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Me diving

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday Diving with Phil

It seems like it's been ages since I've been out diving off of Phil's RIB. Since I was sick for the last adventure, I have been jonesing for a fix. Kevin booked it for January 1, since Nick was visiting from LA, so Rob and I joined the two of them. I had mixed feelings about diving on January 1, especially with an 8 AM meeting time. Sort of puts the kibosh on any New Year's Eve festivities. We had absolutely not plans by the afternoon of NYE, and I was waffling on whether I wanted to drive down to Monterey on Thursday night or Friday morning. Then Leah invited us over for dinner at her and Matt's place, which was perfect, since it is even on the way to Monterey. So we went there for dinner and then headed down to Monterey. So I managed to actually get a full night of sleep and still make it to Lobos at 8 AM. Rob had been talking about targeting Pinnacle Point Wall for the dive. But when we drove past Monastery and saw the dead flat conditions, of course we had to talk Yankee Point. The boat was pretty loaded down with 4 scooters, Rob's huge camera and Nick's even huger video rig (plus the usual complement of bottles and such). But we made it down to Mount Chamberlain pretty quickly, thanks to the nice surface conditions. The water even looked pretty clear too from the surface.

There was quite a bit of current. It was one of those scootering on 5 to get to the front of the boat kind of days. Blah. Once I got to the line and headed down, I stuck right to it, which was good because around 30 feet or so the viz went to crap. There was a lot of particulate in the water. Oh well. By the time we got to the bottom, the viz was a bit better (varying up to 30 feet), but it was pretty dark from that layer above. We had dropped the hook on the south wall, to the east of the path up to K2. The plan was to run west on the wall and then hop south to what we call the "south south wall"... the ridge running parallel to the main structure. With the crappy viz, it seemed like forever before we found the ridge. But once we got there we very quickly saw the same elephant ear sponge (very tall and narrow, in a vertical cutout of the reef) that we had seen right when we got to the ridge the last time we dove it. We headed to the west, stopping to poke around a little. We didn't see anything particularly unusual. The scenery seemed so different than the last time we were there, when the viz was incredible (and Rob took what is I think my favorite picture of 2009). Last time we were there, we were shadowed by a big school of blue rockfish. This time, who knows if the fish were there? we wouldn't have seen them if they were :P We did see a few starry rockfish, which I think are pretty cool. There were a bunch of them there last time as well, so I had my starry rockfish antenna up.

We had planned the dive as a multi-level dive, so when we got near the 20 minute mark, we headed back across the abyss (it's not really the abyss... the bottom is at about 210 feet, but in this viz, you could only see it from about 190'+) to the south wall. Then we worked our way up to 150', where we spent the remainder of the bottom time. We meandered along the wall and then up towards K2. Our plan had been to eventually head to K2 to do our deep stops and start our deco on it. When we were on the way to K2, Kevin found a pretty small basket star. I had been looking and looking for them earlier in the dive (since they tend to be found deeper). It was the perfect day to see one, since it was so dark. I had eventually given up and then of course Kevin found one. He said he was searching all the gorgonians for Tochuinas when he found it. From there, we headed to K2. It was noticeably brighter there, and I really thought the viz was a bit better too (but that's always hard to judge, since it may have just been that the brighter water made it seem better). Once we headed up the pinnacle to do our deep stops, the current got quite annoying and I finally gave up and told Rob to put up a bag so we could start the drift. Rob refused (I swear he said he would do it on the boat, but he and Kevin both called it and I think then both thought the other was going to do it). So then I asked Kevin and he obliged.

The deco was fairly uneventful, other than it being currentful. The current kept pinning me up against Nick (I hope Jamie doesn't hear about this... she can be feisty) for the first couple stops until I finally found a position that made both me and the current happy. There were quite a few different tiny jelly creatures in the water at 20 feet. Well they were probably there at all depths, but only at 20 feet did I get bored enough to look at them. When we got to the surface, the wind seemed to have picked up a little bit. Or maybe we had just drifted into another subclimate :) That did not stop Kevin from taking the boat up to full speed to zip back to Lobos. It was a little scary.

We had a little trouble finding a place to eat lunch that was actually open. We finally ended up at Henry's BBQ, a relatively new (I think) place on Lighthouse. It was fine, but nothing to rave about.

Due to the poor viz and the fact that we travelled a lot on the dive, Rob only ended up with a single lonely picture to post. Boohoo.


Kenn said...

Unknown said...

Definitely not a day for wide-angle shots!

And of course I completely failed to video the basket-star (I kind of had to pretend to Kevin that I had even seen it at all and just prayed it was on the video)

On the "upside" though I now know how it feels to do a 95 min dive in 54F temps with a completely flooded suit :)

Hopefully viz will cooperate a bit better next time!