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Me diving

Monday, April 28, 2008

E3, Finally

We took Monday off to go diving off of Phil's RIB, as a send off to David, who is leaving us for a while :( We were a team of four -- Team Kitty plus David (who is most definitely an honorary kitty -- he has an adorable and truly evil cat, who recently traumatized Oreo and Pepper during a "play date"). We were hoping based on the swell model that we could get down to Yankee Point, but the wind seemed like it would not allow that. Phil told us it would probably be fine on the way down, and fine during the dive (for us) but very unpleasant on the way home. So we went to Plan B, which was E3. We have attempted to go to E3 a couple of times, but Phil always finds some great looking pinnacle on the depth finder on the way out there, and we end up diving elsewhere instead. Once we got outside of Whaler's Cove, it was just a little sporty from the wind waves. We got to E3, dropped the anchor, and wriggled into our gear, with Phil's help of course. Rob got into his gear first, and I got into mine last. Rob said he wanted to shoot the bag, and Kevin wanted to call deco, so I volunteered to lead. By the time I finished going through our gear checks, Rob declared that if he had to sit in the boat and do anymore gear checks, he was going to barf. So he splashed first followed quickly by the rest of us. Rob was shooting W/A and David was videoing.

As we descended, it was green and murky in the shallows, but once we got below about 20 feet, it cleared up. At about 70 or 80 feet, I could see structure below us. The anchor was in the sand (which Phil had warned us was probably the case) so we peeled off from the line and swam to the structure at about 130 feet. The first thing I noticed were white patches from the elephant ears (surprise surprise). The second thing I noticed was a giant Doris odhneri, which, as Kevin put it, was the size of a loaf of bread. It's rhinophores were finger-sized. It was pretty scary looking :P We were on the southwest-ish area. Phil had told us he liked the northwest corner the best, so I headed in that direction (which was against the current, but I figured as soon as we turned the end of it, we'd be moving with the current). The section we were on had lots of elephant ears and gorgonians. It wasn't insanely encrusted, however. I found a Spanish shawl around 150 feet. There were also some small rockfish cowering in the cracks, including a juvenile rosy (I think).

As soon as I got to the point and turned it, I could see why Phil said that was the good side. Everything was covered in strawberry anemones. The whole reef looked pink! Shortly after turning the corner I found a little nook with some more juvenile rosies. I made David come over and get some video of one of them :) At this point, we were moving with the current, so I mainly just let the current do all the work. I slowly worked my way up shallower, since we wanted to average 130' at the bottom. Someone signaled me to show me a big Dirona, which open closer inspection turned out to be two right next to each other (mating, I assume but with all the fluffy cerata, who can tell?). I also found a crab on an elephant ear in a very intimidating pose, so I swam behind him and posed for a picture :P If Kevin had been closer by, I definitely would have put the crab on his head. By the time we drifted to the other end, it was nearly time to go. I drifted around the south corner a little bit, and noticed a Limacia. From there, we worked our way up the reef and then Kevin thumbed it and took over as deco captain.

The ascent was pretty uneventful. At 60 or 70 feet, I noticed Rob was futzing with his camera, so I took the spool. Then he didn't really do much with it, so I gave it back. For some reason, It was clipped to his right shoulder D-ring (usually he clips it to his left shoulder and hip like a bottle). Apparently he realized at that point that it was clipped wrong, but was too afraid of dropping it to unclip it :P The deco was pretty boring because we didn't have any visitors -- no jellyfish like we have been treated to on recent dives. When I hit the surface, I was glad we didn't go any further. It had gotten a bit rougher. It was nice to just have a short ride in. 152 feet (max), 65 minutes, 44 degrees

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