It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Thursday, June 25, 2009

T2, Day 4: D3

On Thursday, we headed out hoping to make it to D3. It was a little bumpy in the bay on the way out, and even bumpier as we rounded Point Pinos. But once we got down to Carmel, it seemed a bit calmer. I was leading the dive, so I gave a briefing on the way down. Bob was definitely bitter than he had traded leading a dive at 40 Fathoms for a dive here :) The plan was 190 feet for 25 minutes, with 35 minutes of deco (plus a 6 minute ascent). We got down to D3 and got geared up. I was pretty concerned about getting into the water with 3 bottles, but it turned out to be not too bad. I got my stage and 50% bottles on while seated, and when I stood up, Michael clipped the O2 bottle to my leash right before I jumped. I think the guys both got all of their bottles on while seated, but I was not so into the idea of walking across a boat deck with 3 bottles on. The plan was to back the boat up to the downline, and go in negative. This seemed like it would be a useful technique in the future, so we decided to try it.

I was the first into the water, and I got to about 5 feet and realized that the line was nowhere in sight, which was not surprising considering the very green murky viz. Oops. So I returned to the surface and found Dean still on the surface. When I saw where the float was, I laughed at the idea of being able to find it underwater. It was at least 30 feet away. We swam over to the ball on the surface, with Rob and Kevin's bubbles following us below. They were apparently trailing my fins. When we got to the ball, I headed down the line. We met up at 10 feet, and then all headed down to the pinnacle. Below about 20 feet, the viz cleared up nicely. Very nicely. The pinnacle came into view around 80 feet. When we got down to the pinnacle, I told Rob to go check the hook, which was resting on a little plateau at about 150', since Jim had asked us to do that. While he was checking it, I found a nice little hydroid shrub covered in Dotos, so I showed it to Rob when he returned. Then we headed down the pinnacle. We were on the southwest side of the pinnacle, so I headed west (clockwise) toward the tip, where I could see the sand sloping down. It actually slopes down sort of precipitously at the end there. Right on the western tip, there were a bunch of rockfish cowering in the shadows of the pinnacle. And a big lingcod. We also found a cluster of four Dironas.

We just sort of meandered slowly along the base of the pinnacle. The wall on the north side is pretty impressive. I would definitely like to check it out again sometime under less stressful circumstances :) A couple minutes before it was time to call it, we started meandering up the side of the pinnacle, and eventually I handed over the deco to Kevin. Rob and I did a team bag shoot (I got to do the fun part, he got to reel) as we left the pinnacle on our first deep stop. The ascent was pretty uneventful until we got to 20 feet, and I got a cramp in my leg. So I spent the rest of the deco breakdancing in the water column, because I was completely uncomfortable in a horizontal position. I felt (and looked, I am sure) like a complete moron. I was really relieved when the dive was over and I could flail around on the surface until the cramp went away. We were all kind of mopey when we got back on the boat, although Rob and Kevin were surprisingly not annoyed about my performance (Dean was surprisingly not harsh about it too, when we finally got around to the debrief). On the ride back, we found a big pod of dolphins, that included several different species -- Pacific white-sided, Risso's, and Northern right whale dolphins (my favorite!). Dean had been promised some sea mammal sitings on the boat ride, and Jim did not disappoint. I think I have only seen that big a group of so many different kinds of dolphins like once before. Unfortunately we could not find any whales for Dean.

After getting lunch, we went over the final exam in the afternoon. Then later on in the early evening, we did the swim test. We went to the Monterey sports complex for the swim. It was a really nice facility -- so many lanes to swim in, and the lanes are so wide! Rob and Kevin were both faster than me, despite Kevin's constant queries about my swim times over the past couple months, and his constant claims that he was a minute slower than me. What-ev. I was pretty happy with my breath hold though. The best part about the sports complex is that they have a water slide on one end of the pool :) Dean insisted that we tackle the water slide, and I reluctantly went along with it :P It was fun. Rob complained that the class really didn't prepare us for the rigors of the water slide. After the swim, we headed to Ah Sushi for some dinner. Yum.

Rob and Kevin were convinced that my leg cramp was because I was dehydrated or malnourished (I was so nervous about the class that I barely ate or drank anything that morning), so they force fed me a banana and a ton of water that night. Rob sent me to bed with a water bottle, while the boys stayed up later playing Rock Band.

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