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Me diving

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Pinnacles and Such

Saturday was the March BAUE recreational boat (or the first installment, anyway, since there was a last minute addition to the calendar for the next weekend). There was the usual amount of hemming and hawing about the weather before the trip, but when the day came, we actually made it out of the bay -- yay! We ended up at Outer Pinnacles for the first dive. I was diving with Rob and Jim. This diving with Jim thing seems to be a recurring theme. I like diving with him, though he makes me a little self-conscious on deco because his trim is so good :P He's a much prettier "DIR diver" than I am, especially with the color-coordinated necklace bungee and drysuit.

We dropped into good viz (finally), and quite a bit of surge. But that's okay, I would trade surge for viz :) The viz was actually really good, by my standards, and the water was bright and blue. We dropped down onto the top of one of the pinnacles, and we swam over it to where it dropped down in a nice vertical wall into sand (I can't really say anything more about where we were, since I am totally navigationally challenged when it comes to the pinnacles... every dive there requires extreme concentration to make it back to the anchor line, and I recognize exactly one spot there, only because Rob and Clinton have collectively shot the exact same scene on like 5 different days).

The surge was a little annoying at first, but once I got used to it, it was pretty fun to hang just above the top of the palm kelp, flying back and forth over the reef, taking in the hydrocoral eye candy. I've done a few dives at the Outer Pinnacles in pretty crappy green viz lately, and I was recently telling Rob that I would rather dive the shale in crappy viz than Outer Pinnacles... so it was a relief to finally dive it in stellar viz (which is how I always remember it, since that's how it was on my first dive there). After we dropped down the wall, we were in a little alcove and I spotted a decent-sized lingcod. He was just chilling on the reef, and Rob started taking some pics. I really wanted to pose behind him, but I hung back for a little while, since I figured there was a good chance I would scare him away (and then Rob would have no shots of him). I finally got the wave from Rob and snuck up behind the ling. Would he bolt? No, he was totally cool with me staring him down. I think the picture turned out really well!

From there we headed back to the wall and along it for a while, passing several of the other teams on the way. We eventually turned around and then headed up on top of the reef towards where the anchor was. We also, at some point, took a little foray behind the alcove where we found the lingcod... there was some super nice hydrocoral back there, but it was incredibly surgy, so we eventually gave up and turned around, but not before Rob got a couple of shots of me hanging just above the reef. All in all, I would say we spent the entire dive along a stretch of maybe 300 feet along that wall :) But it's the outer pinnacles, covered in pretty hydrocoral, so why do you really need to go any further than that? Eventually we made it back near the anchor again and after a bunch of ambivalent discussion about what to do, we decided to hang around there for another 5 minutes before beginning the ascent.

During the surface interval, we enjoyed some croissanwiches and lively conversation. Then the topic turned to where to go next. Rob, of course, said "how about Flintstones?" (little known fact... Rob actually has a string in his back that if you pull he says "let's go to Flintstones" in a few different variations). Jim laughed at him. John and I were muttering about the shale, since we were excited about our various finds there the previous week (there's a hand signal that Rob frequently gives me on deco, which could be applied to this situation). Then a bit later, Clinton said "how about Flintstones?" and somehow that time it stuck. Jim gave us the option of either staying in the pinnacles area, or running down to Flintstones to check it out. But if Flintstones wasn't diveable, we'd head back to the shale. So of course we headed down to Flintstones. As soon as we came around Point Lobos, it got much rougher, and was pretty crazy when we got down to Flintstones. We paused and then turned around. Of course Rob thought we should have stayed (I was glad we didn't!). So after that we headed back to the bay and went to the Anchor Farm.

The viz was horrendous when we got to the bottom. We had decided to look for the nearby shale ledge first, and after checking that out, we'd head back to the anchors. Rob was going to run line from the anchors to the ledge. Unfortunately we were not exactly successful at figuring out which direction the ledge was. So much of the dive was spent swimming around in various directions and then backtracking and swimming in another direction. The fact that Jim was navigating while Rob was running line did not help. I briefly got separated from the team (the viz was that bad), but managed to find their line and then follow it back to them. Basically the first 3/4 of the dive was a total cluster, and then we finally just went back to the anchors to hang out and get some pics before thumbing the dive. Jim moved the anchor before we headed up, so it wouldn't get entangled with the anchors upon pulling it. As a result, the anchor was slipping as we ascended, so we kept getting in a nice position on the line and then not being in a nice position a minute later. Rob got super annoyed with me because he didn't realize the anchor was moving and thought that I was moving. Hehehe.

Since we had lunch on the boat, we skipped the usual post-dive meal and headed straight up to AWS for some fills. Then Team Kitty had a team meeting over enormous quantities of meat at the Korean BBQ buffet in Sunnyvale. Team meeting sounds very formal, it was more like a team meat-fest.

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