It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Granite Point and Middle Reef

Aldisa sanguinea
Photo by Clinton Bauder
On Sunday, I dove at Point Lobos with a gaggle of dive buddies. I was diving with Ted and Matt, but Clinton, Mike, and John were there too, so we decided to all go out to Granite Point together. The water was really calm, and it was warm and sunny. It was a nice day for a surface swim :) We ended up swimming forever -- all the way out to Granite Point in fact :) But with the dead calm water, it was a nice swim out. Ted was singing the Trogdor song for most of the swim out. When we got out there, we descended, and I noticed that the other team stopped around 20 feet, and by the time we got to the bottom, they were nowhere to be found. It turns out, John's light canister was bubbling on the way down, so they aborted. So they got to enjoy a surface swim all the way back from Granite Point too.

Rostanga pulchra
Photo by Clinton Bauder
We dropped in about 50 feet, and were within site of the kelp along the wall. We swam over to it and followed it out north. We were informally surveying for slugs, as in, keeping track of all of the species that we saw. So I was poking around the reef looking for slugs. I actually saw quite a few different species -- the standard yellow dorids and Cadlinas, Berthellas, Tritonias, a Limacia, a Hermissenda, and Rostangas. While I was leafing through some hydroids, I saw a cool red-striped shrimp. He skittered away and then I noticed the hydroids were crawling with skeleton shrimp, which I have never seen before except at the aquarium. I am sure I've seen them many times, actually, but never noticed them :) I was just looking at them at the aquarium recently, and I guess now that I've seen them there, I can see them. After a little slow poking around for a while, I decided we should cover a little more ground, since I was getting chilly. We swam to the point where the wall turns, and then swam across the sand/rubble north to the next wall north.

Photo by Ben Villao
At some point, I realized that now that we were without a single tank diver, we had more options for the length of our dive. So I whipped out my wetnotes and took a poll of whether we still wanted to do two dives, or one long dive. Ted voted for one, and Matt voted for two. I abstained, so they roshambo'd to decide. The first time was a draw, but on the second round, Matt won. I had been secretly rooting for Ted, but oh well. Not too much later, we turned, but not before finding a few nice stalks of hydrocoral. At the point where we turned, the visibility had deteriorated a bit -- it was chunkier further out. After turning, we headed back to the original wall and then out over the sand. We came back to Middle Reef, on the east side. I swam us over to the west side, and followed the reef in. I passed the warbonnet spot, and then a minute later, decided I should show it to Ted, since I didn't think he had seen it before. So I doubled back, and Ted looked at me like I must be going crazy. But I found the warbonnet, and managed to show it to him. Then we continued back in, and stopped to visit the wolf eels, who were both there. Not long after that, we headed over to the sand channel and ascended just outside of the cove. A moment later, we saw another bag come up, so we swam over to harass whoever it was... turned out it was Ben, John K, and Rob R. We went down there and I threw Ben an OOA drill, just because he is the king of surprise drills :P On the way back up, Ted flipped over on his back, and was air guitaring and head banging to the Trogdor song. In hindsight, I realized all the muffled sounds coming out of his regulator during the dive were probably the same thing. 77 feet, 76 minutes, 48 degrees

Eubranchus rustyus
Photo by Clinton Bauder
The team sort of disintegrated on the surface interval, and after a lot of waffling (and Ted wowing us with his ability to read his watch incorrectly), we ended up with me, Rob (who had been diving with Jonathan in the morning), Clinton, and John. John and Rob decided to do a quick scooter dive, and Clinton and I dove the shallow end of middle reef, looking for more nudis. We were briefly waylaid by the presence of a mother seal nursing her pup on the rock at the bottom of the boat ramp. It was very cute, but caused a bit of a delay getting back into the water. We finally got back in, and swam out to about where the worm patch is but to the east. We dropped in about 20' of water, but the reef came up to nearly 10' there. We just doodled around without covering too much ground. We found a bunch of neat ledges and overhangs that were nudi cities. We saw tons of nudis, and a lot of variety. There were scads of Rostangas, of various shades of orange, and various sizes. We also saw some really fat Tritonias. I found a very pretty trilineata -- it was a nice magenta color instead of the reddish-orange that we usually see. Clinton found a Eubranchus, which I don't think he has seen at Lobos before, so he was pretty excited. Clinton also pointed out some Aldisas. The first one he pointed out, I looked at briefly and wondered why he was showing me a Rostanga. Then the second time he pointed to a little orange nudi, I figured it had to be something else, and when I looked closer, I realized it was. I don't see those very often, but maybe I just haven't been looking close enough :) Eventually Clinton gave me the cold sign (which I totally agreed with), so we thumbed it at essentially the same spot where we had started. It was a pleasant swim back in on the surface -- the water was dead calm. 32 feet, 57 minutes, 48 degrees

After that, we headed to RG for some slow service and stingy water refills :)

All of the day's pictures are here.

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