It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Joy-Riding at Lobos

On Saturday, I dove at Lobos with Rob and Jonathan. We decided to go to Great Pinnacle, which Rob and Jonathan did last weekend, but I have never done on a scooter before. But we decided to do it slightly differently -- they had hit Great Pinnacle and Twin Peaks, but we were going to just go to Great Pinnacle, so we could spend more time there for Rob to take pictures. Since it was so calm, we planned to take a shallower route out there, leaving the sand channel early and cutting behind the Hole in the Wall and Lone Metridium reefs, and then popping out a little to the west of Lone Metridium. Jonathan was leading, and towing an extra scooter. I managed to worm my way out of that by telling Jonathan that I planned to practice my scooter acrobatics, and towing the spare would hinder that goal. I got to lead deco, my favorite :P The tide was low when we got there, but we were hopeful it was on its way in. Errr, try again. Gary told me that low tide was at about noon, which I really didn't want to hear :)

After staging our gear (with Suzanne and Gary's assistance), we waddled into the low tide ramp and headed out. We descended around the edge of the cove, and headed to the sand channel. When we got to the break in the reef, we headed down the little sand path shooting off from it. Rob was being horribly slow, and he realized his scooter was pitched down, so we stopped and he tinkered with it, and then we kept going. I think he was still being a little poky though, so I'm not sure he got it quite right. Anyhoo, we scootered along at about 70 feet, and then skirted Shortcut Reef, until we got to the southwest side of Great Pinnacle. First we checked out some of the little pinnaclets to the south, and then we headed over to the main pinnacle. Rob got his camera out and I started looking around. A minute later, I noticed Rob wasn't taking pictures so I went over and asked him what was up. Apparently the battery in his camera was mysteriously dead, so he clipped it off and we had a wetnotes conference about whether this changed our plan. So that is why you don't get any Bob pictures today :( We eventually headed around to the north wall of the pinnacle, and clipped off to look around. There was a nice little current so that we could just drift along the wall. Rob was a little below me, and he signaled us. I swam down, and he pointed out a Dirona albolineata. They are so pretty! A moment later, I found another about 15 feet down the reef. We kept seeing more, for a total of about 5. They were all different sizes. One was a monster, and another was the size of a big Hermissenda. We also saw about 5 Spanish shawls, and a tiny Hopkins rose.

When we eventually left Great Pinnacle, we circled by Twin Peaks and then eventually hopped over the Road and scooted in over the sand between the sisters and Beto's. Somewhere along the way, when we were near a little pinnacle, I saw a Spanish shawl swimming a couple feet off of the structure. I looked back at it after I passed it, and tried to signal Rob and light it for him to see. But as I narrowly averted scootering into a wall, so I didn't get a chance to see Rob's reaction. Apparently he completely missed it :( At some point around 90 to 100', we paused for a moment (not sure why), and while we were stopped, I went to check my SPG. While I was looking at it, Jonathan started to scooter and Rob pointed towards him. I was like, um, busy, give me a sec. By the time I clipped off my SPG and looked up, Rob was rolling his eyes. Apparently, there was a wolf eel swimming out in the open, but he darted under a rock before I looked over :( We headed in to Lone Metridium, and switched to our deco bottles there. Then we hopped reefs to the east on the way in. When we were hopping over the Hole in the Wall reef, we ran into Ben, Matt, and Don on scooters. Ben and I ended up in a game of scooter chicken. I'm not really sure who chickened out first :) I think we both did. We continued up the sand channel, and then stopped at the worm patch for a few minutes. Ben and crew showed up again to harass us. But we had the last laugh when Don got wrapped in kelp :P As we were leaving the worm patch, we ran into Gary and Suzanne and had a little Gavin vs. X race on the way in :) 136 feet, 85 minutes, 46 degrees

When we got to the ramp, the tide was super low, but since it was dead calm, it wasn't too terrible getting out. We climbed up the rocks on north side of the ramp, although I somehow still managed to end up on my knees on the ramp, and had to get a hand up :) Rob and I decided that since the conditions were so nice, we should go for a second dive. And we even had two spare scooters to use (Kevin's and David's), so we decided to scoot for the second dive as well. Since it was so calm, we decided to head to Granite Point and to go behind the main wall, which we've never gone to before, and possibly the caves over in Coal Chute Cove. After we waddled back down the ramp, Jonathan, uhhh, assisted us in launching the scooters. Suzanne and Gary were getting in at the same time, so we offered them a surface tow out to Hole in the Wall. We actually dropped almost right on it (strong work, Bob). Then we headed over to the end of Middle Reef, and out to Granite Point.

When we hit the first wall, we went to the right instead of our usual left, and circled behind that wall. We meandered through the various small canyons and cut-throughs back there. It was a fun spot to zoom through on scooters. There was a nice kelp patch and color little walls. We clipped off at a couple of spots and poked around. I showed Rob some skeleton shrimp like I found last weekend (he looked at me like "what the heck are you trying to show me?" at first). I also found a couple of Limacias, one really small. Other than that, nothing too crazy exciting. It got quite shallow back there, we were at about 30 feet for a while. Eventually we decided to head out and go north past the wall, where we usually do. We got to some of the nice hydrocoral-y spots, and then I turned the dive, because I wanted to leave some time to check out the east side of Middle Reef on the way in.

Right as we turned, the viz was actually getting worse, with more particulate. When we headed back, Rob cut behind the wall again (not sure why) and eventually I guess he decided that was a bad decision and we hopped back over it. We ran into some other divers, and just as I was thinking it would be a good time to do a barrel roll, Rob did one, and then I did one. Hehe. We then headed into Coal Chute cove, and Rob looked around for the caves (which I have never been to before, but Rob has). After looking for a minute, I suggested we just punt. I am fairly certain he was looking on the wrong side of the cove for them :) We headed back to Middle Reef and intercepted it on the east side, and headed along that side. We stopped somewhere along there briefly and looked at some Tritonias and Berthellas. Then we headed in. We eventually found a worm patch and headed west. We found a big sandy area, and I practiced my barrel rolls. I have a tendency to go up a little when I do them, so Rob was giving me some pointers. I think I improved a bit, but I can still only roll to the left. I just can't bring myself to go to the right. It feels weird.

I eventually signaled that we should head in and we continued until we got to about 15 feet, and I thumbed the dive because my scooter started to give the put-put that indicates it is nearly dead. I was also trying to avoid having to switch off of my stage. We stopped at 10 feet, and after a minute, I thumbed it. Rob insisted on staying for another minute, so I was forced to switch off of my stage, grumble. When we got to the surface, we were on the west side just outside of the cove right by Cannery Point. It is a good thing we came up instead of continuing west :) We scootered in on the surface, and after about 15 seconds, my scooter was totally dead. So Rob towed me in the rest of the way. When we got to the ramp, I was relieved to see that the tide had come in and the water level was just right. We didn't even have to float our gear, we just pulled the float onto the ramp and let the stuff bob on the ramp since the water was so calm. 70 feet, 58 minutes, 44 degrees

Photos in this post are all by Ben Villao.

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