It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lunaticos Annex

Jim sent email out on Wednesday morning in search of a dive buddy for Thursday, and with the forecast looking sort of reasonable, how could we pass that up? So after a bit of schedule juggling, it was on. Conditions were looking good, so we headed south. We headed down to Dos Gatos, which I guess Jim had never dived (though he had dived some of the other bumps nearby several times). He lamented the fact that on most of his dives on the pinnacles in that area, there was a lot of current, but the time of day (with respect to the tides) that we were diving should be favorable in this respect. Bullet was along for the ride again, and we actually remembered to get a picture of the cutie-pie. We made it down to Yankee Point -- the conditions were as nice as the forecast claimed. The crew dropped the downline and noted the presence of some current. We motored up-current a bit and splashed.

As soon as I popped to the surface, I saw the ball coming right at me, at an alarming speed. I managed to grab it and then quickly decided this was a meet on the line underwater kind of day. I started pulling myself hand over hand in what is probably the second worst current I have ever experienced without a scooter (the first being Big Sur Banks, of course). I was on a mission to the bottom when Jim started tugging on the line and I looked back and saw an absence of Bob. We gave him a minute to reappear and then thumbed it. The viz looked really good for the brief time we were in the water. Also during that brief time, I managed to get a small sea nettle sting, pffft. Between hitting the surface and getting picked up by the boat, we drifted an impressive distance from the float. The boat picked up Rob first, who apparently never made it to the line since he was last in and had to reach back for his camera. When we got back on the boat, Rob was sitting there all geared up waiting for another drop. We broke the news to him that that wasn't going to happen. So we decided to head north to the Outer Outer Pinnacles area. We ended up on a pinnacle that is like two bumps over from Lunaticos. I have never dived Lunaticos proper (that I know of) but have done several dives in the vicinity. I thought this might be my opportunity. We dropped down into good (but not quite great) viz. It was still a lot better than it has been lately -- the water was more blue than green, and it was not too dark at the bottom.

We started on the south side, swung around the west side, which was relatively barren, so we headed back. Even though there were fairly nice, scenic conditions, I spent most of my time looking for small critters. I was on a mission to find Dotos, which I never did see (even though I saw tons of hydroids that looked like they would be totally tasty to a Doto). In my fruitless search, I found several small Dironas, and two teeny tiny Hermissendas, like as small as a tiny Trilineata. I couldn't believe it when I found them, so I felt I had to share the intrigue with someone. So I made Jim come and look at them. I think he was unimpressed :) We didn't see any vase sponges, which I found pretty surprising. We multi-leveled the dive, and the second segment was actually quite a bit shallower than expected -- there's some nice stuff to see there in the 110' to 120' range. It would make a good Rec 3 dive (my attempts to plug this GUE class were thwarted since GUE *still* doesn't have a page about the class on the interweb -- weak).

At the appointed time, I put up a bag and we started our ascent. Rob has given me a serious bag-complex. He has a very (very very) annoying habit of timing me when I am shooting a bag, or even if he doesn't actually report a time, he looks at his gauge before I start, and I know what he's doing! But I did quite a wonderful job of putting up the bag, which was a good thing... I have dive plans with Jim for next weekend, and I wouldn't want him to Rule 1 me. The ascent was not all that interesting in the beginning... Rob and I were very chatty when we got to 70 feet, and Jim seemed to think we were crazy with all of our hand signals :) We saw a few sea nettles, and as we got shallower, we also saw some little teeny jelly animals. Around 20 feet, some sea lions appeared in front of me. They were in a position where neither Jim nor Rob saw them. However, Jim had told me earlier in the dive (on the bottom) that some sea lions were around. I pointed them out to Rob who immediately flipped over on back and spent the duration of our 6 minute ascent in that position. Looking up, I saw 4 relatively young-looking sea lions hanging out on the surface, taking turns dive bombing us. They were so adorable, and it was an awesome view looking up through the clear bright blue water at the 4 scheming sea kitties.

For some reason, no one thought to suggest that Rob get his camera out and get some shots. Doh! When we got to the surface, Ed told us that the sea lions had been playing in our bubbles and drifting along with us the entire dive and deco. Luckily they didn't get any ideas about chewing on my bag :)


gecko1 said...

"Bullet was along for the ride again, and we actually remembered to get a picture of the cutie-pie"

But forgot to post them? ;-)

Allison said...

Indeed, but I have corrected the mistake.