It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Monday, January 19, 2009

Guest Dive Report: Naia's Wall

Allison, Kevin and I realized a few weeks ago that we all had MLK day off, so we quickly called Phil to see about going diving. There was some brief debate about whether or not 2 Phil dates in 5 days was too much, but that silliness was quickly put to rest. As the day drew nearer, one of the team members (the kitty herself) started coming down with an outer-ear infection. skilled forensic detective work traced it back to swimming in an under-chlorinated pool (man, and they say this diving thing is dangerous). Anyhow, we weren't able to tempt any honorary kitties for the dive, so it ended up just being Kevin and I (which was somewhat ironic since the gas plan of 18/45 to allow for a deeper dive was mostly Allison's idea).

I had been eying a dive site called Naia's Wall for some time, and it looked as though conditions might finally allow getting out there. We launched the boat as usual, and while waiting for Phil to park the trailer, politely declined a request from a kick team at Lobos for a tow out. We motored around the point in very short order thanks to almost no seas or wind to speak of, and before you know it we were throwing the hook and watching the line for what seemed like the whole way down. Kevin and I got dressed fairly quickly, went through our pre-dive checks and final plans/discussion and then splashed. We had been joking about how with Allison at home, we'd finally be able to make a fast descent. Little did either of us know how fast it would actually turn out to be. After meeting at 15' for bubble checks, we signalled to drop and both hit the triggers. About 60sec. later, we leveled off at about 140'

We dropped into a sand channel a little-bit SW of the Wall, but I could see it's dark shadow from the downline. In very very short order, we scootered up to it and were struck by its sheer magnitude. The wall itself is a sheer vertical drop from 60' at the very top to about 190' or so at the bottom. Parts of the wall near the bottom are undercut, giving the wall an inverted feel. We got on the trigger and started exploring the deeper end of the wall at about 170'ish. We spent about 10 minutes putzing around there before turning E and heading up to about 150' or so on the trigger. There aren't a whole lot of large sponge or hydrocoral formations here, but the wall does have a very healthy covering of corynactis and other smaller sponges, etc...

At about the 25 min. mark, I signalled to explore the channel further E and shallower. We scootered E until we got up to about the 130' mark or so and then worked our way back toward the peak where we would end the dive. We did our deep stops along the reef, as well as our gas switch and our 70' stop. It was great doing our deco while poking along the reef looking for slugs. At the 60' stop we were starting to get blown around the very very top of the reef, so we put the bag and drifted off. The rest of deco was fairly uneventful except for the whale song I kept hearing off in the distance.

Afterward, we had lunch with Beto and Sue, then to AWS for fills. When we got back, Allison had a hot dinner cooked and waiting for us (score!).

Pictures from the day are here.

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