It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Scooter Awakening

Today we did two dives at Point Lobos. When I woke up this morning, I really was not in the mood to dive. I briefly considered not going. Then on the way down, I still wasn't in the mood, and considered hiking at Point Lobos instead. But alas, when we got there, I went diving. I'm glad I did. We borrowed scooters from Jonathan and David, and we scooted with Kevin. I think every time I have scootered at Lobos, we have gone to the Granite Point side, so this time, I wanted to go to the Cannery Point side. We chatted about a vague plan to do a big loop, going to Beto's Reef, 3 Sisters, and possibly Shortcut Reef, then heading back in shallower to the Cannery Point ridges, Lone Metridium, etc. When we met Kevin at the Lobos gate, he had a pretty little map he made in GlobalMapper with it all mapped out. It was cool. And very dorky.

I have never been a fan of these scooter dives that do a big circuit, hit a bunch of sites, but where you get next to no time to actually look at any of the sites. So, the plan was to scoot to Beto's, spend about 10 minutes there, then to the Sisters, spend about 10 minutes there, and then possibly do a quick fly-by of Shortcut Reef. We also had a secondary mission of noting the species of nudibranchs we saw on our dives today (for the BAUE nudibranch project). Kevin assured us that Beto's was a less than 10 minute scoot, which I highly doubted because I am such an inefficient scooterer. I have up until now been pretty inept at scootering. I just don't feel very comfortable, my legs tend to flop around a bit, and it takes a lot of concentration just to keep track of everyone and do all the other usual things that take no concentration (like venting my wing or checking my SPG). But I always have fun when we scooter, and I figure the only way to get better at it is to do it some more. I am too big of a wuss to enter the water while carrying my scooter, so Rob put them out on our float; what a sweetheart. The tide was nice and high, so getting into the water was really easy. Rob did not bring his camera, since I guess scootering is not very compatible with shooting macro (he has these floats on his strobe arms, which make it hard to fold up for transport).

We surface scooted out to the mouth of the cove, and decided the viz looked good enough to drop there. We dropped in about 15 or 20 feet of water and headed out along the sand channel. I always feel like we are moving so slowly on scooters, until I realize how quickly we are descending. Anyhoo, as we were scooting down the sand channel, something magical happened -- I didn't completely suck at scootering :P I talked my feet into not fluttering around, and figured out a good tow cord length, and voila. It was so much easier than it has been before. I was in the #2 position, with Rob in #3, and he did a really good job of staying where I could easily see him or his light if I looked off to the left. We hit Hole in the Wall after 4 minutes (wow), and then headed out to Beto's straight from there. We got there in 9 minutes. Kevin pointed to his timer and gave me an "I told you so" look :P Rob led us around Beto's Reef, and we looked for nudis. We saw the usual stuff (Doriopsilla, Cadlina luteomarginata, Cadlina flavomaculata, Triopha catalinae, San Diego dorids). We did not see any Spanish shawls, even though we saw several last time. I was also miffed that we didn't see any Festive Tritons, which we usually see there, but right as we were about to leave, I found one. Phew. Rob also found a wolf eel there, which he claims is resident (he has seen him there before, he thinks in the same crack). Other than that, we saw the usual Beto's Reef stuff. There was a significant current pushing us north along the reef. It was pretty fun to ride it. We also ran into Mark and Dionna here.

Next we headed towards the Sisters. We ended up at the deep sister (#2 I believe they call it). On the way there, we saw an egg yolk jelly. We stopped to check it out. Anyhoo, almost immediately after getting to the second sister, I saw a Dirona! I have never seen one before, but have always wanted to find one. Rob saw one not too long ago at the Breakwater (on one of his night dives with the other woman, Dionna) and I was sooo jealous. I pointed it out to Rob and then we pointed it out to Kevin, although he seemed somewhat oblivious to it; I guess he just wasn't as excited about it as we were. Nearby, there were two very bushy Hermissendas. We did a little loop around, and ran into Mark and Dionna again. We saw some more of the usual nudibranchs, with Triopha catalinae being the highlight. I think I always see those on the Three Sisters.

We continued west toward Shortcut Reef, which is this reef that runs between Whaler's Cove and Bluefish Cove. Once we got to it, Rob and Kevin switched off of their stage bottles. I didn't bring a stage bottle, since I didn't want to deal with a scooter and a stage bottle. I figured I would bring mine on the second dive instead. Anyhoo, as they were switching, I saw this HUGE male sheephead. I guess his name is Victor, according to Dionna. I also noticed that the current was now carrying us to the south. Weird. After they were finished, we circled around Shortcut Reef, and then headed south, a bit shallower. There were lots of nice Corynactis covered walls out there, and some hydrocoral. Kevin tried to take us through this narrow crevice, which I decided was a bit too narrow for my scootering skills. So I stayed above the crevice. It dead-ended and Kevin came shooting out the top, right into me. Whoops. We eventually headed east, and passed several of the ridges that are beyond Lone Metridium, and then we eventually pass Lone Metridium and Hole in the Wall, and then headed in along the sand channel. 105 feet, 79 minutes, 51 degrees

After this dive, I decided that I love scootering and must get a scooter :)

We originally planned to do the second dive on Middle Reef. Rob was shooting macro, so he wanted to take some pictures of nudibranchs. But the conditions were really good, so that seemed like a waste. So we decided to kick out to Granite Point Wall instead. I was leading, and I have never navigated to that site before. I could tell that Rob was doubting my ability to get us there. I was pleasantly surprised that it did not take too long at all to get from the end of Middle Reef over to the shallow part of the wall. When we have scootered out there, we always go to the deeper part, so it is a bit further. Taking the stage on the kick dive instead of the scooter dive was pretty silly in hindsight. Anyhoo, we got out there and swam around a little. We didn't cover too much ground because Rob was looking for tiny things. I was getting really cold and at some point told him we needed to get moving. So we swam to another section of wall, and not too long later, Kevin turned the dive on gas. Which was good, because I was really cold. We did not see anything too noteworthy out there, just the usual stuff. Kevin pointed out a huge Peltodoris to me. There were a bunch of Urticinas in the vicinity, and I swear it was as big as the Urticinas :) We headed back in and once we hit the end of Middle Reef, I switched off my stage bottle and headed us to the sand channel. No doodling around on Middle Reef, I was way too cold. 71 feet, 68 minutes, 50 degrees

Afterwards, we had dinner at Turtle Bay.

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