  We human buoyed it to get our scooters and cameras into the water, and although it was pretty calm and I just had a single tank on my back, it stilled seemed like I did everything in my power to almost drown as I got into the water.  I guess I need to shore dive more often.  Once we were all in the water, we headed out on the surface.  The color of the water from the surface was excellent.  It was bright blue, and we could see to the bottom even when we were in the 20 to 30 foot depth range.  Woohoo.  I was sure it was going to be an awesome dive.  We eventually decided to drop, somewhere in the 30 to 40 foot range, and when we got to the bottom, boy was I disappointed.  The bottom 5 to 10 feet had a layer of crap viz, I guess stirred up from the big swells.  Hmph.  We headed out, eventually getting to around 80 feet, and the viz did not improve.  It was actually kind of a chore to keep the team together, though that could have been related to Rob and Clinton taking pictures (and me occasionally video'ing).

Photo by Clinton Bauder
In addition to the crap viz, CRB has become a barnacle wasteland.  It was just ugly!  All of those little pinnacles that used to be covered in color are now just barren rock with barnacles.  I found some tiny patches Corynactis, but for the most part, there was none.  Like I said, I haven't been to CRB in ages, so I figured this is what the years of barnacle cycles have done to it.  But Rob and Clinton were there just a few months ago, and they said that this is a new phenomenon (which is good, I guess).  So hopefully it will bounce back soon.  Eventually we got to a patch of sand with tons of squid eggs (we'd since a bunch of patches of them already, on the way out), and we amused ourselves with those.  Clinton took some pictures of us with the eggs.  We killed a bunch of time out there and then headed in.

We scootered in almost all the way to the beach (to less than 10 feet), and then last part of the ride, above about 25 feet, the viz was excellent.  Unfortunately there was nothing to see in the crystal clear water except sand.  After we exited the water, I though my face was going to freeze on the way up the stairs.  Brrr.  Clinton said it was better than no dive at all, but I really wasn't sure.  Between the three of us, no one had anything worth posting from the day, but Clinton did send me some squid egg pics, so at least I have something to go along with the unenthusiastic report :)

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