It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, February 16, 2008

(Nudi) Love is in the Air

We did a dive at the Breakwater on Saturday. We were originally planning on diving in the Wallins pool to check out some gear (me a "new" drysuit, and Rob some do-it-yourself zip seal replacements). But then Matt was looking for a buddy to do some drills and fun diving with on Saturday, so we decided to shake out our gear at the Breakwater instead. Yea, so, another day, another drysuit (I know, it's an addiction, but I swear I am going to sell my old suit). I found a great deal on a barely used suit that fit me nearly just right (and just happens to be purple, my favorite color). So I sent it to Superior Drysuit Repair for an alteration, and I wanted to make sure it fit properly and I could reach everything I needed to reach, etc. Matt is in the middle of his fundies class, so he wanted to do a couple drills. Rob left his camera behind I guess because of the drills.

We planned to do one long dive around the pipe out to the Metridium Field (and perhaps the Metridium Field). We stopped on the way out and did a few drills -- valve drills all around, and a couple S-drills and bag shoots. It was rather surgey, which made it tons of fun trying to stay together. On one of the descents, we descended practically right on top of a pair of mating Dendronotus iris'es on a tube anemone. They were really big, really pretty ones -- the dark pink, sort of magenta shade that I really love. The suit seemed fine, although it took a little getting used to how it feels when it has the right amount of gas in it -- it is a lot more snug than my other suits, so it feels a bit different without all the extra material. Another difference is that this suit has turbo-soles whereas my other suits have rock boots. So when gas gets in the feet, it feels like there is a lot of gas, but really there isn't. This wasn't helped by the fact that the fins I had were too big for the turbo-soles, due to a miscommunication about packing the car (that's what I get for making Rob pack the car after I went to sleep, or for having 3 pairs of jettish fins). I think I sabotaged one of Matt's practice bag shoot ascents with my flopping around trying to get my feet under control :)

After we finished with the drills, we headed out towards the pipe. Matt was leading, followed by me and then Rob. I guess we had drifted (well, moved around trying to find an open patch where we wouldn't get surged into rocks) during the drills, so we didn't drop at our usual lineup. So we were heading out the usual way but we just kept going and going without hitting the pipe. Along the way, I saw a pair of mating Acanthodoris brunnea on a tube worm tube. I was really excited to see this, as I have only seen them a couple of times before, and never two at once! Plus if you are going to accidentally end up spending an entire dive over the Breakwater sand, that's pretty much the coolest thing you can expect to see. I signaled Rob and then he brought Matt over to check it out. After that, we continued on over more sand. At some point, I found one of those red kelp leaves on the sand, and noticed some nudi eggs on it. Matt and Rob (the so-called "number 3") were getting a bit ahead of me, so I took the leaf with me. I was staring at it, studying it for nudis, when I practically face planted into a rock covered in metridium. Whoops. Rob and Matt had stopped at it, and I showed Rob some Dendronotus frondosus (I think). We were only in about 39 feet of water, so we must have been at the far edge of the field. We continued on, and eventually we got to a sand berm that I thought I recognized -- the one at the end of the pipe! So I signaled to Matt that I wanted to go a different direction and swam over the hump, and voila -- there was the end of the pipe.

We decided to head in along the pipe from there. We didn't see anything too special along the pipe -- more D. iris eggs, lots of cool little feather dustery worms (which I guess have probably always been all over the pipe, but I've only recently started noticing them), and a ton of those little sandy looking oval shaped snails that looked like they were all migrating in one direction along the pipe. Oh, and did I mention the surge? There was a super long period, so I'd feel like I was swimming again current, until 30 seconds later I realized I were moving the other way. About halfway in along the pipe, I got really cold and stopped looking and just wanted to get in quickly. Then we headed in towards the beach, and in about 13 feet of water, Rob whips out a bag and wants to shoot it. I waved it off and he rolled his eyes, but I was sort of in a hurry to get to the bathroom :P, so I didn't want to wait around on the surface while he cleaned it up. 44 feet, 89 minutes, 49 degrees

By the way, I love the new suit. I really like the turbo-soles, although I can imagine it being easier to sprain an ankle in them than in the rock boots. But they are just so comfy! Mostly I like the fact that the suit fits really well, and I finally have a suit that matches my weight belt! :)

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