It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Twin Peaks, Try 2

After our attempt to go to Twin Peaks a couple weeks ago was curtailed by bad viz, we decide to make another attempt on Saturday. Actually, we originally had no concrete plans for Christmas weekend. We were actually planning a dive at the Breakwater (which I was kind of excited about, since I haven't done a non-night-dive there in ages). But in the middle of the week Rob called Lobos to see if by some long shot they had any space available for Saturday. It turned out they had a lot of open spots, weird. So we snagged a reservation and pondered our gas readiness. We were actually in pretty good shape, considering we hadn't been planning to dive anything other than 32% that weekend, but we stopped by Anywater at lunch on Thursday to monkey around with the mix in a couple of stage bottles. It turned out to be a good day to go to Anywater, because they were having a little Christmas shindig that afternoon.

We got a relatively late start on Saturday... Rob let me sleep until 7. I was super cold the whole way down to Lobos, and jacked up the heat in the car to an uncomfortable (to Rob) temperature. It was in the 40s outside and finally topped 50 when we got down to Lobos. Still, brrr. It was pretty deserted in terms of divers when we got there. The tide was on the low-ish side, but nothing too terrible. After schlepping a lot of gear to the float (it was a three bottle dive, on account of Rob's master plan for a monster dive to both Twin Peaks and a sizeable stop on the Road on the way back), we schlepped ourselves in. It was pretty calm when we got in. We knew conditions were supposed to deteriorate though, which is the only reason I managed to get myself out of bed at 7 AM :) We scootered out on the surface, and as we were scootering out, I thought my scooter was making a slightly odd noise. Nothing too alarming, but there was a bit of a grumble to it. So we switched scooters on the surface before dropping and Rob said he would listen to it for a bit and see what he thought. Apparently he didn't hear the mystery noise, so we kept on going. As a result, however, we dove the entire dive with each other's scooters. This resulted in some interesting findings. First of all, Rob looks really goofy diving the kitty scooter. It's just not a very manly scooter :P Second, my scooter is, I guess, just faster than Rob's. We always knew I was faster than he was, but we never knew to what extent it was caused by the extra drag from his camera, his bad trim, or actual differences in the scooters. I guess my scooter is so much faster than his that when he drives it, it overcomes the slow-down from his camera and his bad trim :)

The viz was pretty good all the way out. Even when we dropped in > 30 feet, we could still see the bottom. It got a little darker as we got further out, but not dark, just not as bright. There was a bit of surge. Even all the way out at Twin Peaks we would occasionally get blown around by surge. We took the usual route out there -- Hole in the Wall, Lone Metridium, the Sisters (though we noted that for some reason we used to always land at the second sister first, and recently we've been landing at the first sister... I think the earth's magnetic field has changed ever so slightly), the Road, to the big peak. When we got to the second sister, we did a search for the big elephant ear. It was missing last time, but I was hoping (in denial) that maybe we just couldn't see it in the bad viz. Well I am sad to report that the sponge is gone. Something traumatic clearly took place, because there was also a broken off scallop shell sort of under where the sponge used to be. You can see where the sponge used to be -- there is still a little sponge and discolored spot without other growth. Maybe the sponge will grow back. My ability to navigate depends heavily on landmarks, so this could totally throw me off.

In the past when scootering with 3 bottles, I have had a little lower back and leg pain on one side. I thought I had corrected that by changing my weight configuration a little. However, my ankle was bothering me a little on the way out, so we periodically stopped so I could shake it off. I am not sure that this was the same problem I've had in the past -- might have been a too-tight gaiter or too-tight rock-boot tie. And I was so resistant when Rob told me rock boots aren't DIR. But after a few stops along the way to slow us down, we finally got out to the big peak. We scootered along the bottom until we found a nice spot to stop and take a look at. Rob was shooting macro and I was supposed to be nudi-peeping, but I didn't really feel like I had brought my A-game. Rob asked me to find Dotos, which is usually a pretty simple request out there, and I couldn't even do that! But finally I redeemed myself when I found a tiny gold, white, and black slug. It was so small and I was so excited, that I instantly showed it to Rob and didn't even get a good look at it. I thought it might be some sort of Polycera. After Rob took some pictures (and I switched off of my stage... I actually made it a point to not switch until it got hard to breathe, so I was sitting around with my light clipped off waiting for it to get hard to breathe :P), I gave it another look. Upon later review of the pictures, it was not actually a Polycera, but a Trapania velox. That is one of those slugs that I have never seen before, but which Clinton periodically mentions, to remind me of his slug supremacy. Well, I don't think that's why he mentions it, but it does the job anyway ;) Needless to say, finding a new slug always makes my dive. Other slug finds were Spanish shawls and trilineatas. I think Rob found some Dotos, though I don't think I ever did.

Eventually we continued around the peak up a sand channel with a bunch of sea pens. Not the fluffy exciting ones, but the scrawny boring ones. There were at least ten there. Then we headed back up the road, sort of down the center of it but eventually popping out on the familiar east side. We followed that back and then stopped at a spot around 130'. We stayed there for 5 or 10 minutes, and then I called the dive early because I was freezing. Shivering freezing. I guess it was related to my inability to warm up in the morning before the dive. We headed back to the sisters and across to Beto's. At this point I realized how much better the viz was than last time. It wasn't epic or anything, but it was solid good viz. I'd say 50 feet-ish. We hit Beto's and headed south, along the sand-kelp interface until we got to 70'. We went onto our bottles and then poked around, then headed to 60' and did the same. After that, we headed over to middle reef, and came in along the east side (which Rob had suggested we do, if the viz was good). At 20', it was really surgy, which was quite unpleasant. The viz had also deteriorated. Eventually we got sick of being smacked around among the rocks and we scootered in over the sand until we got to a 20' bottom, and we finished up there. We ascended from there, instead of scootering in due to the bad viz. When we surfaced we were about even with the cliff over Cannery Point. We scooted in, dropped our gear at the float (well, some of us did; some of us walked out with a bottle and camera to prove our manliness), and then got our asses kicked at the ramp (well, one of us did, and it was not the manly one with the bottle and camera). Well, that is a slight exageration. But the tide had gone out, and the conditions had deteriorated a little, so it was definitely "exciting" getting out. But I managed to get out without any help from Rob, which I was proud of :)

Afterwards we headed over to Beto and Sue's for some chit chat and dinner.

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