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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Counting Slugs and Taking Names

On Saturday, Rob and I were diving at Lobos. We were very waffly about what to do, and finally after chatting with John on Friday about his plans for the day (to count slugs with Clinton), we got inspired and decided to do that too. When we rolled into Lobos at 9:20, it seemed like everyone was at Lobos! And they were all waiting to heckle us for arriving so "late". But I see that as one of the benefits of diving just the two of us -- we can arrive whenever we feel like it! Anyhoo, after chatting with John and Clinton, we split the transects up, and we agreed to take the deeper transects at the end of middle reef. Our plan was to go out there, each count one transect, and then meander back in on the east side as time allowed.

We got into the water to find excellent viz and very calm water in the cove. We swam out to the mouth of the cove, and decided to drop there, since the viz was so good. On the descent I found out that my sketchy dry glove was indeed still leaking. Boohoo. I was too lazy to go back to the surface and pull the vent bungee from the seal, which I would come to regret later on :) We headed down the sand channel, and then cut over to middle reef around 30'. We saw a HUGE sheephead (and a slightly less huge one) cruising middle reef, and then we also found a HUGE cabezon sitting in the rubble just off the wall. After marvelling at its hugeness, we continued on. As we past transect 5, I saw two big juicy Berthellas there, and I wondered if we should have chosen the shallow transects :) We stopped for a brief visit with the wolf eels. I hadn't visited them since the return -- it is definitely a different male wolf eel in there now. The new one is less "ugly" and not as huge. I could see the red one back in there too. Next we stopped at transect 4 to look for the resident warbonnet, but we couldn't find him :( Then we finally headed out to transects 1 and 2.

Rob counted his transect (1) first. While he was counting, I swam around his transect looking for anything interesting. I saw tons of slugs, but nothing particularly interesting. I think the most interesting find on his transect was a Limacia. I also found a teeny tiny San Diego dorid. It's rings were so tiny they first looked like spots. When he was finished, we moved on to my transect. It was a pretty slow slug day, and there wasn't really anything too interesting. Near the end of my count, I found a Limacia, which was a relief, since that is at least a little exciting :) Once I was finished, we compared our gas and decided we should head straight in. I led us in on the east side of the top of the wall. There were TONS of slugs up there too. We also saw another big (but not quite huge) sheephead swimming around up there. When we got to about 20' (on top of the wall), we cut back over to the west side and down off of the wall. When we got to the worm patch, I thumbed it and we ascended there. The wind had picked up quite a bit, so it was pretty choppy on the surface.

Since we were running late in the morning, we didn't manage to stop anywhere to get surface interval food. The good thing about so many people we know being at Lobos is it means there are more people to mooch food off of. Cynthia even baked brownies! There was also a gaggle of docent-trainees enjoying some lunchtime refreshments at the picnic tables. When they were finished, Matt the lifeguard offered us the scraps. It was a pretty efficient way to get rid of a big plate of cheese, fruit, and sandwiches, and little bags of Doritos. Rob noted that the docents should really be trained not to feed the wildlife :) After the mooching of food was complete, we headed back into the water to do some drills. We kicked out to the worm patch and dropped there. The plan was to head out to 40-ish feet so we could put up a line and do some "midwater" stuff. Before we headed out there, I did a quick maskless drill. When I got my mask back on, before I even managed to look up at Rob and give him the okay, I noticed a white glowing line hanging out from under one of the worms on the patch. After a second look, I realized it was a little trilineata. Then I found another. I showed them to Rob and then we headed out. We got out to 40 feet, after finding another trilineata on a piece of kelp on the way out. We put up a bag and did some bottle drills. At one point, as Rob was in the middle of a bottle rotation, I noticed another trilineata floating in the water next to him. Why couldn't any of them have been on my transect!?! Life is so unfair! After we did some drills on the bottom, we moved up to 20' to do some more. All in all I thought it was pretty successful. When we were finished, we went back to the bottom, cleaned up the line and ascended. Then we kicked in on the surface.

Dinner at Turtle Bay with a bunch of the other Lobos dive crew.

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