It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Diving with Rob

On Saturday, Rob and I did a dive at Lobos. We realized afterwards that it's been a really long time since we have dived as a team of two, without other people. So I guess you could say it was a romantic stroll (err.. scoot) down the Road to Twin Peaks ;) One downside to diving as a team of two, is I have to actually drag all the gear down the ramp to stage on our float. I can't conveniently have to go to the bathroom while that is magically going on without me :) Despite diving as a team of two, it seemed like everyone was at Lobos on Saturday. There were some SoCal visitors (Nick, Maciek, "The Swede" and Jessica), some of whom Kevin was diving with, plus a lot of the usual crowd -- Don, Elissa, Kevin, David, Jonathan, Cynthia, Kenn. And I am sure I'm missing some people.

Anyhoo, we surface scooted out to near the worm patch and dropped. Only we weren't actually quite to the worm patch, and the vis was horribly horrible in the 20 foot range. We actually got briefly separated about 10 feet before the worm patch, when we had to go single file between some rocks. Once we met back up, I planted myself right next to Rob, so he could see me out of the corner of his eye for the rest of the dive :) There was a ton of particulate in the water as we headed down the sand channel. I saw a little school of perch off to the left along the sand channel. Through the haze, I eventually made out the wall before Hole in the Wall. Rob circled the hole with his light and we headed out towards Lone Metridium. When we got there, Rob circled the metridium with his light, and then we headed out over the sand towards the Sisters. At some point over the sand, we saw a group of four canary rockfish. As it turns out, we were never to find the Sisters :) As we got deeper, and it because evident that we had missed them, I was pretty sure we were too far east. We veered a little more west, and before you know it, we hit the Road.

It was really dark, and the viz was bad enough that it was hard to figure out where we were in the grand scheme of things. We followed the rock-sand interface, but I just didn't have a feeling for where we were with respect to various landmarks along the road. We eventually found a spot to hang out at, in maybe 125 feet of water. Then we started looking around. It's unfortunate that Rob was shooting wide-angle, because it was definitely a day to shoot macro, given the conditions. I poked around while Rob took some pictures. I saw a few notable things. First, I saw a Hopkins rose, which while not totally unusual, I hadn't seen in a while (and I'm not sure I've ever seen one at Lobos). Then I found some white nudibranchs mating, which I at first thought were Berthellas, based on their color and spots, but then I noticed their weren't. I'm still not sure what they are, but if I had to guess, I would say Cadlina modesta or Cadlina sparsa. I am not sure how one is supposed to distinguish between the two (but Clinton says it is hard, so it's probably beyond my capabilities ;) ). Next I found a Cadlina limbaughorum, which I was quite excited to see since I have never seen one before. I didn't really know of its existence until a few weeks ago, though, so I didn't know if they were unusual or not. More on that later. Just as we were about to head out, Rob showed me something with his light. At first I thought he was pointing out a cute little fish in a crack, but then I realized there was a simnia snail on a gorgonian.

When we headed in, we managed to miss the Sisters again, and instead we basically just crossed the sand until we got to the Lone Metridium-ish area. The trip in from there was uneventful. The vis and surge were terrible in the sand channel. We got to the worm patch, and Rob kept going. I started to signal him, to suggest that maybe this would be a good place to ascend, and then he turned around, realizing how terrible the viz was getting, and we headed back to the worm patch and ascended there. Then we surface scooted back to our float. As we were about to start clipping stuff off, a steady stream of people appeared on the ramp to take our gear piece by piece. Very convenient :) Then someone gave me a hand up (I don't think the SoCal guys thought I could make it up on my own ;) ), which was nice, since climbing up that ramp with numb feet is always a challenge :) The ramp has grown quite a layer of green fur. 139 feet, 92 minutes, 48 degrees

Everyone but David and Jonathan were already out of the water. Pretty soon after, Jonathan and David returned, but with one fewer stage bottle than they set out with :( Apparently a stage bottle got "dropped" (well, floated away) out by Hole in the Wall. I guess they did their deco along a kelp stalk out there and looked for it briefly, but could not find it. We searched for it from the cliff with binoculars, but couldn't see it. Jonathan wanted to go back out and search on the surface with his scooter. So, we ended up with a scooter team on the surface, and a bunch of us on the cliff giving direction. Rob ended up finding the bottle from the cliff, and we directed Jonathan to the bottle. Rob said he could see Jonathan hugging it through the binoculars when he found it ;) After that, we headed to Black Bear for some lunch.

On Sunday, I told Clinton about the Cadlina limbaughorum that we saw. He was quite excited. Apparently they are typically found in SoCal (and pretty common down there), but were not originally thought to be around here. He has seen one once up here, and didn't have his camera at the time. Rob managed to scrounge up a fuzzy image of the one we saw, by zooming way in on a W/A picture that he took. Just for proof that we really saw it :)

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