It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Guest Dive Report: Stomach contents lost, somewhere in Carmel...

Mrs. Kitty was too sick to dive today, so naturally I stayed home to nurse her back to health.... hrmmm, no. Actually, I hopped on the BAUE boat that was originally slated to be a long-range recreational charter. With conditions reports earlier in the week reporting up to 10' swells and possible gale-force winds, I didn't have the highest expectations. In fact, I was half expecting the boat to be cancelled. But no, the boat was a go, so I packed all of my gear, double-checked the bonine, and headed down to meet the Escapade at K-dock.

On the way out, I decided to try my luck at sitting up in the flybridge for the ride out, hoping that it would be easier on the stomach. I think it probably helped being further away from the engine exhaust and having a panoramic view of water. As we motored out, we heard a call come in over the radio that the Monterey Express had a medical emergency on board with one of their divers. They decided to pull their hook and motor back to BW to meet EMS personnel, and in the mean time asked us to pick up their remaining divers. We pulled the remaining 4 divers out of the water and ferried them back to K-dock without hearing much more about the incident that transpired. I later heard that the person involved was awake at the dock and appeared to be ok, for what it's worth. So... after the false start, we headed out again.

We ended up going around the corner and were treated to a fairly large pod of dolphins (common, pacific whitesided and Risso's) on the ride down and ended up settling on Outer Pinnacles for dive 1. By this time, the longer boat ride (having to double back to K-dock) was taking it's toll on my pathetic stomach. As a side note, I wonder if my pitiful sea legs are a sign of getting old... I never used to get sea-sick when I was younger... sigh. Anyway, Mark and Dionna had graciously offered to take me on as an orphaned buddy, so the 3 of us teamed up and dutifully did our GUE-EDGE. I packed wide-angle today, so I was really hoping for some nice (or decent anyway) hydrocoral shots. Stylaster californicus has a special place in my heart.

The conditions were pretty good for dive 1, especially considering the dire-sounding forecast. There was noticeable surge down to about 80' or so; nothing too terrible, but just bad enough to make photography a pain. We swam around the site and did a couple loops around the main canyon running through there. There were a couple nice patches of very bushy and healthy-looking hydrocoral, and everywhere there were swarms and swarms of krill (I think...). We each brought stages so we'd have plenty of gas for dive 2, but just a few minutes after we switched off, our fleeting bottom time was up, and we headed back to the anchorline. 105ft, 51 minutes, 55 deg.

As soon as we got back on the boat, I started projectile-vomitting. During the 10' hang, I started feeling very nauseous because of the large swells. I've never had this happen to me before, but it wasn't very pleasant. Of course, being a typical guy, I decided I could "stomach" it and tough it out. Also, I think I got a little cocky because I had taken bonine, so I helped myself to multiple pastries in the morning, and was now paying for it in spades. Anyway, the surface interval was kind of a blur (though rumor has it that it involved birthday cake), as I spent most of it hunched over the starboard-side gunwale. When I came to, we were anchored over Ballbuster and gearing up for dive 2.

Dionna sat out dive 2, so it was just Mark and me. We dropped down to the pinnacle and started circling it around the 80-90' range. I'd only ever been on Ballbuster once or twice before, and my first thought was that there were a heck of alot more metridium here than I remembered. The pinnacle itself isn't that large, and we ended up circling it several times before finding ourselves back on top at around 60' or so and met up with the rest of the teams there. I was running deco this time and due to my pitiful stomach, moved the stops around to spend more time at 20' and minimal time at 10' (although by this time, the swell had really calmed down quite a bit).

I didn't do as well as I'd have liked picture-wise on the day, but I put up a few here as well as some better work by Mike and Clinton.

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