It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Night Dive at the Breakwater

Photo by Mike Jimenez
Since the forecast looked great, Clinton, Mike and I did a night dive on Wednesday. We were a bit late getting down there, which had the unfortunate side effect that all of the restrooms at the Breakwater were locked. But luckily the nice man at the restaurant on the breakwater did not mind me using theirs. Then it took us a while to gear up and get in the water, which was mostly my fault I think. I was borrowing Ted's single tank rig (for no particularly good reason :P), to which I had to add pieces I had cannibalized from my rig. Then after I got into my harness, my argon bottle (with strap attached) flopped down. This isn't the first time it has flopped off from a DSS backplate -- the hole location does not seem optimal for affixing an Al6 (which is, by the way, Pepper's tank of choice). Clinton managed to fix it for me, and we were on our way.

Photo by Mike Jimenez
The water was dead calm, and crystal clear as we walked into it. You could see every ripple in the sand beneath. But once we were in water too deep to stand in, it was green and murky. We swam out on the surface, and things looked better as we got far out. We swam pretty far out, although it seemed pretty quick, since we were flying in those single tanks :P We dropped in the sand in about 45 feet, where the visibility was at least 20 feet, and the water wasn't really murky at all. The plan was to hang out there for about a half hour, and then head over to the wall. Mike was shooting macro; Clinton didn't bring his camera. I pretty quickly found a little octopus; he had his arm looped around a tube worm. Not sure why he was holding on, there wasn't really any water movement :) By the time Mike came over and setup to take some pictures, he was cuddling with a starfish. Not long after that, I saw a bigger octopus (Breakwater big, not really big). Apparently he was munching on a crab, which I did not notice. However, Mike got a picture of him with a crab leg hanging out. I saw a few more little octos doing standard octopus things. I was really shocked at the lack of nudibranchs. Usually the sand is at least good for some Hermissendas. Finally, more than 15 minutes into the dive, I saw a Hermissenda. Then about 15 minutes later, I saw another. What the heck!? Clinton also found an Acanthodoris brunnea, which was scurrying over the sand. We also saw some lizard fish. Really not a lot of critters on the sand.

Photo by Mike Jimenez
We eventually headed over to the wall. On the way there, Mike stopped to take some pictures of a turbot, or some such fish whose eyes were poking out of the sand. Clinton also found an octopus curled up in a shell. Just as he pointed it out, the octopus withdrew completely into the shell. When I tried to show it to Mike, he was looking at me like "what the heck are you pointing at?" Eventually he saw it, and took some shots, including the adorable one above with the octopus poking his head out. Mike dubbed it the "hermit octopus" :) When we got to the wall, we saw the usual night wall fare, including lots of small fish among the rocks. We meandered along the wall toward the beach. When we got into about 20 feet, Clinton buried his head in some hydroids and found some Dendronotus subramosus, which I have never seen before. Once Clinton pointed a couple out, I was able to find more on my own. I can't wait to take Rob back there and show them to him. They were all over the hydroids -- Clinton said he probably saw 50 out there. Clinton also pointed out a small red cabezon pretty shallow along the wall. By this point, I would freezing. In fact, at around 15 feet on the wall, I was starting to think that cold water diving isn't for me. Clearly I was delirious from the cold :) I was also convinced that I had a leak in my left foot, which turned out to be imagined.

We eventually ascended from about 8 feet and swam in. The water was still dead calm, and the walk up the beach in a single tank was delightful. Mmm, I love single tanks. 82 minutes, 53 feet, 51 degrees

All of Mike's pictures are here.

No comments: