It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mt. Chamberlin, SW loop

Allison was sick today with sort of lingering chest cold, so I decided to stay out of her way and meet up with Kevin to go diving :-) I was hoping to finally be able to do a scooter run at Mt. Chamberlin that I have been eyeing for some time (I've attached a bathymetry map of the region, and of our route).

As we lauched from Lobos, the wind was pretty snotty and we could see whitecaps just outside the cove. I took the helm, as Kevin and Phil strapped on and braced themselves and steered us due W around the point. As soon as we rounded Point Lobos, we got some much-needed shelter from the wind, and found quite nice surface conditions. Pretty soon, we were hunkered over the GPS and depth-sounder to figure out where to drop the hook.

The plan for the dive was to drop on the SW side of the wall in a little "cove" and run the deep section of the structure around counter-clockwise along the South wall, up the big valley in the middle, and North to finish out our deco on K2. For this dive, we were planning to incorporate a 190' deco bottle into the mix, and use it to help us extend the dive by multi-leveling.

We dropped into pretty calm surface conditions with very mild current and after some quick checks, pointed the scooters downward and put the hammer down :-) The structure here is very impressive, and the W and S sides of Mt. C form very sheer walls that peter out on the bottom into smaller rubble piles. As we worked our way S, we found a tiny basket star and a crinoid. It's a good thing that Allison was sick, because she hates crinoids :-) Off in the sand alone, Kevin also found this nice vase sponge that had a huge rock crab living inside of it. very cool.

After 25min, we found ourselves at the big crack in the wall, and headed up to the top of the structure around 150'ish, switched onto the 190' bottles, and poked around for another 15minutes or so. There are a bunch of weird duck-throughs and vertical holes in the reef here, and Kevin just couldn't resist trying to squeeze himself (along with a buttload of gear) through a tine hole. I watched all of this hovering above him with the camera trained on him, just hoping that he would cross his legs in defeat and ask to be pulled out :-) Alas, it was not to be.

We finished the dive by driving north for a few minutes to find K2, which is a large pinnacle on the structure that tops out around 80'. We slowly worked our way up through our 80' stops and soon it was time to bag up and leave the structure. The rest of the deco was long, but uneventful.

Mt. Chamberlin is a great dive (actually there are many different dives to be had here as the structure is so large), but this was an exceptional way to do it, being able to see many different parts of it on the same dive and have enough bottom time to really soak it in :-)

Offgassing continued at Siamese Bay lunch buffet.

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