It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, May 28, 2010

Back in the Water

If you've been wondering if I have been slacking on the blog, in fact I have just not been diving for the past two weeks. First I was sick two weeks ago (though I did manage one day of surface support for the BAUE project) and then I was out of town the following weekend. I was planning to dive Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day. Then on Thursday morning, Kevin asked if he could tempt me to join him (with Lynne, Peter and Kirk of Seattle) on Phil's RIB. No, I need to work, I said. Then after mulling it for a couple hours, I decided to go diving instead :) After a late night of nudibranch making (more on that in a later post), I got up early and headed down to Point Lobos. We were planning a mild T1 profile, and were thinking of K2 if we could make it down there or F3/G3 as a backup. The tide was super low when we put the boat in the water, and after a bit of gear shenanigans, we were off. It was looking good for making it down to K2, so we decided to go take a look. Kevin was driving most of the way down, which made for a not very pleasant experience for my back. He doesn't quite have the finesse that Phil has ;) We got down to K2 and it was looking good. The water looked a bit bluer than it had around Lobos (where it looked green, though pretty clear even in the cove). However, it also looked like there was some current, blah.

The wind and current were going in opposite directions, so that the line was nearly vertical right near the surface. But once we started down it, it flattened out considerably, and it was a looong pull down. The current wasn't horrendous though; it was a one-armed pull down the line. Still, I wished I had my scooter :) In my haste to make it down through the current and my inability to tell who was who on the line, I accidentally left my team (Kevin and Lynne) on the surface. Bad kitty! So I made it down to the bottom with Peter and Kirk. After a minute, Kevin appeared and said he had left Lynne on the boat. Apparently when she rolled into the water, cold water came gushing into her suit. So it was just the four of us. Kevin was ostensibly leading, though I was being a very bad #2, and kept pulling ahead. The water was rather green, but the viz was decent -- I'd call it about 40 feet. But it was pretty dark, as there was a layer from about 30 to 60 feet. Given the darkness and less than stellar viz, I can't be 100% certain where we were at all points during the dive, but I think it went approximately like this (though I would not swear to it in a court of law): when we dropped, we were on the north of what I consider the main K2 pinnacle. Further northwest it sort of plateaus out and eventually drops precipitously, but we were at the bottom of the peaky part on the south half, on the north-northwestish side. We swam south through the channel between K2 and the structure next door. We were swimming into the current, but I figured we wanted to go south, so either way we'd be swimming into current. And when we got to the southern tip, then we could ride the current back up around the other side. As it turns out, once we got to the southern side, we just sort of meandered along up the pinnacle on the south side (protected from the current).

We really didn't see anything particularly interesting, but it was a nice dive. Once we were on the south side, we saw quite a few Dendronotus albus. Kevin pointed out one to me, and then I just kept seeing them everywhere. That was, sadly, the most exciting slug that I saw on the dive. Eventually we headed up shallower along the pinnacle. As we approached 80 feet, we got whipped around to the north side of the pinnacle by the current. I was thinking at this point that we could manage to get to 70 feet and switch to our bottles and then put up the bag, but it quickly became clear that it was time to put up the bag. So I did that on the way up to 70 feet. We drifted as one team under one bag. The deco was pretty uneventful for the first half. There was definitely a layer midwater. At about 50 feet, the viz was bad enough that I told Kevin to come closer. I could see him just fine and then we ascended into the muck. But the viz actually got better again at 20 feet. From about 30 feet up, we saw quite the parade of deco critters. We kept signaling each other to show what we had found. There were all sorts of tiny jelly animals, and of course I don't know what most of them were.

When we got to the surface, Lynne and Phil reported having seen a big purple striped jellyfish. I was super jealous. We headed back to Lobos at a snail's pace, because I was driving the boat, and I am a really big wimp when it comes to driving. When we finally got back, we packed up our gear and headed to Siamese Bay for lunch. Then I headed back to AWS for some fills for Sunday. It was quite a lively day at AWS. I guess everyone was getting fills for the weekend!

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