It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Things Fall Apart...

We went to Lobos on Sunday, since it seemed like it had been ages since we went diving (but only really two weeks :P). We had been planning to dive on Saturday, but our boat was canceled. We decided a while back (when we signed up for the boat) that we would use our last weekend before T1 to just have some fun -- no drills. So we grabbed scooters (thanks Jonathan) and hoped to get out under the surge. When we got there, we headed up the stairs to look down at the water. There were really big waves breaking on the Bluefish side of Cannery Point, but there was a really long period between them. The water looked very blue and we thought the visibility would be good. When we went back down to the ramp, we saw similar conditions -- it would be really churning for a while and then calm down for a while. Rob tossed in a float next to the ramp, and then he came back and reported that step 0 would be rescuing the float, which had gotten wrapped around a rock and was bobbing around at the edge of the ramp :) While we were setting up gear, we decided to test out our DiveAlert air horn thingies which we haven't tested in ... a long time. I found that mine completely doesn't work. It just hisses like a leaky regulator. I guess all that time I've been carrying it around in my pocket it was really just removable ballast.

After sorting that out and staging our scooters, we headed into the water. We timed it so that the entry was really easy. The ramp was super clean of algae, which was nice. The plan was to head out along Cannery Point and over to the area south of (shallower than) Shortcut Reef, just to see what's over there. If the conditions made the shallower areas undesirable, we'd go to the Three Sisters are as a backup. When we got in, we found that the vis was unimpressive in the cove. We scootered out to the edge of the cove, and dropped in about 20 feet. There was a ton of particulate in the water, and it was surgy. After we got a little further out in the sand channel, I continued my X-acrobatics training, and did a loop-dee-loop, which is a new trick for me. I just don't look as cool doing these tricks as the boys do.

When we got to Hole in the Wall, the viz was still quite craptastic, and it was still surgy. It was actually a little tricky to make out landmarks because of the viz. After we got a little bit past there, Kevin asked if we wanted to keep going the way we had planned, or if we should head further north (and deeper). We decided to go deeper to see if the surge improved. We headed to Beto's Reef, and looked around there for a few minutes. The wolf eels were not there (which is the third time in a row that we have not seen them :( ). I did see a lingcod there -- that place seems to be crawling with lings lately. Then we headed west, and passed by the sisters, where we paused and decided to continue on to Shortcut Reef. When we go there, it was still super surgy even at 90 feet or so. Rob whipped it out (his camera, that is) and started taking some pictures. I think Shortcut Reef would be really fun to scooter around in better viz. But in the viz we had, you couldn't really appreciate the structure. Macro-wise, I didn't see anything particularly interesting. There was a lot of the pink skinnier hydrocoral. Rob set me up for a picture, and after he finished that up, he started gesticulating at me. He gave me the bag shoot signal and then pointed at his camera. I was thinking he wanted me to shoot a bag and ascend because his camera was flooding. But he seemed a little too calm for that, so I asked him again... the neoprene cover for his dome port had floated off. He keeps it bolt snapped to the camera, but I guess it slipped off (the bolt snap stayed).

At this point we headed in. It hadn't quite sunk in that since he didn't have the cover, he wasn't going to clip it off the way he usually does (sort of like a stage bottle). So he was holding it in his left hand for the trip home. That made it basically impossible to vent his wing (or do much of anything) on the move. So we put him in between me and Kevin so we wouldn't accidentally leave him behind. By the time we got to the sand channel, it was really surgy again. We passed a big group of tube snouts not far from Hole in the Wall. Anyhoo, we had wanted to do a timed ascent from 50', so we did it there. I shot the bag and ran the ascent. When we got to the surface, it was pretty unpleasant, so we quickly agreed to go back down and swim in. Kevin helped me to rolled up the bag and he was trying to stow it in my pocket, when he decided it could wait until we were back under -- the surface conditions were just too unpleasant. So we descended again and after we got that cleaned up, we headed in. We scootered in right up to the float line and ascended there. 104 ft, 80 minutes, 50deg

Rob and I clipped off our scooters, which was sort of a mistake in hindsight. The big waves were coming in and sweeping across the bottom of the ramp. This basically meant that you had to swim to the ramp, pull of your fins, and waddle up the ramp between sets. I found out the hard way that I was not fast enough to pull that off. Just as I got my second fin off, whoosh, I got swept across the ramp. So Kevin (who still had his scooter) grabbed me by the arm and scootered me in and deposited me on the ramp during the next lull. He did the same thing for Rob. Then after we ditched our gear, he ferried the other scooters up the edge of the ramp to us. When I came back to my rig after we got everything/one out of the water, I found that the test tube on my light head had broken :( So much for being able to use Salvo lightheads to hammer a nail into a wall...

Overall, we all agreed that the conditions were pretty blah, but at least we got to get a dive in. But it probably wasn't worth losing a dome port cover and lighthead test tube over :)

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