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Me diving

Friday, December 12, 2008

Outer Outer Pinnacles Again

We were back for another Friday on Phil's boat, and once again, the swell conditions were okay but not great. Since going south didn't look feasible, we decided to head up to the Outer Pinnacles area again, since we liked it so much last time. Once again, we brought our scooters, so we were looking forward to slaloming the various pinnacles and boulders at the site. The swell was biggish, but the wind wasn't bad. So it was a sort of slow ride out there, but only slightly terrifying. We were hoping to see some more vase sponges, but figured the chances were pretty low, since we had just randomly happened upon them.

Rob was leading, and once we got down the line, I suppose he picked a fairly random direction to go. Pretty soon we found a really cool channel between two tall walls. And what do ya know, there was a vase sponge near the bottom of one of the walls. Upon closer inspection, they were actually on both sides of the channel, about 3 big ones and a couple small ones in all. I tried to pose with one of the bigger ones, but there was a decent current through the channel, which made it pretty challenging to pose (need to practice back-kicking against a current...). After Rob snapped a few pics of the sponges, we continued on. We found another spot to stop for some pictures, a scenic reef top, so we hung out there for a while. I saw a bunch of different kinds of rockfish of fish milling about in that spot, and there was the requisite posing behind reef when I wasn't poking around in a crack looking at a fish.

Eventually we continued on and found ourselves peering into a neat little arch. This was the "swim-through" that Rob and Kevin had reported was SO COOL on the last dive. I didn't recognize it since I hadn't been down to it before. Last time, Rob and Kevin found out the hard way that this swim through abruptly curved up and spit you out upwards (or, alternatively, you could scooter into a wall). It was pretty cool. We each swam and scootered through it a couple of times, each posing for pics on the way out (which was the way in the last time Rob and Kevin scootered through it). On my second swim down the top of it, I saw a vase sponge inside of it! I continued to the archway where I gesticulated at Rob to come and look, which apparently he mistook for gesticulating about how he should take more pictures of the archway. I finally swam out and told him to follow me. I swam into the overhang, and slowly made my way through it, looking for the sponge. I couldn't find it, and started to doubt if I had actually seen it. I turned back to signal this to Rob, and then I found it. It was really only visible going one way (which explains why Rob and Kevin didn't find it on the first dive).

Shortly after that, it was about time to head up. Rob tried to convince us to push the dive by 5 minutes because he claimed our average depth was shallower than planned. I think he was rounding our average depth a bit more than I wanted to, so I said no. Then we headed north on the trigger for a minute or two, until we found a shallower peak around 110 feet, and we shot a bag and headed up from there. The deco was pretty uneventful. Kevin was getting seasick on the shallow stops. I wasn't really bothered by the big rolling swells. Kevin was scootering circles around us because apparently he felt better moving than stationary. When we hit the surface, I swam over to the boat and handed off my scooter and deco bottle. By the time I had finished that, I was horribly seasick. I guess it just didn't hit me until we were on the surface and I could see the waves.

All of the weekend's pictures are here.

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