It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Macro at Beto's Reef

Today we dove at Point Lobos, where we went to Beto's Reef. Kevin was originally supposed to join us, but he got called into work, boohoo. So we were on our own. But a lot of the usual suspects were at Lobos too. Rob was shooting macro; the plan was to look for nudibranchs and stuff out there, since we often see some nice slugs at Beto's. Just after I had gotten geared up (gloves and everything), and was sitting on my table waiting for Rob, Susan asked me if I needed sunblock. Doh! After I claimed I would just put some on after the dive, she came running over and insisted on smearing it on my face. Now that's full service :P So, for once, I did not have sunburn after a day of diving. Anyhoo, Rob wiggled into his gear and we headed into the water. We were planning to do a second dive, possibly with Kevin, so we brought along stage bottles. Jonathan, Nils, and David put our bottles on our float, in exchange for letting them put their stuff on the float too. I don't know how the physics on that worked out... between the five of us, there were five Al80s and three scooters on a float that allegedly has 12 pounds of lift.

I had made some adjustments to my harness suggested by Beto (so my right post reg wasn't digging into the back of my head). Actually Beto made the adjustments, since he has a Jedi-like ability to adjust a harness. Before I could even think through which way I needed to move this buckle or that D-ring, he had it done. Anyhoo, we descended not far from the ramp (where the viz was terrible -- couldn't see the bottom until we almost hit it), to check that everything was in order, and that I could actually put my head back without getting a dent in it. After a quick valve drill, we came back up and surface swam out a bit past the edge of the cove, and descended in 40 feet of water. Here the viz was much better -- from about 5 feet, we could see the bottom.

We swam out along the sand channel, at the west edge on the interface with the reef. At some point I was looking at kelp, and I found some hydroids on the kelp, with what looked like a tiny white nudibranch. I have no idea what it was -- I don't understand how anyone can ID something that small without magnification (and Rob was unfortunately not able to get a shot of it). We made it out to Hole in the Wall pretty quickly, and while we were around there, Rob suddenly lost his ability to a) keep his light where I could see it, b) stay beside me where I could easily find him and c) not bump my fins when we were swimming. So after I had a little "talk" with him about positioning, we headed north over the sand. We came to that rock just north of HITW (which I think really needs a name of its own, since I like it a lot). Rob found a little kelpfish to take some pictures of. While he was doing that, I found a Festive Triton and a cute little sculpin. By the time he got around to the sculpin though, the fish had gotten skittish and didn't get any pictures. I was getting rather cold, so when he was finished, we picked up the pace a bit. We soon came to some rocks that Rob signalled that he recognized and knew which way to go. It's just like Rob to try to steal my thunder and claim that he got us to the site, when I had been navigating the whole time. Soon after that, we passed Seamount, and then Beto's Reef came into view. I always forget just how close the two are.

We swam around the west side of the reef, looking for critters on the side. There were several cute sculpins, a couple of Aegires, more Festive Tritons, a lot of clown nudibranchs (some pretty small), and two pretty Limacia's. It seemed like everytime Rob was taking a picture, I would find two more things for him to shoot. So I would just wait around for him to finish and point out the other stuff I had found. It was pretty surgy even at 100 feet, so it was a little annoying trying to keep track of things I found. We also saw the resident wolf eel there, just before we were about to turn around. We headed up to 70 feet for the trip in, and stopped briefly at Seamount. Didn't see anything too interesting.

The return trip was pretty uneventful. When we were in the sand channel at 30', we saw Beto and Susan. So we went over and asked if they wanted to see the wolf eels (which we had planned to show them on dive 2). We swam over to the eels, and they were both in. Then we headed in. 103 feet, 99 minutes

We had tentatively planned to do a second dive with Don and Elissa (who showed up a little late, and couldn't be convinced to go on the "death swim" to Beto's Reef). But none of us felt that compelled to do a second dive, and Jonathan, David, and Nils were going to lunch. So we decided to just go to lunch instead. Those one dive wonders are always discouraging us from doing a second dive :) We were recently talking about how we only ever go to lunch at Turtle Bay and RG Burger, and really need to find some new places. So we went to Black Bear Diner, which I'd never been to. I thought it was a good place for after-dive eating and chatting. I am a fan of the extensive breakfast menu that is available all day. Oh, and they have hot chocolate, which is key for winter post-dive lunch venues.

Pictures from today are available here.

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