It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, February 29, 2008

Octopus Hunting at the Breakwater

We did a night dive on Friday, at the Breakwater. Kevin and Jonathan were there scootering (and pushing scooters), but I was not interested. I like to look for little critters on the sand at night, which scooters are pretty useless for. So the rest of us did a kick dive. Rob, Matt, and I were a team, and Cynthia and Al trailed us. We planned to swim out along the wall a little bit and then loop out over the sand and look for octopuses in the sand. I am always saying that if you just look for them, they are all over the place at night, so Al and Cynthia had high expectations for me to prove it.

The water was very calm when we got in. I was even schlepping a stage bottle (to simplify our dive plans for Saturday), and it was not a problem getting in. We swam out to a little past the fence, and we noticed that the water was crystal clear, so we decided to just drop there. We swam out a little bit along the wall, and then Rob took us out over the sand. Actually it was more like out over the sea trash, since there were little bits of dead kelp and other such junk on top of the sand. And then we started looking around. Eventually, Al and Cynthia found the first octopus. It was a "big" one, as in, not the tiny ones that are most common out there at night. Matt also pointed out this really cute fish that was basically all head and very little body and tail. I think it may have been a scalyhead sculpin. We eventually found 3 more octopus (2 tiny ones and one other "big" one). I also saw a variety of cute little fishies, crabs, and shrimp. The red shrimp that are usually doing back flips all over the place were apparently absent, but there were other cute shrimp around.

We eventually moved out over to the sand (sans sea trash), to the nudibranch hunting portion of the evening. One strange thing was that I saw quite a few San Diego dorids (most of them quite small) on the sand, which seems like an odd place. A lot of them were on the move though, which was pretty cute to watch. Rob found two Acanthadoris brunnea mating (again). And I found a shaggy mouse nudibranch (Aeolidia papillosa) which I always like to see (mostly because they have such an adorable name). Plus there were tons of Hermissendas, and tons of Hermissenda eggs (but I didn't see any Hermissendas laying eggs). I was getting pretty chilly, because we had moved so little during the dive (and because I am a whiner, as Rob will tell you), so the dive came to an end at just the right point :) We ascended from about 8 or 9 feet and swam in. Kevin came down and took our stage bottles (what a sweetheart). As we were walking up the beach, I felt like I was going to die. Walking full doubles up the beach is much harder than half-full or empty ones! Or maybe I am just getting soft from too much Lobos diving. 40 feet, 68 minutes, 53 degrees

After all our dilly dallying after the dive, and the arguing back and forth about who should decide where to go for dinner, it was rapidly getting too late to make it to any of the restaurants in Monterey (except Dennys). So we finally settled on Chili's (gag) and almost didn't even make it there in time before they close. Monterey really needs to be a more late night dive-friendly place :)

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