It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Diving with Ted

On Saturday, we had a long-awaited scooter date with the elusive Ted. Well, he is elusive at dive sites, but I actually see him at least three times a week, and probably talk to him about diving more than anyone (other than Rob). But I haven't been diving with him in ages! Definitely not since he got his scooter. Matt invited himself along (snicker) so we were a foursome. I think Matt wanted to go to Three Sisters, but I had the itch for Granite Point. It was really calm when we got there, so once Ted arrived (late) we decided it would be a good day to check out the shallows over there. I was hoping to recreate the super cool dive over there I did a few weeks ago with Joakim.

Ted and I buddied up, with Matt and Rob behind us. Ted wanted to lead out and back to Granite Point, but wasn't too confident about finding the areas I wanted to go to, so we decided that he would hand over leading to me once we got out there. After staging our stage bottles and scooters on the float, and other general crapping around, we finally got in the water just before sundown (okay, not quite). Then we headed out for a surface scoot. Once the kelp got too thick, we dropped (viz wasn't too bad in the cove, but it was quite dark). After taking us for a scenic but unplanned tour of the east side of middle reef :) we eventually made our way to the sand channel. From there, the trip out to Granite Point was uneventful. Oh, except that Ted was going balls fast for a while until Rob finally complained. Anyhoo, once we got to the wall, Ted yielded the balance of his leadership to me. I took us to the right and around to the back of the wall. We clipped off there and swam around for a little while, until we were at the end of the wall. I didn't see anything wildly exciting, but I did see a TON of rostangas, all pretty big ones (with speckles), and most of them out and about not on their orange sponge. When we got to the end of the wall, I suggested we get back on the trigger and head a little further out.

As we scootered around one of the walls, there were suddenly a ton of baby rockfish swimming around under us, so I stopped for a minute so we could check them out. Anyhoo, after hopping across two rubbly patches, I eventually headed in to the east a bit, and found a suitable place to clip off. I think we were in around 50 feet. I was poking around when Ted signaled me to tell me Rob had something for us to look at. We swam over and he pointed out a warbonnet just sitting out on the reef. Very cool. It's not often you get to actually see the whole fish! After that, we continued swimming around, and I noticed a crack between two small walls that led up. I wanted to get up to the shallows, so I swam through there to see where it led. Eventually we found ourselves in about 20 feet of water. There was a touch of surge there, but it wasn't too bad. I found some structures covered in peachy colored Corynactis. Unfortunately I didn't find any green anemones like I was hoping. However, the water was really clear and bright up there (in contrast to deeper, where it had been really dark), and I once again was thinking how it seemed like we were swimming in a tide pool :) Eventually I decided it was probably about time to head back, so I cut to the west until we found the top of the wall, and from there I did the free fall down to 70 feet. Or I attempted the free fall, until a well-placed piece of kelp arrested my fall. Hehe. When we got to the bottom and headed in, I realized that we had meandered south while at the top of the wall, because we only had one rubbly pile to cross.

Before you know it, we were back at the wall, and I ceded control to Ted. Most of the trip in was pretty uneventful, until we were in about 25 to 30 feet on the sand channel, and Matt's scooter died. Lame. Rob towed him, and they took the lead. We scootered in a bit past the worm patch, and then eventually decided we were at a good place to ascend. I asked Ted if he would watch me do a valve drill, since it has been ages since I have done one, and I know how Ted likes that kind of thing ;) Actually, it was an educational experience, because I have never done a valve drill in drygloves, and it was definitely a bit different (raising my hand above my head to reach my valves causes gas to move into the glove, duh). After wowing everyone with my inability to remember the valve drill sequence, we headed up. Ted shot a bag, and while we were at 10 feet, Rob pulled his current favorite brand of shenanigans and lost his mask. I assisted him on the way up, although in hindsight I realized I should have made Matt :) My buddy knows how to keep his mask on his face :P 71 feet, 94 minutes, 53 degrees

We had a little surface interval and scrounged for food before heading back into the water for dive 2. We decided to do a little nudibranch survey at the end of Middle Reef for the BAUE nudibranch survey. I haven't counted slugs in ages! We kept the same teams, and since Rob wanted to play around on transect 2 (which has a warbonnet), I was stuck with transect 1 (not really my favorite one to count :( ). We dropped down before we even reached the edge of the cove, because someone was too impatient to swim around the kelp. This made for a fairly long swim out, but it turned out to be worthwhile. While we were still pretty close in, I was swimming along and a piece of palm kelp right under me had a Triopha maculata on it (one of the small bright orange ones, which I believe means it is a juvenile). I was super excited. I started gesticulating wildly to Ted, and finally managed to get across the idea that he should go fetch the others (their team was leading on this dive). He brought them back over and everyone took a look. I decided that made the long swim worthwhile :P Right around then, Rob's Argon bottle started spewing gas (or maybe it always was, and no one noticed it), so he and Ted had to do some debugging (what IS the procedure for debugging a bubbling Argon post?). After that was sorted it, we continued on. We swam along the sand channel until we were in about 40', and then we swam over to the 40 foot warbonnet, and Rob showed it to Ted. I just sort of hung back since it is a bit crowded in that spot with 4 people. Eventually we got going again. I kept waiting for Ted, who seemed to be swimming along at a crawl, since he was supposed to be leading our teamlet. Eventually I just sort of lived with swimming side by side, since he seemed unwilling to pull ahead.

When we got to the transects, I whipped out my wetnotes and got right to counting. It was a pretty boring nudi day; in addition to not seeing anything very interesting, I just didn't see much at all for the first 10 minutes or so. In the end, I think I saw all dorids except for one Hermissenda. When I was finished, everyone else was already waiting to go. We head planned to come in along the east side of middle reef. So we swung around and were swimming back in there. It's really nice over there, and for some reason we don't take that route very often. I like the little channel that you swim down. We were swimming pretty leisurely, and I was sort of scanning the reef to my right as we went. My light scanned past something that looked like a fish head hanging down from the reef, and I did a double take. It was a fish (a baby rockfish) hanging out of a sculpin's mouth! I signaled the team, and everyone came back to take a look. Rob whipped out his camera (shooting wide-angle, unfortunately) and starting taking some pics. Ted said he really didn't have the gas to hang around for the photo shoot, so the two of us headed in. I noticed once again that Ted kept hanging back and refusing to lead. So we were swimming slowly side by side, and once we got to a clearing in the kelp, I thumbed it.

We ascended into a clearing that was solidly surrounded by kelp, sigh. So we decided to go back down to 10 feet and swim in. It was actually pretty fun swimming above everything. We ascended again after a couple minutes, and were still sort of surrounded by kelp. After following a little channel in the kelp that petered out, we descended again and swam in at 10 feet. We finally ascended clear of the kelp, but were a bit further east than planned. Meanwhile Rob and Matt were already out of the water :) After a bit of a surface swim across the cove (during which Ted convinced me to practice my rescue skills and tow him part of the way hehehe), we returned to Rob and Matt taunting us about where we ended up. After a little post dive debrief, it became obvious that while I thought Ted was leading the dive, Ted thought I was. That explains the slow side-by-side swimming as I waited for him to pull ahead and he waited for me to :P That's also our excuse for getting lost in the cove. After the dive, everyone agreed that we should go to the east side of middle reef more often. 63 feet, 89 minutes, 53 degrees

It was already 4 or so by the time we got out of the water. We headed over to Otter Bay to retrieve my other suit (with its shiny new neck seal) and then had dinner at Sea Harvest. Then I rode home with Ted (Rob stayed in Monterey to dive on Sunday). Ted seems pretty sold on the use of a stage bottle for 2 long dives. I'm not sure if he has dove a stage bottle on a "real" dive before. It's funny, I remember like a year and a half ago when Ted started talking up stage bottles, and planted the seed in our heads that we should get stage bottles. There we were, walking along the path between the 600 building and the Oracle lagoon on our way to the Jaywalk Cafe (which I only mention because I know Ted finds it irksome that I remember both the scenery and the content of every conversation we ever have), and he was telling us how he wanted to dive stage bottles all the time, to avoid filling his doubles every week or something. If any of the stage bottles go missing from my garage, I will know where to look :P

All of the weekend's pictures are here.


Ted Pimentel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Pimentel said...
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Ted Pimentel said...

I was late because my dog ate my homework.

And I left you guys 30 ft. behind me because I had something in my eye could not see that you had fallen behind.

And I did not lead the second dive because Matt was distracting me.

And we got lost because my compass was acting up.

Can I have a Mulligan?