It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Night Dive" at Beto's Reef

Sunday we went on a scooter dive with David. We decided to do a long dive at Beto's Reef. We got a slightly late start (had to take the in-laws to the airport), but once we got down there, we geared up pretty quickly, staged our gear, and headed out. We had a minor scooter glitch (the battery got knocked out while they were bobbing on the float, so Rob took the scooter back out of the water and fixed it) before we got going. We scooted out on the surface until just about the worm patch, and descended there. I was leading, with David (with his headlights blazing) second, and Rob in the back. The water was pretty green and milky in the sand channel. As we scootered down the sand channel, I could barely see the reef on the left hand side.

We got to Hole in the Wall and after a slight pause, we headed north towards Beto's Reef. Out here, the vis opened up a little bit, but it was still really green. We came up on the right side of Sea Mount, and right around there, we became engulfed in a swarm of krill. I could barely see anything because of my light reflecting off of all of them. After a minute, I adjusted to it, and we kept going. And then it got really dark. I was thinking that I might not be able to find Beto's Reef in these conditions, since I often come up on it from the side and see it off to the side. Then before I knew it, I noticed that there was reef below me. I figured it had to be Beto's, so I continued along it and found the first dropoff, so I was convinced it was. I asked Rob if he thought it was Beto's and he agreed. I dropped us down to the west side of the reef, and we scooted along the side. It was a pretty interesting ride -- when the reef jutted out in areas, I couldn't really see until we were right there. We got to the end, and then parked there for a while. At this point it was as dark as a night dive. The visibility was probably around 20 feet, but it was just dark.

Rob took some pictures (it's a good thing he was shooting macro) and David was videoing. David's lights really lit things up, as long as you don't look directly at them :) I was just doodling around. I found a variety of cute little sculpins, plus many of the usual nudibranchs. There were lots of Festive Tritons. Rob was taking pictures of one for a while. I went over to see what it was and noticed a nice-sized Tritonia. What I didn't see, however, was when it started munching on a gorgonian. But Rob got some nice shots of it. We periodically kicked our way shallower on the reef. We saw several different types of rockfish hanging out in the various cracks -- canary, vermilion, coppers, olives and of course the little blues hanging off the reef. As I was scanning the reef, I saw something orange hanging out of a hole. I looked closer and it was a tiny octopus, like the little guys you see at the Breakwater at night. I have never seen an octopus at Lobos before (except the one that Clinton and Rob rescued from a sea gull on the Lobos ramp a few weeks ago :P). I was super excited, and sure I wouldn't be able to find it again when Rob came over, but luckily I did. I also found one Spanish shawl, a nice sized one for Beto's reef, and a pile of three Geitodoris heathi with an egg mass nearby. There was one white one and two yellow ones. I thought it was pretty neat to see the two different colors together. I called Rob over to show him, but he didn't take pictures. I guess he wasn't as intrigued by the inter-racial slug lovefest as I was.

I was ridiculously cold, so I ended up calling the dive a few minutes early. When I gave Rob the signal, he made a face and questioned it. Back to his old antics I see. Anyway, he was to be deco captain, so I told him he could take us in. He scooted us along the reef, which was as interesting as the scoot out. As soon as we got a bit beyond the reef on the way in, there was actually light again. In about 70 feet, it was green but bright. It was once again safe to look in David's direction without being blinded :) However, the water was quite milky and it only got worse as we got further in. It was hard to distinguish one ridge from the other in the Hole in the Wall to Lone Metridium area. We knew we were around there, but we didn't really know we had gotten to Hole in the Wall until we were actually there. Then we hit the sand channel and headed in. It was quite challenging to keep Rob and David both in view, because our scooter speeds were not very well matched. By the time we got to about 25 feet, the visibility was probably something like 8 feet. Oddly, once we got a bit past the worm patch and into the cove, the visibility seemed to open up a bit. But maybe it was just brighter and less green -- still very milky. We were hanging in 20 feet, with the bottom about 26 to 28 feet, and I couldn't clearly see the kelp laying on the bottom. We surfaced right around the edge of the cove and surface scootered in. I was very happy to see it was high tide :) 130 feet max, 87 minutes, 48 degrees

After we cleaned up, we headed to Cynthia's for a tasty Easter meal. Thanks Cynthia!

All of Rob's pictures are here. I am sure a video is forthcoming from David.


Unknown said...

That sounds like a pretty good dive considering the conditions lately. Oh when will this 70' scum layer go away? (Sounds like it's much better in Carmel). My suit is in the shop (again), so I spent Easter sunday in the garden smashing snails and planting tomatoes. A good investment for summer!
Thanks for the report and photos, it is good to know that the sea is alive and well. My last dive was enough to kill any enthusiasm for awhiloe (zero vis).

Sarah Goes Scuba Diving said...

As always - beautiful report. I was actually very curious about how the conditions were at Lobos in light of the conditions in Monterey. I've heard nothing but "bad" vis reports from everyone who went out this weekend, so at least I wasn't alone in the dark. :)