It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Montana and Whale Watching

On Sunday we were on a BAUE tech boat. The Saturday boat had made it down to Yankee Point, but unfortunately the Sunday forecast was not looking quite as good. When we woke up on Sunday (after staying down Saturday night), we were greeted by fog. Hmph. Well, we had plenty of time before we were leaving the dock, let alone ready to dive. We dawdled quite a bit at the dock, hoping the fog would lift by the time we left, and then eventually headed out. One of the other boats called to say that the fog was lifting in Carmel Bay, so we headed down there. The fog was definitely getting better, though I still had trouble figuring out what point we were turning as we turned Point Joe :) It was a somewhat sporty trip, with gear rolling across the deck on several occasions, and me rolling across the deck once. We finally got down to Lobos and were planning to dive E3. For some reason there was a last minute change of heart, and we went to Montana instead.

Since I had fun videoing Rob's class on Saturday, I decided to bring the camera along and play with it on the dive. In hindsight it would have made sense to play with it some more on a shallower dive, since it seemed to take up a lot of my time even though I only took about 6 minutes of video on the dive :) On the way down, we found good viz, as expected. We passed a big egg yolk jelly on the way down (which I wish I had video'd, but I was holding out hope for seeing one on the reef). Not long after we got going on the bottom, Rob (or someone) found a basket star. Kevin and I headed back to check it out. There was a bit of a crowd around it, so I took a few seconds of footage (with Kevin's light with video reflector on it) and then backed off. I came back a couple of minutes later and got a bit more footage, but I think I may have disturbed Rob as he was about to setup a shot. Oops. From there, we headed clockwise. We really didn't make it all that far around. It was a very fishy dive, with swarms of juvey rockfish, plus some bigger rockfish on top of the pinnacle. I also saw a few small lingcods. Other than that, it was the usual suspects. I found a couple of Dotos with an egg ribbon near them, and an Aldisa cooperi. But I wasn't really looking for slugs.

Eventually we doubled back toward the way we came, and swung around the top of the pinnacle, before shooting a bag and starting our drift. The deco was pretty uneventful until 20 or 30 feet, where it was super thick with small jellyfish. I'm not sure what they were, but I felt like I was floating in a tank at the aquarium! It was pretty cool. When we got to the surface, conditions had deteriorated. It was quite windy. Greg reported that it had gotten super snotty while we were in the water and then calmed down a little by the time we came up. So we got the hell out of there once everyone was collected. It was a bit rough on the way back from Carmel.

There was quite a bit of ambivalence about doing a second dive, and there had been a lot of blue whale sitings recently, so we decided to go for a ride and see what we could find. After quite a bit of driving around we found the mother lode. Well, a few anyway. I'd never seen a blue whale before. Rob saw one/some the weekend and described it like seeing a smaller whale but it just keeps going and going and going before it sinks back beneath the water. That is a pretty good description. They are also way more blue than I expected! I pointed the video camera in their general direction while we were watching them and attempted to get a bit of footage. Rob told me that I should really aim it, but I told him I was more interested in seeing the whales than video'ing them :) Right before we took off back to the dock, we also saw a sea otter with a crab on his tummy that he was feasting on. It was the best example of a sea otter feeding that I have seen in the wild.

Lunch at the Chowder House.

Apparently Rob has become such a picture snob that he didn't think any of his pics from Montana were worth posting. So I guess you have to live with my video instead.

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