It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ed Cooper's Wall

Friday we had the day off for Independence Day, and Phil just happened to have the day available on his boat. So Rob snapped it up. "Unfortunately" Kevin was in Mexico (diving without us) so he was left out of our first post-T2 dive expedition. Instead we brought Susan and Beto along. The boat was pretty loaded down with all of our gear (those Gavins are real boat-hogs). The forecast looked totally sweet, so we decided to shoot for Ed Cooper's Wall, which is just off of Lobos and only really diveable in good weather. Team Kitty plus Beto dove there a few months ago. There is a network of walls and canyons, that run from like 240 feet (at the bottom of the deeper areas) all the way in to 20 feet at the top as you head towards Lobos. It is the perfect spot for a nice deep multi-level dive. So we planned a 210 foot segment and a 150 foot segment.

On the way out to the site, we encountered a pod of dolphins. Mostly there were Risso's, plus a few white-sideds. I have no memory of the events that immediately followed (I think it was the Haitian...), but before you know it, we were all in the water, with fins and masks. The dolphins were not very interactive with me and Rob, but they were totally into Susan and Beto. I think the dolphins were singing Happy Birthday to Susan. But it was still fun to flop around in the water with them. After Phil rescued us from the perils of the ocean (and I managed, for the first time in the history of the world, to get back into the boat with no assistance), we continued on to the site. I think Phil was disappointed we didn't want to go south. After a painstaking search for the precise spot on the GPS, we dropped the hook. We had to clip the scoots off and toss them in the water in order to have enough room to gear up. We got geared up, and rolled in. For some reason, my left arm was not behaving as usual, and I got smacked in the jaw with my bottles. I don't even know what my arm was doing instead of holding the tanks, but I suspect it's because I was preoccupied with not breathing from my backgas. Well, I won't make that mistake again. I'm just glad it didn't leave a visible bruise, since that would be embarassing for Rob ;)

We retrieved our scooters and headed down the line. I am sad to say (as you may have guessed), Rob did not bring his camera on the dive. Since this was likely to be a scooter-intensive dive, I think he didn't want to slow the team down. There was current on the bottom, though I didn't notice much on the way down. We were anchored in about 130', and when we got down to the reef, there was this strange crater in the reef. I think Rob wanted to swim into it, but we continued on to find this awesome canyon with sand on the bottom (probably around 240') and two walls that were probably around 60' tall on either side. Beto and Susan were on the right wall, and Rob was poking around on the left wall, and I was just hanging in the center with a goofy grin. Beto pointed out a Tochuina tetraquetra on a gorgonian. It was a relatively small one. As we were looking at it, we got sucked down the wall in the current. Yikes. We also found a really nice looking vase sponge, which was like the most perfect shaped vase sponge. It was a bit deep though, so we had to admire it from afar. I also found a small basket star sprawled out (I think Beto and Sue may have found another one too).

When we were on the surface playing with the dolphins, my dryglove leaked. So when we got back in the boat, I reseated the glove and did a test dunk, and it seemed to be fixed. On the descent, I noticed my wrist was cold, but I thought it might just be from getting wet earlier. Of course this was just denial, and it got progressively worse. By the time I was wet up to my elbow, I had reached the Nth stage of drysuit floods and decided it was time to call the dive. Rob and I told Beto and Sue and headed off on our own. Just before we parted, a big school of blue rockfish appeared. It was like a dense wall of fish moving towards us. Very cool. Anyhoo, we scootered off in the direction that Beto and Sue were planning to head, and then left the reef around 120 feet and drifted. It was a pretty cold deco, but not unbelievably cold. The 400gm thinsulate is definitely a lot warmer during a flood than my old 250 :) By the time we got to the surface, I was wet basically everywhere except my left arm and right leg (weird, I must have lopsided trim in the water :P). Not too long after we surface, we retrieved Beto and Sue from the water, and headed back into the cove. I was glad I had a full change of clothes and even a towel in the car!

No comments: