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Me diving

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mount Chamberlain Deep

Saturday we were on the morning installment of the BAUE tech charter. Since the conditions looked nice, we decided to head down to Mount Chamberlain. I'm not sure whose idea this was, but I suspect that since Rob was organizing the boat, he may have had something to do with it :) Since the site has a lot of different depths to chose from (especially if you are scootering), we planned to do a multi-level dive with the first segment at 220' and the second segment at 150'. If we couldn't find a worthy piece of reef shallow enough to make a 150' segment, then we would just skip that part of the dive. I have to be honest, I really didn't know where on the reef we were during the dive. I thought the original plan was to do K3, but then when we got to the site, we were briefed on a wall, and how to get to the wall, which way the wall ran, etc. So I basically just followed directions and did not think too much about the mental map I had of the site.

Turns out, we were diving the wall that is to the west of K3. On the way down, we were treated to quite the menagerie of deco critters -- lots of salp chainlets, jellies and the like. I figured this was a good sign of what was to come on deco. We dropped in the vicinity of K3, and then headed west until we hit the wall. We passed through some amazingly narrow canyons, which were totally fun to scooter through. We got to a little sandy area on the way back where it seemed like we had lost our way. But sure enough, we continued on and found the wall. We also passed a huge school of thousands of some kind of little fish. Not sure what they were, but I did see one lonely juvenile rockfish trying to fit in. Once we got to the wall, we found an interesting up current on the wall. It was like the ocean just didn't want us to get below 213'. I kept dropping down the wall and then finding myself at 213' again. The other team decided to employ scooters to outsmart the ocean, and ended up quite a bit deeper than us :) We meandered along the wall for a while. The life wasn't really too much different than what we'd seen in shallower areas of Mount Chamberlain, but we did see a basket star. There were also tons of egg yolk jellies all around, many of them hanging just off the wall at various depths. It was neat to look down the wall and see the jellies.

We eventually headed back to the east, looking for the shallower ridges we had passed on the way out. We found a pinnacle coming up to like 160' just east of where we were, and just as we were mulling a leap-of-faith scoot over the depths to the south, we saw the other team's lights to the south of us. Sweet. We headed over there, and along with them, we scootered in along a shallower wall, which eventually topped out at like 70'. Very convenient that we could stay on the reef all the way up to our bag shoot and deco switch. For some reasons, the deco critters seemed to have gone into hiding during our dive. There were still some, but they didn't seem quite as prevalent as they were on the way down. It was still a nice drift with what we had to look at.

After we got back to K-dock, Team Kitty (in a streak of insanity) headed down to LA for more diving on Sunday. I thought the plan was relatively insane, but Sunday was Rob's birthday and he wanted to do it. We left straight from K-dock, and made pretty good time getting to LA. The only traffic snafu was an accident on I-5, where they shutdown the highway so a med-evac helicopter could land on the highway. While the delay was inconvenient, how often do you get to see that? :) Luckily we were like 100 yards from the point where they shutdown the highway, so once the helicopter was gone, we were on our way very quickly. LA dive report to follow.

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