It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ed Cooper's Wall

Friday we did a Team Kitty dive off of Phil's boat. Beto joined us as a kitty for the day. We had been hoping to target a spot near Ed Cooper's Wall, just outside of the Point Lobos boundary. But with all of the rain during the week, Beto reported earlier in the week that from the surface, the water was quite brown all over Lobos. So we figured we would try to make it to Yankee Point, or as a backup, the Outer Outer Pinnacles area. When we got to Lobos, there were little brown waterfalls at the south end of the cove, and the water was indeed a nasty shade of brownish-green. We headed out of the cove in the Yankee Point direction, to see if we could make it down there. At some point, the color of the water abruptly improved, and we decided our original site was worth a look. We found the spot and the water color looked fine, so we got geared up and flopped in. The period of time between pulling up to the site and heading down the line is mostly a haze, because I was feeling sort of seasick at that point... all I really remember was Phil bonking me in the knee with my deco bottle while gearing me up, and noting "that's going to leave a mark".

After dealing with a bubbly regulator, we headed down the line, right next to a narrow canyon that had been the target. Instead of heading down the canyon, we headed west down the wider canyon that runs perpendicular. The top of the canyon was a little deeper than 100', and the bottom was probably about 180' or so at the bottom (the top and bottom get deeper as you run west). Not too long after we started scooting down the channel, we ran into a gorgonian with a basket star on it, on the left hand side of the channel. What a treat! I have never seen one around here before. After briefly oohing and ahhing at the basket star, and posing for some pictures, we continued on, stopping every now and then so Rob could take some pictures. At one point we paused at a not-very-encrusted plateau, which I noticed had several of the red bumpy sponges that the Aldisa cooperi were on last weekend at Twin Peaks. I was looking for the slugs on the sponges, and just when I was about to tell Rob that these were the red bumpy sponges I had told him about, he pointed out an Aldisa he had found. It had an egg mass on the sponge next to it.

Other than that, the wall had lots of nooks with rockfish in them, most notably some treefish, Chinas, and vermilions. Canaries too, I think. The wall was generally covered with corynactis, with the occasional elephant ear or gorgonian. We eventually turned around and scootered back shallower. We briefly visited the narrow channel that had been the original target. It was really cool... very narrow and tall. We'll have to hit that another day. Near the end of the dive, we stopped to check out a treefish, and found a den with two wolf eels nearby. As we were hanging out in that spot, a tower of blue rockfish suddenly descended upon us. Sadly, it was time to start our ascent. We followed the reef shallower to about 90' and then Rob shot a bag and we started our drift. On the deep stops, there was a gang of chestnut cowries on the reef -- they seemed to be everywhere! It was weird. We had a pretty uneventful deco.

When we got back to the surface, Phil had a treat for us -- he had built this little ladder made of metal rings welded together, that he flopped over the side for a trial run. It was definitely easier than no ladder, but still a little unstable. I think Phil got some ideas for LadderV2, which I look forward to trying out next time. We had lunch at our usual Friday spot, Siamese Bay. After that, we reviewed some footage that Kevin took during the dive. I have to admit, I had no idea Kevin was filming during the dive... when we were on the boat pulling up to the site, he was saying that he didn't know if he was going to bother hooking up the camera. I never noticed him actually doing it, and I couldn't figure out why he was scootering around us during deco :)

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