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 :(

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