It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Deep and Dark at Lobos

On Sunday, we scootered at Point Lobos with Kevin, David, and Jonathan. We decided to head out on the Road, and then after spending some time there, scooting over to Beto's Reef, but going directly there instead of heading back to the Sisters first, and hopefully intercepting it at the deep side. We checked out the conditions from above, and there was some big wave action against the Cannery Point rocks, but the cove was quite calm, and the Granite Point side was surprisingly calm. We briefly discussed going over there, but for some reason that idea never took off. While we were looking down there, we saw an otter with a baby (but not super baby) in the water right off of the bluff we were on, between it and the first rock. They were getting sloshed around in the little channel. It was very cute. There were also some cute birds on the rock right there, black with long red beaks. I think they were Black Oystercatchers. One of them suddenly let out a squeal, and then all of them started squealing like mad. It was really strange, and funny. There was also a great blue heron (I think) hanging out in the cove not too far from the boat ramp. That was really neat to watch; it looked like such a serious bird.

The water looked spectacularly clear right at the ramp when we got in, but by the time we dropped in the sand channel, it was pretty milky. It opened up a bit by the time we got out to Lone Metridium, but it was basically milky the whole way out. I was wearing my new suit, and it took a little getting used to scootering with it. The main problem I was having was with my feet, which felt like they were a little too heavy and wouldn't stay up where I wanted them. I had to put a little gas in them to get them where I like them. I was also using a different set of fins (my warm water fins, which fit my wetsuit booties), which fit the turbo-soles perfectly. They are, however, quite stumpy little jet fins, and my backwards kick was seriously lame with them (although Rob says that is nothing new :P).

When we got out to the Road, it was surprisingly dark. Kevin was leading, so he picked a rock and we hung out there for a while. There were tons of clown nudis out there. They were practically everywhere I looked. That first rock also had some hydrocoral and gorgonians, but it was fairly sparse. There was a vertical crack with a cute little copper rockfish hanging vertical in it, and another little fish (not sure what it was, but it had spots and was pretty small). After a few minutes, we moved a short distance to another area (which I think was a different area of the same structure we went to last weekend), which was much nicer. It was totally covered in various shades of pink strawberry anemones, so it was like a hot pink peak. It was cool looking up towards the top. Rob shot a couple of pictures of me checking it out, and then I decided to look around a little. I turned around and was almost blinded by David's video lights (he just got some new Salvo 35W lights). I headed down toward the bottom to see what was down there, where there was less strawberry coverage. I thought I saw a Festive Triton so I swam down to take a look. Then I found several more, and after showing one to Kevin, he found another. I also saw more clowns of all different sizes, including a cute little one. As Kevin and I were looking at some slugs, suddenly a great light descended upon where we were looking... David was coming down to video it. From now on, I think I need to take David with me on all my dives... it's great being able to see a huge swatch of reef all lit up and colorful!

We eventually headed back up the road a smidgen, and then across the sand toward Beto's Reef. I must admit I was starting to get concerned that we had passed it. On the way, we saw several tires in the sand -- very random. We also found this nice little structure out there with some very photogenic elephant ears. I also found a nice little lone metridium on a small rock out in the sand on its own. We eventually hit Beto's Reef at the very end. I've never been out to the end before. We hung around there for a little bit and then scooted back along the reef. Kevin took us in on a different route than I usually take back from Beto's -- we were over a lot of sand, so when we got back to some structure I wasn't sure exactly where we were (which was unfortunate, since I was leading us on the deco). It turns out we were further west than I thought -- several ridges west of Hole in the Wall. Once we got into some structure around 70 feet, we switched to our deco bottles and hung around there for a few minutes, then headed to 60 feet. While we were hanging out at 60 feet, I found an adorable little sculpin lined up on top of a little crack in the reef, so that he was very well camouflaged. I had hoped to visit the warbonnets and the eels on the way in, but since it took longer to get over to the sand channel than I expected, I just took us straight up the sand channel instead. We scootered all the way in to a little over 10 feet, and ascended from there. When we got back to the ramp, the tide was super low. Luckily the water movement was pretty minimal, so I didn't have to flail around on the ramp too much on the way out. 128 feet, 86 minutes, 49 degrees

The rest of the pictures are here. I will publish video from David and Jonathan when they are available.

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