It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Anchor Farm

We went out on Patrick's boat today, which apparently does not have a name. This was the first time I'd been in an inflatable (or dived off of a really small boat -- I consider Dave's 21' boat a "small" boat, so I guess a 10' inflatable is a really small boat). It was a tight squeeze fitting all three of us and our gear -- Rob brought his doubles and Patrick and I were diving singles. But it was a quick trip out to the dive sites, so it was fine. I was also trying out a new exhaust valve on my drysuit (I finally replaced the Apeks low profile with a Si-Tech since they are supposedly more sensitive).

Both dives were at the Anchor Farm. Dive 1 was at Anchors 2 and 3. Our anchor was dropped literally on top of the site (the line was actually a bit wrapped around the big anchors), isn't GPS great? The anchors were neat. They are covered in bryozoans (the same red kind that's all over the pilings at Wharf 2 and the orange lacy bryozoans). The lacy bryozoans housed tons of tiny blue-ring top snails (so cute). And there were clusters of Hermissenda all over the anchors. There was a nice big vermilion rockfish (my favorite rockfish) living in the anchor. But the ledges around the anchor were what I really liked. There were so many nudibranchs. Tons of Spanish shawls, festive tritonid (which I've never seen before but have always wanted to see), clown nudibranchs, and two very small ones that were new to us, which we believe to be Flabellina trilineata and Limacia cockerelli. We also saw several aggregated nipple sponges, which I had only recently discovered (at Lobos), so I got to show them to Rob. A few wart-neck piddock (which I've only seen in Southern California before). I did not take any of these pictures, just using them as examples. 48 minutes, 78 feet, 50 degrees.

Dive 2 was at Anchor 5. We motored back in to the Breakwater, to swap tanks. Riding in such a small boat got less and less scary :) I decided to don my gear in the water on the second dive, which was a good choice, even though the back roll is pretty fun. Anchor 5 isn't as impressive as 2 and 3, but the shale beds around it are neat. There are tons of boring clams on the shale (and tons of holes presumably left by them). More clown nudibranchs and Spanish shawls, including one that was right next to a tiny baby octopus that was pawing at the Spanish shawl with one of its legs. Rob claims to have seen a "big" octopus that then disappeared into a hole. On the way up, at our 20 foot stop, there was a beautiful yellow salp chain hanging out right next to us. It was probably 10 feet long. We were checking it out the whole time, and then as we went to our 10 foot stop, it came with us, so we got to look at it some more there. 47 minutes, 54 feet, 51 degrees.

My new valve worked great, it took a little getting used to not hearing it vent, because it was a nearly constant slow trickle instead of tons of air building up and then venting all at once.

Diving off of a little inflatable was a lot of fun. Even though the sites were pretty close to shore, they are very different from all of the shore sites we've done. Unfortunately, Rob did not bring his camera since it was a tight squeeze on the boat. So no pictures of all of the great stuff we saw :(

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Diving Sans Bob

Today, I went on my first ever dive without Rob. It was very exciting to be unencumbered by the ball and chain :) We met up with John at South Monastery and decided it was way too nasty, then headed to Lobos to see if we could get in. There was an available reservation, but we were supposed to meet up with Ted too, and we could only get 3 people in, so we passed. We headed up to Monterey and checked out several sites on the way (Carmel River Beach, Butterfly House, Lover's Point) and none looked good (Carmel was rough, Lover's we got a report of 3 foot vis). So we ended up at the Breakwater, where we met up with Ted. Both upper lots were full! We had to park on the street above the upper lot, and schlep down to the beach, where we setup our tables.

We decided to dive the Metridium field in two teams, Rob and John, and me and Ted. I was leading my team. We decided if the teams were separated, that's fine just do the dive with your buddy. So, we descend into some serious muck. There was so much junk in the water. By the time we got to the bottom (in 35', that was a long swim out thanks to John and Rob who were ahead of us on the way into the water), we had completely lost John and Rob. Oh well. We headed for the pipe, and like 30 feet later, there it was. Not bad. We got to the Metridium field very quickly (thanks to the long swim out). Usually I head west-ish once we hit the first metridium, but I've been wondering how far east it extends, so I decided to find out. So we hopped from rock to rock in the northeast direction. It extends for a while in that direction. But the swim in was over a lot of sand, so I think on the east side, the metridium must not extend quite as far south. Anyhoo, I saw a small white rainbow nudibranch on a tube anemone. It was the smallest I've ever seen, maybe 2 inches long. I also saw a new (to me) nudibranch, which I suspect to be Armina californica, a couple nice-sized (one quite large) clown nudibranchs, a nice-sized octopus, and a big bunch of squid eggs. (Note that I didn't take any of these pictures, I just found all these lovely pictures on Clinton's site and thought it would be fun to provide links.) Diving without Rob was pretty fun, Ted didn't once try to take over leadership of the dive :)

The surf was at times pretty impressive for the Breakwater. On the way out, Ted kept yelling "wave". And then all of the waves stopped and I found myself standing in 1 foot of water with a fin still on. Not to worry, a minute later, a 3 foot wave came along and gave me deep enough water to get the fin off. 68 minutes, 57 ft, 50 degrees.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cool Travel Toy

After reading about it on Scubaboard, I ordered this cool little digital luggage scale. You hang your luggage on it, it beeps when it's done taking the reading, then you can put the luggage down and read the stored weight. So you don't have to get the reading while you are holding your potentially heavy luggage off the ground. I got it so that we could weigh our dive gear-laden luggage, since that can easily put you over the 50 lb limit (especially if it's a little damp on the way home). I got it in just a few days, and it is quite easy to use.

I tried it out on Pepper. I hung a bag from it and put her in the bag. (The cats love climbing into bags, so this really isn't as mean as it sounds.) It said she weighs 10.7 pounds (whereas the vet said 10.1 pounds just a couple weeks ago). But I think she was squirming a bit, which could account for the extra weight. Anyhoo, that's probably accurate enough for luggage weighing purposes.

Wow, I'm so excited that I managed to have a post that's about both diving (or dive travel anyway) AND cats.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Old posts

I am adding some content that is dated from before I started this blog. So don't be confused by the fact that there are posts dated before my "Hello" introduction post :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Point Lobos, Topside

Rob's brother and dad are visiting, so we took them to Point Lobos to walk around a bit. We started in Whaler's Cove, and walked part of the way up North Shore Trail, to look out over Whaler's and Bluefish Cove. We saw a few harbor seals sunning on a rock in Bluefish Cove. We headed back to the car, to go over to the Sea Lion Point Trail. First we checked out the boat ramp in Whaler's, to see the shiny new path that Scott Tims pressure washed a few days ago. Can't wait to use the path :)

We headed over to Sea Lion Rocks, and parked in the second parking lot. We hiked back up to the rocks. On the way there, in Sand Hill Cove, we saw two sea otters. Well, three actually. One of them had a baby laying on its tummy, face down. It was so cute. The baby looked like a fur ball that would occasionally squirm around. There were also a bunch of harbor seals on the big rock in that cove. We made it up to Sea Lion Rocks, only to find no sea lions. No barking, no sightings, nothing. Oh well. We saw a lot more harbor seals in Headland Cove, plus three more sea otters (two resting on their backs, one diving for food), as promised in the trail description. Took some pictures with the cypress trees in the background, and then headed back to the car.

It was the perfect day for exploring Lobos topside. It was sunny, mid 60s. We didn't see any deer or blue jays, which we often see there. But we did see a deer grazing along the side of Oceanview later when we were driving up the coast in Monterey.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday Night Dive

Since we won't be diving this weekend, we decided to go down to Monterey for a night dive on Friday. The plan was to get to Monterey around 6:30 and get in the water between 7 and 7:15. Unfortunately, it took us an extra half hour to get down there due to Friday evening traffic. So we didn't end up in the water until about 7:45.

We dove the Metridium field (our first night dive there). 85 minutes, 49 ft, 52 degrees F. We planned to hit the Metridium field and if time allowed, we'd circle around to the wall and head in there. On the way out, we ended up spending a bunch of time in the shallows to the west of the pipe, so we didn't make it over to the wall. Anyhoo, other than the daytime usual suspects, we saw a bunch of red octopus (2 decent-sized ones, many more small ones); three giant rainbow nudibranchs (two pink, one white), including one that we saw "pounce" on its prey (a tube anemone); a squid (my first ever squid); lots of little spotted cusk eels (as usual) but also two big ones; a rainbow surfperch (which I have never seen before, or at least never noticed before). A bait-ball of anchovies followed us around for much of the dive... guess they enjoyed our lights lighting up the food for them. We also saw a very mysterious, and pretty gross-looking, worm. It was in mid-water, dancing/undulating in a circular shape. We both thought it looked like a bloated piece of small intestine. Pretty ugly, but I'd love to know what it is. The squid was way cooler than I expected squid to be. I thought it would be white, have longish legs, and that's about it. Instead, it had a reddish pattern on it, short legs (relative to the body) and these little wing/fin things on its sides, near the base of the body. It was pretty. We also saw a giant shrimp (well, the biggest shrimp I've ever seen while diving) -- not sure what kind it was. And of course there were the metridium, which practically glowed at night. They were all open and they were swaying. Very nice.

Afterwards, we pretty much decided that the metridium side of the breakwater kicks the walls butt in terms of being a cool night dive. The pipe alone has tons of great night critters on it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Hi. Welcome to my "blog". Well, it is more like a web site than a blog. I think that blog implies that I'll have interesting things to say on a regular basis. That's unlikely.

I expect that most of my posts will be about my two favorite things... diving and my cats. Most of my diving is in the cold waters of Northern California. Hence the name, Cold Water Kitty. Above is a picture taken last weekend at Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel. And of course, my cuddly cats, cuddling with each other. Pepper is the scrawny almost-tuxedo cat, and Oreo is the pudgy cow cat.