It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Granite Point Shallows

On Sunday, BAUE was having a little get together at Point Lobos. We were encouraged to try to mix it up and dive with someone different from the usual dive buddies, so I dove with Joakim. Since I didn't have my personal photographer with me, no underwater pictures today. We originally talked about Three Sisters or Granite Point as a dive site, but since it was dead calm, and Joakim told me he's more into structure than little critters, Granite Point seemed like the best choice. The plan was to scooter out to the wall, and decide based on the conditions there to either go around the back of the wall before heading north-ish, or just to head directly north.

We surface scooted out until the kelp got thick and dropped. As soon as we got going, I could see the worm patch, and then we headed out along the sand channel, and then over towards Granite Point. Along the way, we saw some swarms of little shrimp over the sand. We got to the wall, and it was really calm, so we headed to the right and circled behind the wall. It was super calm and really clear back there, but dark from the kelp cover. It was a very peaceful spot to hang out. So we clipped off and swam around a little. I noticed a little school of juvey rockfish hanging in a nook of the wall. I found a Limacia on the east wall in pretty short order, and pointed it out to Jo. I also found a fairly rotund Festive Triton scurrying across one of the boulders between the two walls. After swimming to the end of that area, I suggested we scooter some more, so we headed off to the north. I wanted to find this particular spot that has some nice hydrocoral. But after going for a few minutes, I decided I must have missed it, so I picked a fairly random spot with a wall sloping down at about 60 degrees, and suggested we clip off there.

From there, we swam around for a while. I found an Aegires and pointed it out, and then not long after I saw two more. I don't know if there are more out than usual, or if they were just easy to pattern match after seeing some on Saturday. We eventually found ourselves at the bottom of a sort of V-shaped canyon running east-west-ish, where the other end was shallower than where we were. I took us for a swim through the V, which was neat -- it was very colorful on both sides, with pink Corynactis, and tons of orange and yellow sponges, it was like a wall of cotton candy. This was in about 40 feet I think. I really like the shallow areas around Granite Point, and this is why -- so colorful! When we got to the other end, we were kind of at the top of the wall. We continued swimming around, and found some more similar cracks to swim through. I found a couple more interesting slugs during the swim. First, I found a nice plump Hilton's. I turned around to show it to Jo, and when I turned back, I couldn't find the bugger (which was ridiculous, given its size). I eventually relocated it. Then while Jo was checking it out, I noticed a very nice Rostanga egg spiral nearby. Also, as I was swimming through yet another V-shaped canyon, I saw a small Dirona on a little rock right under me. I had to flip myself around to face Jo so I could point it out to him. It was a very cute little Dirona, and I am pretty sure the first time I have seen one so shallow. While I was pointing it out, I noticed a little trilineata just a couple inches from it. It wasn't the sluggiest day, but there certainly was a variety!

When I decided it was time to head back, I knew I needed to go southwest to hit the rock-sand interface. I found a channel heading south, and figured I would just follow that and then hop west when it became convenient. But we pretty quickly ended up a lot shallower. From about 20 feet up, the water was super clear and bright. It was like scootering through a tide pool. There were lots of giant green anemones (which was cool, I've never seen them over on the Granite Point side) and purple coralline algae. Eventually I came to a point where there was a rock in front of my path that went up at least 5 feet (and I was in 15 feet of water). I decided that I really didn't want to end up on the surface, getting punished by the rocks over there, so I turned us around and took the next opportunity to bail out to the west :) I scootered down a path that got us to 30 feet and then basically just wound our way over to the top of the wall, and as we came over the wall, it was pretty cool to look down it. And scootering down the wall was really fun :) We ended up back at 60 to 70 feet, on the reef-sand interface, and scootered back along until we hit the main wall. We clipped off our scooters and poked around there for a few minutes, and then we headed in. We scootered back to the end of middle reef, and followed the west side of the reef. I stopped at the 40 foot warbonnet (Rob recently found a new apparently-resident warbonnet, in 60 feet :P), and showed it to Joakim. Then we headed in. We surfaced from 10 feet, about 100 feet from the float. 73 ft, 80 minutes, 50 degrees

I considered going back for a second dive with Rob, but after such a great first dive, I decided there was no need. I definitely want to go back to that area again the next time it is really flat. Swimming around and scootering through all the little nooks in the shallow area is really fun.

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