It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not Diving at Point Lobos

Rob was out of town, and I wasn't originally planning to dive this weekend, since I figured I would be busy cleaning the house and such before our Thanksgiving guests arrived. But when John tempted me with a Lobos ticket, I just couldn't say no. He was shaking out his scooter (which he told me, in a very convoluted manner using a variety of terms with which I am not familiar, had passed his in-bucket leak tests at home). John recently moved a few miles from our house, which is very convenient for carpooling. So we agreed to meet at my place at O-dark-thirty as Ted would say. John arrived a "bit" past O-dark-thirty, but he had some kitty-related excuse for that, so I had to forgive him. Then we had to negotiate who would drive. John thought we could fit everything in his car, so we started loading my gear into his car (from mine), only to eventually decided that my car would be a lot more convenient. So then we moved everything back to my car, and finally got going about an hour later than expected.

After stopping at the Carmel Safeway for some donuts (committed to fitness and what-not) and batteries, we got to Lobos (an hour later than I had told Clinton we would get there). The guy at the range station warned us that some of the divers had turned around and left after seeing the conditions. We presented him with our C-cards (John's a very crusty backup card that he was lucky to find in my car) and headed in. Once we got down to the parking lot, I was relieved to see that Clinton, who was already in the water with Melissa, had left his O2 analyzer for me. I let Rob take ours with him on his trip, and forgot to borrow Ted's during the week. So at the last minute on Friday night I was scrambling to find someone to borrow one from. Then I couldn't get the case on it open. The zipper was like corroded shut. John couldn't open it either. Finally, between the two of us and a pair of pliers, we managed to get it open. Phew. We headed up to the top of the cliff to check out the conditions, and they were definitely not the best outside of the cove. However, it was surprisingly calm in the cove (west swell, I guess), so we were not deterred.

Then as John put his scooter together he noticed a key piece of it was missing... the tow cord (his scooter hadn't been in the water since he had sent a part of it back to George). Eek. I was sure that was going to put an end to our scooter plans, but figured I should rifle through our little tool/spares kit in the car thinking we might have some of the right line in there. We did not. Then I went through the one other bucket of dive gear, which contains catheters and spare socks, and at the bottom of it, I found a nice length of tow cord line. Quel surprise! I figured Rob in his infinite preparedness had put it there in case of a tow cord failure. Rob later admitted he actually had no idea why the line was in there, and no memory of putting it there. So maybe the scooter fairy left it for John :) Once he outfitted his scooter with the cord, we swam our gear out to the float, which John had expertly deployed. I was pretty shocked by how good the viz was at the float. By the time we were ready to get geared up, Clinton and Melissa were back from their dive. They reported surge and so-so viz, but that it was plenty diveable (though they punted on a second dive). So we were off. Our plan was to go to the end of Beto's reef, and maybe over to the Road to Twin Peaks, depending on the viz and whether John's scooter filled with water and dragged him to the bottom of the ocean.

We got into the water, got all of our gear from the float, moved the float while marveling at the viz, and headed out on the surface. Before we even got halfway to the edge of the cove, John stopped. I figured he was diddling with the pitch to match my speed, but then after a minute I asked him if everything was alright. He raised up his arm and I saw his prop in his hand. That's never a good sign :) We headed back to the float and he got out with his scooter (all at once... very hard core) to debug it. While bobbing on the surface, I thought about the many times I had heard the three minor failures wisdom -- that after three minor failures, you should call the dive. I was pretty sure had already exceeded our minor failure quota for the day, and I was getting seasick bobbing on the surface. After John apparently exhausted the possibilities of what can be done with duct tape, he gave up on fixing his scooter. He offered to schlep our 32% stages into the water for a kick dive, but I countered with a suggestion that we go for a hike with Clinton and Melissa instead. So we schlepped all our gear out of the water and headed off into the woods.

We headed up along North Shore trail until we got to the otter pelt station, and then continued heading south all the way to Gibson beach. I've never been down there before. Then we went to China beach, which I've also never been to. We headed back to Whaler's by cutting across on the trail that dumps you back on the road down to Whaler's. We saw a variety of strange mushrooms along the way. We headed to Baldemiro's for a very late lunch and then headed home. While John was out, he became the proud daddy of two new adopted kittens. I will have to beat some pictures out of him to post here. On the way home, Rob started calling my cell phone incessantly (which John could not locate under the mountain of gear in the car) and then finally called John. Apparently Rob was alarmed by my text message of "Dive failed. Going for a hike now." I had to assure him that in the event of a dive accident, I probably wouldn't go for a hike afterwards :)

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