It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, May 23, 2008

Big Day at Lobos

Today we did our monthly(-ish) dive on Phil's boat. The Guest Kitty this time around was Jonathan. I know it was quite a hardship for him to dive without his scooter, but we managed to talk him into it. The swell model did not look good all week, and Kevin was naysaying about our dive prospects all week. We remained optimistic, but in the end things did not really improve. But we met Phil at the gate, and decided to see how things looked (but held off on loading the boat). The surface conditions were not too pleasant – it was cloudy and cold and sprinkling intermittently. When the park opened, and we got down to Whaler's, it looked pretty marginal in the cove, and the waves breaking on Granite Point were pretty big. Also, the cove looked absolutely pukey -- a really ugly shade of greenish brown. However, as you looked outside of the cove, you could see a very distinctive change to a nice aquamarine color further out. Anyhoo, Phil told us if we wanted to go, he would take us to the E3 area (we wanted to go to Deep E3). So we loaded the boat and got going. The swell was big, so it was a slow trip over there. However, once we got to the site, we were pretty efficient about getting geared up, so no one got too queasy before we got in the water.

When I got to the anchor line, I looked down into the water and knew we were in for a treat -- it was a really nice shade of blue and I could see pretty far down. We dropped down and when I saw the reef from about 60 feet, I figured we were not on Deep E3. In fact it was E3. But that was fine. Last time we were there, we stayed on the top half, so today we would check out the bottom half. We got down to the reef on the south side near the notch between the two peaks, and swam clockwise around the pinnacle. We saw a lot of the usual stuff -- gorgonians and elephant ears. I paused at the northwest end to pose next to an elephant ear (because we don't have enough pictures of me posing next to an elephant ear :P). As we came around that end, I noticed a lot of Spanish shawls, and two Dironas. Kevin pointed out a China rockfish hanging out from one of the boulders off of the main pinnacle on the bottom. As we continued around to the north side, I could see a structure out in the distance (the viz was 60 to 80 feet, depending on who you ask), which it turns out was Deep E3. I saw more fish around the boulder field at the bottom of the north side -- a ling cod swimming out in the open, a big vermilion, and another China. There was also the usual group of blue rockfish hanging off the pinnacle (but it was not spectacularly dense). We got to the notch between the two peaks (on the north side) by the time it was time to call it.

We followed the west peak up to about 100’ during our deep stops. Right at the top, there were a bunch of olive rockfish hanging out. When we got to 90’, I could see a medusa about 10’ below us. A while later on the deco, Kevin pointed out a medusa, which Rob said had been with us for a while, so I guess it was drifting with us. The ascent was otherwise pretty uneventful, except that my ponytail kept sneaking up on me, because it had unstowed itself. I also saw a strange looking crab drifting along. It was very small with long thin legs, like a daddy long legs. The water conditions were not bad on the ascent. Even at 10’, I didn’t notice a lot of water movement. When we got to the surface, there were big but somehow gentle waves rolling in. Phil retrieved us two at a time and we had an uneventful return to Whaler’s. While we were waiting in the cove for Phil to get the trailer, we practiced a man overboard drill, with Kevin playing the victim. Let’s just say he deserved it, but I am sure he will get his revenge on Rob when he least expects it. Then Jonathan jumped in to rescue Kevin’s hat, or to prove his supremacy at climbing back into the boat without fins on (frickin Marine). Phil had to land the boat himself because of the conditions (low tide with swells coming across the ramp). 165-ish feet, 65 minutes, 41 degrees (not a typo, but perhaps a glitch in the Tec2g matrix)

Pictures are here. Kevin's report is here.

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