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Me diving

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Guest Dive Report: Los Tres Hermanas

I left Mrs. Kitty home today to join Anibal for some diving at Point Lobos. The Diving Singles club was out in full force and had almost all of the reservations for the day, including an impressive fleet of dive boats led by Chuck and his flagship Black Dog. If nothing else, this guaranteed tide conditions for entry and exit.

Anibal and I planned to head out to the 3 sisters and putz around there for awhile and head back leisurely. I just got a P-valve installed in my suit, so this would be a good dive to break it in with. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say, getting suited up was much more involved. Anibal suggested that I give things a "dry run" on land, so to speak, which went pretty well. We geared up fairly quickly and hit the water. As we started swimming out along the sand channel, Chuck passed by with a load of divers, and was unsympathetic to our request for a tow-line :P. Oh well. A few minutes later, we noticed a number of emergency vehicles coming down the road to Whaler's Cove; a fire truck, ambulance and a couple of lifeguard trucks. In short order, the rescue inflatable was launched, so we were definitely curious as to what was going on.

By that time, we had swum (swam? swimmed?) quite a ways down the sand channel, so we finished up our surface checks and dropped down. The top 20 feet were about average, but then it quickly opened up to beautiful vis. We dropped in 67 feet (like I said, quite a surface swim) just north of hole-in-the-wall. Right where we dropped, I found a bundle of what looked like fish eggs clumped on a frond of bull kelp. We headed out to the NW in short order, where I found another (albeit smaller) Pedicularia californica on on a stalk of pink hydrocoral. Visibility had opened up quite nicely by this point, to what I would estimate to be about 60ft. In short order, the outline of the first sister started to appear.

We toured around each sister taking in the sights. This was the first time I'd seen all 3 sisters in one dive, so it was good to get some perspective on how each rock compared to the next. All of the usual suspects were spotted, including quite a few nice specimens of Elephant Ear sponge, as well as the usual nudibranchs, Diaulula sandiegensis, Peltodoris nobilis, etc... It was very relaxing just hanging there and taking in the great vis and blue water.

But our bottom time dwindled quickly, and soon we turned the dive and headed for home. We got sidetracked on the way back and ended up cutting around a corner towards the SW and which I believe took us briefly into Bluefish Cove. The invert cover and just the "look" of the rocks changed noticeably. Very shortly after we ventured into this area, there was a small canyon that cut back toward the East which I theorized would take us back to the NW end of the rubble-pile that Cannery Point crumbles into (which, incidentally, Allison wants to name "Oreo Crumble" after the cat). We cut into the canyon and were treated to a nice crack dotted with several stalks of bushy hydrocoral and other colourful invertebrate cover. I managed to fire off a few shots, but this is definitely an area that I would like to explore in more detail.

We kept swimming towards the SE and pretty soon reached the Lone Metridium, where we began our journey homeward. Actually, by this time, the visibility had cleared up really well even shallower, so the swim in was very nice and relaxing. There were a fair number of blues out hanging in the water column as we made our way under the thick kelp canopy back to the Whaler's boat ramp. 110 ft, 99 minutes, 48F

For dive 2, we headed out to Middle Reef for a nice slow cruise. My missions for this dive were to find some of our new pet friends, and to find a Rostanga pulchra to point out to Anibal. I knew this dive was going to be on the shorter end because I was a little bit low on gas from the first dive. I guess I need to work out more, because I think my SAC rate has regressed over time. Actually, I suspect that swimming the new camera rig adds alot of drag (or at least that's what I'll tell myself to feel better).

We dropped in about 30' along Middle Reef and started making our way north. I scrutinized each patch of orange sponge that we passed, but kept failing to find any Rostanga, though I did see several Rostanga egg spirals. We slowly cruised along and looped around the north end of the reef and then back again. Eventually, I was able to find a Rostanga (and a pretty big one at that; 2-3cm) to point out, back in a crack on the distinctive orange sponge. At about this point, I indicated that we needed to start heading back, because I was running low on gas. The swim back was largely uneventful, but towards the end, we literally almost swam into a very large, and ugly cabezon, who seemed unfazed by the whole encounter, and just stared us down as if trying to intimidate us into leaving. 60ft, 50 min, 48F

Selected pictures from the dive are here.

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