It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Road to Twin Peaks, Again

Rob, Jonathan, Mark and I dove at Lobos yesterday. We originally wanted to go to the "right" to the deeper part of Granite Point Pinnacles, but when we drove in and saw how sloshy the water looked over there, we decided to stay to the left instead. We decided to go back to the Road to Twin Peaks, but to stay in one are longer, for a photo shoot, rather than the grand tour like we did last time. Mark and I were a team, and Rob and Jonathan were a team. I was leading, us out, and Jonathan was going to bring us back along the west side, to show us some navigation landmarks he uses. After building a not-to-scale 3D model of the terrain in the sand/pebbles next to the parking lot and reviewing the plan, we got geared up and headed into the water.

The surface conditions weren't the greatest. Every now and then there'd be a big set of waves that made the ramp quite sloshy, and the water would come way up the ramp. But we managed to time getting in pretty well, so it was pretty uneventful. However, our float had been dragged out a bit, but luckily lodged itself in a rock before our scooters and bottles floated off to the end of the earth. We scootered out a bit past the mouth of the cove, and dropped there. It was quite surgey and there was a lot of particulate in the water at that point. We headed out along the sand channel, where the surge was quite impressive. When the surge was coming at me, I felt like the scooter was literally not making forward progress against it. Then when it would go with me, I felt like I was getting kicked down the sand channel. It was pretty fun. We got to Hole in the Wall, and when we turned past that, I think the surge kind of died down. The vis also slowly improved. We headed to the Lone Metrid, which was a sad little stump of a 'trid, and then headed out towards the sisters. I guess I took a slightly off heading because things were not looking familiar for a while, so they I headed a little more to the left and very quickly hit the third sister. Then we headed out from there. Last time, we stopped for pictures at one spot for a while and then swam to another nearby spot for a brief visit, and that second spot was much nicer. So when we got to that spot, I stopped and asked if they wanted to clip off for some pictures. I couldn't believe how blue and bright the water was. Last time we were there, it was very dark. I was also surprised by the blueness because the water had been so green and murky in the sand channel. We hung out in this area for probably around 10 minutes. I found a big mass of lingcod eggs, which I have never seen before. I eventually found a lingcod loitering not too far away (but not too close either). I think he was busy trying to pose for a picture instead of guarding his eggs. But Rob was not interested in him, only in the eggs (I felt his pain, I lined up for Rob to take my picture and he shooed me away!). Other than I saw hydrocoral, gorgonians, those glossy tunicates that I like, a big area of this very pretty pink/red encrusting sponge, and the usual nudibranchs (lots of clowns nudis). We were in the 110 to 120 range here, and there was some water movement even at that depth.

When we were a few minutes from turning, I suggested that we get back on the trigger and explore a little bit past where we were. The area that we had stopped was like a little mountain with a little crack/canyon in it, so we scooted through that, and then around the west side of the structure and after zigging and zagging around a few rocks off to the side of that, back out along the east side. When I got to our turn time, I handed it off to Jonathan, who was going to bring us back along the west side of the road. On the way in, we hopped over to Shortcut Reef, and Jonathan showed us a landmark where he turns east to come home. I noticed that the sand below us was really stirred up from the surge. Then we headed back to Lone Metridium. We passed the second sister on the way in, and I noticed a rock a little southeast of that which had some nice bushy stalks of hydrocoral on it. Look like a good place to take some pictures in the future :)

When we got to Lone Metridium, we switched to our bottles and then we slowly headed in. We stopped around Hole in the Wall for a minute, and then when I went to go, I got the longest piece of kelp known to man stuff in my prop. It seemed like it took forever to uncoil it, which I think I did in the slowest way possible (instead of breaking it off each time I uncoiled a loop, I was looping the WHOLE stalk back through). Then we headed across the sand channel to middle reef. On middle reef the surge did not seem quite as bad as it had in the sand channel on the way out. However, I may have just not noticed it because I was ridiculously cold (and quite wet :( ) at that point. We stopped to look at the warbonnets and the eels, although I just hung out while the others looked. We did our 20 and 10 foot stops, and there was a good deal of water movement. In addition to the surge, I think we were also getting blown into the cove, but I could have imagined that. I was quite miserable because I was cold, but I entertained myself by waving to the CSI camera on Jonathan's scooter :P 78 minutes, 142 feet, 48 degrees

When we got to the surface, it was pretty unpleasant, so we scooted in right away. When we got in, I couldn't figure out where the float went. I guess it got pulled under the water. Rob found it, and we clipped our scooters off. I swan in to the ramp at the tail end of a big set of waves, so planting myself on the ramp was a little hairy, but then it calmed down. I handed my bottle to Jonathan (who had already shed his gear) and waddled up the ramp, in a hurry to get out of my soggy suit. When I pulled the suit off, I was wet, but actually not as wet as I expected (at least my legs were dry). So, it's back to the drysuit hospital for pinky for a leak test.

While I was drying off, Rob and Mark retrieved our scooters (thanks boys), and then they helped some of our friends out of the water, since those big sets seemed to be getting bigger. There were a few times when the water came all the way to the top of the ramp, and water was splashing over the rocks on the sides. It was pretty entertaining to watch Rob and Mark holding Ted up by the manifold, pulling his fins off :) They reported that swimming down the sand channel in that surge was not very fun. After that, we headed to Turtle Bay for lunch. I think there's a lot of dissent brewing in the ranks regarding Turtle Bay for lunch; we need to find some new places to lunch.

Jonathan shot and editted video from the dive here.


ru4scuba said...

u guys look like u have way too much fun... Those scooter things look like a blast too... I can wait to start and finish deco procedures and try the scooters...

Sarah Goes Scuba Diving said...

Great report - as always. And the photos - superb. Thanks for sharing and best of luck with the drysuit leak. That happened to me when I rented a drysuit for my course (AOW segment) and man, it was brutal! Took me forever to stop shaking.