It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, December 30, 2007

whirrr... click-click ... WHIRRR

After the wonderful conditions on Saturday, I decided to go back for some more on Sunday. Harry Wong had some Lobos reservations with extra spaces on them, so Rob, Kevin, and I went scootering again at Lobos (thanks Harry). After blowing by the ranger station on Saturday, Sunday was quite the opposite. When we got there at 12 till, the line was backed up to the road. Then it took 30 minutes to get through the line. And that's not an exaggeration. When we finally got to Whaler's we discussed what we wanted to do. Kevin mentioned that he wanted to do some valve drills and S drills, and I whined that I had been lured down to dive on the pretense of fun diving only. So we negotiated that down to a valve drill only, and we would do that on the way out on the scooters, so just one long dive. I wanted to go back to the canyon area in the shallows that we went to yesterday, but Rob informed me that that wasn't sufficiently cool to spend a whole dive there (what-EV). So he suggested we go back to the Sisters. I was amenable, since we really didn't get to spend too much time there yesterday (on account of overstaying our welcome at Beto's).

The water was no nearly as clear in the cove as it was yesterday. So we surface scooted out to the edge of the cove, and then we descended. We scooted out to about 40 feet, and then we did some valve drills at 20 feet. After some more harness adjustments, I could reach my isolator again, although my arm was a little tired by the end of it. I felt like I had to try a little too hard, but the drills were all very good overall. Then we headed out. I keep telling Rob and Kevin that I need some remedial barrel roll training, because I just can't seem to do it. So while we were in the sand channel, Kevin told me to stop and then he demonstrated and told me to try it. I kind of got stuck halfway through, and had to fin my way back over. He got it on video which was quite amusing. Then Rob did a perfect barrel roll. Kevin was leading (after he insisted Rob not lead, since he led on Saturday, and tried to make me lead -- but I pointed out that I led on the dive before). He took us on a different path than we usually take... he cut west earlier and took us behind Hole in the Wall, and the other ridges along Cannery Point that we usually pass on the way out there. We were scooting along in maybe 50 feet of water when out of nowhere we reached a clearing with two sea lions dancing around. I've never seen sea lions at Lobos (underwater) before! They were only with us briefly and then they took off. We continued out and I think Kevin got some glamour shots of Rob and me scooting along. We eventually reached Beto's (whoops) and then headed over to the Sisters. We hit the second sister (the deep one) and Rob signaled to me that we should clip off our scooters. I was like... umm, no, we're scooting around the pinnacle first :) So we went for a quick spin around it, which was very fun, and then clipped off.

Rob had wanted to hang out at the second one, so we hunkered down there for a while. While Rob was shooting an elephant ear sponge, I found a small Dendronotus albus. Woohoo. Rob was down by another elephant ear sponge (the one that sticks out of the east-side of sister 2... Rob's favorite elephant ear sponge). He motioned me to come down and pose behind it. I went down there and once he and I were trying to line up, I realized how surgey it was even this deep! While we were at this sister, I also looked up and noticed I could see the ripples on the surface :P Eventually Kevin suggested we move over to the third one, and we all agreed. Kevin started scooting over there, and then I realized Rob was swimming because he didn't want to have to fold up and clip his camera. So I was scooting, waiting for Rob, scooting, waiting for Rob. It was pretty amusing. We got over to the third one, and I started looking closer for critters. I noticed that there were tons of clown nudibranchs, many of them fairly small. It seemed like everywhere I looked there was one. I was pointing this out to Rob, and while he was looking, he noticed another Dendronotus albus. It was pretty big, a nice-sized specimen for Kevin to video. I also found a very cute sculpin hanging his head down from a little overhang, so just his head was hanging out upside-down. Eventually he swam out, probably because he was annoyed by our lights.

Eventually we headed in shallower, shooting for the canyons we had played in on Saturday. We never really found that area, but we did find some nice color structures and even one surgey channel between to walls to zoom through. Then we headed east back towards Lone Metridium, which was open and quite happy looking today. Kevin paused to bow to the metridium gods, and I gave it a poke (so bad, I know). At this point, I was freezing. My arm felt really cold, and I suspected it was wet. In one of the channels between ridges out near Lone Metrid, Kevin stopped and prodded me to work on my barrel roll some more. After one more not so successful attempt, I told Kevin I was cold and we headed in. We zoomed down the sand channel, until we hit that worm patch in about 25 feet (I couldn't believe it when we got to it -- we got there so fast!). Right after we got past that, visibility got terrible. Really terrible, like hard to see your buddy 5 feet away with a HID light. So Kevin turned around and suggested we go back and ascend. Just as he turned around, a seal appeared behind him and started tugging on his fins. Rob and I were chuckling and pointing while Kevin was trying to figure out what was going on. He later told us that at first he thought he was kicking me :) As soon as he looked, the seal swam away. Eventually he showed himself though, and Kevin got what was going on. We swam back to the worm patch, and just like that the visibility cleared up. Rob suggested I shoot a bag, so I did, while we all clipped off our scooters and lights and got ready for the ascent. My bag shoot yesterday was, umm, a little limp. So this time I really concentrated on exhaling the WHOLE way. We ascended to 20 feet, and after a minute, I signaled we should go up to 10, when Rob pointed out that we had agreed to 3 minutes at 20 and 10. Brrrrr. My arm was freezing at this point, but I went along with it. When we got to 10 feet, Kevin scooted off a little to get some video of us. When I was ready to surface, I turned to Rob and asked "where's Kevin?" and he pointed out that Kevin was right between us. Doh! He's sneaky like a seal! We got to the surface and I was delighted to see that my bag was completely inflated. That may be a first ;) and from 25 feet! We scooted back in on the surface. 91 minutes, 108 feet, 49 degrees

When I got out of the water, I found that my right arm was completely waterlogged. Hmph. Yesterday was the first time that my pink drysuit has been 100% dry, and now today there was a huge regression :( After a little searching, I found a hole in the wrist seal right near the suit. At least that was easy to find and easy to fix. We watched the video footage from the dive at Turtle Bay afterwards. I think that after studying the successful barrel rolls vs. my unsuccessful attempts, I have a better idea of what to do next time :) Thanks again to David for loaning me his scoot scoot.

Kevin shot, edited and posted video from our dive here.

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