It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Friday, December 31, 2010


Friday we went to Peacock. Kevin punted because his ears were bothering him. We started at Peacock 1. The viz in the basin looked great. There was just one other team, and we were both ambivalent about which line to do first, so in the end they said they would do the Peanut line and we'd do the Pothole line (and I would lead). We did that line in C1 on our first cave day, so we didn't really see very much of it. Also, the viz was not very good. Today we made it all the way to Olson, and the viz was much better. It made the cave feel a lot bigger, I thought. We surfaced at Olson and I got some video. As usual at Peacock, there were a lot of cave critters. On the way out, at the bottom of the chute, just near the sign, I saw a little transparent shrimp with some reddish-black markings and blue eyes -- it looked like it belonged in the ocean! About 300 feet before Olson, the line suddenly seemed to disappear, when it took a hard left turn through a hole in the wall. I think that hole in the wall would make a nice picture.

Once we got back to the reel, we moved it over to the peanut line and headed right in. At a little over 1000 feet, I found a smiley face drawn in the clay (eye-roll). We also passed, not long after that, some kind of scientific instrument hanging on the line. Not sure what it was gathering or for whom. Eventually we made it to 1600 feet before turning on gas. When we got back to the cavern zone, I shot some video and made Rob cleanup the reel.

We wanted to make it back to EE by 4 (closing early for New Year's Eve) to get fills for the next day, so we quickly headed over to Orange Grove, and figured out when we must be out of the water to make it. We were hoping to make it to Challenge, which should not be a problem gas-wise, but might be time-wise. When we got to the basin, it was incredibly clear, in stark contrast to the conditions there last time (when we spent 20 minutes just finding the entrance :P). After very briefly poking his head in the wrong hole (a slot just above where we wanted to be), I pointed out the cinder block to Rob -- someone else's line was nearby too (started in the overhead, cough cough), which made it a bit easier to find the way. Unfortunately that team was coming out just as we started to go in through the little tunnel to the main line, so we had to step aside while they came out. After all of the shenanigans, it was about 10 minutes before we tied into the mainline. And then we were off. I found a neat little fish bone at the bottom at some point. I decided it was neat enough to call Rob back to take a look, and he seemed to think so too. When we got to the little maze at 800', I took the bypass to the left and when I came around I got a big finger waggle from Rob for doing that. A little past the change in arrows, when we went down the little chute/corkscrew, the viz got much worse at the bottom of it. Not sure why. The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, except that we were moving at a pretty good pace. There were several times when I was tempted to give Rob a leg push to tell him to speed up. We did indeed make it to Challenge, but we basically surfaced, looked around (it was really small, smaller than I expected) and then dropped back down and headed in. I didn't even get any video of it! On the way back down, I had some brief ear problems, but once those were resolved, we were off. We pretty much sprinted the 1700 or so feet back out.

When we got to the basin, we swam over toward the steps, and there was a big patch of duckweed on the surface over there. Without any warning, Rob dropped a little below and purged his regulator to clear it out of the way -- into me. I came out of the water with duckweed all over me, including all throughout my hair (the bit of my braid hanging below my hood anyway). Pfft. I managed to get out of the water and onto the steps much more gracefully than expected. On the walk back to the car I bailed out at the first set of picnic tables and had to have a little rest before continuing on -- my back was killing me! We very speedily tossed everything in the car and got going (since we were running about 20 minutes later than planned), and managed to get back to EE around 3:40 or so. Mark M. had a class in its last day, so he and Doug were there, and we ended up chatting with them (well, Rob chatted with Mark while I chatted with Doug). In the end we didn't get our tanks setup to fill until long past 4, but we did get our fills. We also met and chatted with a few other divers who were there.

After grabbing some provisions for New Year's Eve from the Winn Dixie and its attached (but not really) liquor store, we headed to Great Outdoors for dinner, which wasn't taking walk-ins since it was NYE (doh!) but did have a table at the bar for us (phew). We had a tasty meal and then headed back to the Country Inn. Amazingly, we actually made it until midnight. We wiled away the time watching Mythbusters and playing on our computers (really lame, yes, but I was hell-bent on finishing the last dive report for 2010 before 2010 actually ended). And we had champagne around midnight.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Little River

Thursday we went to Little River. There were several other dive teams there, but no tourists at all (other than some divers' wives). I led the first dive. The last time we were there, Kevin and Don took the big log on the right for their primary tie, and Rob took the other side, and everyone was singing the praises of the log as a wonderful primary tie. And no one had taken the log, so I was all over that, of course. I think the log sucks. It's too big to reach my arms around, so I had to toss the reel over it and then reach underneath to pull it around. I guess you can't believe everything you hear. Anyhoo, eventually we got going, and we went right at the big T. The flow didn't seem as bad as I remember it, which is consistent with reports that the flow was down. The flow was only really bad before the corkscrew. Last time, the flow was bad pretty much all the way to the big T and then when we went right, it died down. Today after we went right, it didn't really change. After we went right, we made it about 5 minutes before we turned it. We returned to the reel and left it, and made it up to 30 feet before we stopped and discussed what to do next. We agreed on 500 psi penetration and went back in. I was still leading (not sure why). When we got to the big T, for some reason I went right again :) When we were there in July, Don and Kevin went left and reported raging flow. It didn't occur to me that since the flow is down in general, perhaps I should have tried that side anyway. We were following a team almost the whole way in, so I periodically stopped and doodled around to let them get ahead, but invariably we would end up about 20 feet behind them again a few minutes later. We made it to the first jump after the T and turned a bit past there. The cave was quite crowded, and we passed a few teams along the way. But otherwise it was a pretty uneventful dive. Very similar to the first :)

Kevin sat out the third dive because he is an old man, or maybe because his ears were bothering him :) We went left this time, and made it past the next T where the two sides meet. The cave is narrow and tall on the left. I can see how there would be a lot of flow here when the flow is up, but the good thing is that there are little ledges on each side which are ideal for pulling on :) The cave gets much bigger after the two lines meet again. There were two instances of photographer shenanigans on the way out. First, we passed a pair of divers in the narrow section (on the left of the T), one posed for pictures and the other taking pictures. Hmm, what is the etiquette to pass them? I know... I will slowly swim up next to the model (who is closer to me) and when he sees me out of the corner of his eye, and give him a little "I want to get by" wave. But the model was totally oblivious to me when I swam up right next to him (which is odd, since they really should have seen us when they turned their dive, because we saw them swimming toward us and then turning). So in the end I just swam through the frame (my bad!) but the photographer gave me a little wave so I guess he wasn't too broken up about it. Then farther along on the way out (I think just at the first marked jump after the corkscrew), we came upon a guy who was literally laying on the bottom across the line trying to get a shot of something off to the side. I saw it in time to go through another little passage just on the other side of a pillar behind him. But that was just odd.

After a bit of doodling around in the cavern, trying to get some video, we headed out, and headed back to High Springs. We even managed to get to EE and get some fills for tomorrow. Dinner and too many margaritas (Kevin is the little devil on my shoulder) at the Texas Roadhouse in Gainesville.

P.S. Isn't that picture of the side of Kevin's head lovely? Sadly, that was the best picture of Kevin that I got on the trip, but I had to include him on here somewhere!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Diving with Jim

I had been planning to take Friday off to catch up on my Christmas shopping (which was horribly behind, or really not even started). Then Jim sent email to the BAUE list looking for a dive buddy for Friday, so how could I turn that down? Christmas shopping would have to wait. Conditions were forecast to get big Wednesday night and then calm down again on Thursday night. When we finally made the call on Thursday, I told Jim I was game for driving down and possibly thumbing it, so it was on. I got up early (even earlier than Rob, Susan, and Beto who were starting a fundies class that day!) and headed down to Monterey. In Gilroy, it was super windy; in Prunedale, it was super rainy; and in Seaside, it was super foggy. As I drove into Monterey, I was half expecting to find a swarm of locusts. Instead, it was sunny and clear, and the flag on Del Monte beach was limp. Woohoo. I suggested Lunaticos, since I haven't been there in ages and I know that Jim likes that site.

The ride out was calm, and when we got to Point Pinos, it was basically dead flat. However, there was some fog. Around Point Pinos, the bilge alarm went off, so we stopped and the crew climbed down into that mysterious compartment below the deck, and eventually it was deemed okay to proceed. In the meantime, I was marveling at how calm it was sitting there where it is often the roughest part of the trip. As we continued, the fog had mostly lifted, but it was still there in patches. However, since we were just one team, the boat would follow our bubbles just in case a patch of fog descended upon us. They dropped the downline and it looked like there wasn't much current. Jim jumped with his bottle and scooter clipped to him. I told the crew that I would take my scooter in the water, and noted that Jim was making me feel like a girl. We got into the water and it was totally flat without any noticeable surface current. Why can't every dive be like that? It was nice to have a moment to doodle with my gear before we headed down. After doing a scooter-down descent on my last dive, I decided to try it again. At around 60 feet, I had to put the brakes on, of course, and stop to clear my ears for a while before proceeding. Oh well. We got down to the top of Lunaticos (I think we were shooting for the pinnacle next to it, the "Annex" as we call it, but I thought we were on Lunaticos based on the depth). There is a channel between the two pinnacles, and we followed that to the south side, and headed west (I think those are the cardinal directions, but keep in mind that I am seriously directionally-challenged, so they could be completely wrong). It gets deeper at the bottom as you go west. So our plan was to do a deeper segment out there and then head back up the structure for a shallower segment. The last time I was at Lunaticos, we stayed pretty shallow. So when I was thinking about what I would see on the dive, I wasn't thinking of vase sponges, but of course as soon as we got down to 150' or so, they started appearing (not surprising, since they are quite common on the nearby Outer Outer Pinnacles sites, which come to think of it, I haven't dived in a while either). There were lots of them, yay! We swam off of the pinnacle a bit and there was a little structure running parallel to the main pinnacle. I thought it was just a little structure, but it turned out to be a small ridge running parallel to the pinnacle to the west for a while. We meandered along that structure, where I saw a starry rockfish. Eventually that structure gets taller so that we were scootering between what I would describe as a canyon. It was pretty cool. I guess this canyon eventually gets to at least 200 feet, though we didn't go that far to the west.

Eventually it was time to head shallower, so we turned around and headed back to the east, working up the pinnacle as we went. As I was scootering along, I saw a slither along the reef and stopped. Was that an octopus or a brittle star? I scanned the reef and saw a teeny red octopus. I didn't really know if this would be Jim's kind of thing but I decided to make him come back and take a look anyway. By the time he got there, the octo had settled into a totally camouflaged color and position. I sort of pushed some water past it, hoping it would slither a bit and Jim would see what I was pointing at. I guess I was a bit rough, because it took flight and instantly turned bright red. Oops. After we marveled at it for a moment, we continued on. We eventually ended up back at the original, slightly shallower pinnacle. When we got to the top, I remembered that I had my hero cam in my pocket. I wanted to experiment with it a bit just to see what kind of video it would take deep. So I shot a little sample footage of it 120' (most of the footage turned out red, but a small amount of it was passable). So I whiled away the last several minutes of the dive just scootering around with the hero cam on my hand. I put it away and pulled the bag a minute before I knew that Jim would call the dive. For some reason I had a lot of trouble getting my bag out -- it felt like my hand just wouldn't fit in my pocket. Then while I was inflating it, it seemed like everything didn't fit in my hand as well as it should. I chalked all of this up to rustiness (for whatever reason, it seems like it's been a while since I shot the bag), until I was spooling up to 90' and realized that my light was still on my hand :) Doh.

I cleaned that up and then at 80', Jim pointed out that we were in danger of drifting into the downline. I told him I knew, and we could swim a bit to avoid it. As we were about to swim, I saw a mola swim by and I signaled to Jim and pointed to it. He replied with an "okay, let's swim", thinking I was pointing in the direction I wanted to swim. I gave him an emphatic "no, look over there" and finally he saw the mola. Ahh. We headed up to 70' and as we were switching onto our bottles, I saw that the mola had followed us up to 70'. After a minute or two of enjoying the mola, I suddenly remembered that I had a video camera. Hehe. So I handed the bag to Jim and whipped that out and got video of the mola. We headed to 60' and there was the mola again. He swam around us for the whole stop. For a while, he swam behind Jim and was just at the limit of visibility. Then he came swimming back toward us and as he headed straight toward me, we had a very close encounter. At some point, something must have spooked him because he sort of shook all over and took off swimming in another direction. That was cute. When it was time to head to 50', the mola literally moved with us, and I was actually videoing him as we ascended. At 50', he was still on the edge of visibility, but not close enough to video. But that was the last that we saw him. It was a pretty uneventful deco from there, though I did shoot a little video at 20', just to see how the video quality compared at different depths.

When we surfaced, the water was dead calm, and it was sunny. As we headed home, we did come across some stubborn patches of fog that were still around, but overall the conditions were great. It was supposed to get only better over the weekend, of course, since I was confined to the pool, video'ing for Fundies. Hmph. I think it was definitely worth falling even further behind on my Christmas shopping to do a little fun diving with Jim :) Thanks to Jim and the crew of the Escapade!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Crinoid Canyon

We realized we didn't have plans for the weekend after Thanksgiving, so Rob called Phil to see if he was available. We never dive with Phil during the weekend, but we've both been too busy for mid-week diving lately. Phil was available, so we told Kitty #3 to hold the date, and it was on. We have had 12/65 in our big tanks since the beginning of July, when we were slated to go do a deep dive on the Escapade, but I sprained my ankle two days before. We set another date in August, but then there was a storm. So those tanks have been out of commission all this time, which made me very sad, since they had come to be my favorite tanks. Anyhoo, this trip seemed like a perfect time to finally use the gas (yes, I realize we could have just re-mixed the tanks, but what fun is that?). It was also the perfect opportunity for Rob to try out the new lens that I gave to him for his birthday (a 60mm). We were targeting Crinoid Canyon. Conditions were looking pretty good though, so who knows? When we arrived at Lobos (at the luxuriously late hour of 8:30, thanks Rob), things were looking good. I checked out the ramp, which I hadn't seen before. It looks very nice. We headed out, and when we got to the site, it was dead calm. It was really nice to get geared up in such flat conditions, especially since there was an insane amount of gear. While getting geared up, Phil asked me if I was nervous... well, I wasn't, until he asked :) Somehow by the unluck of the draw, I got my bottles clipped to me first, so I was sitting there with the 2 80s in front pulling me down. It was not very comfortable, but would have been worse in big conditions. Eventually I rolled into the water and waited for Rob and Kevin.

We headed down to 20' to switch to backgas. After that, we headed down to the bottom. I pointed my scooter down and took off down the line. The boys were shocked, and so was I, but my ears just worked. I had to slow down a few times because my Argon regulator couldn't keep up. I have one of those crappy little Salvo "disposable" Argon regs, that all of the cool kids have abandoned because they don't provide gas fast enough for the scootering downward descent; up until now this has never been a problem for me. By the time we were at 150', it was dark as night. We anchored in about 240' of water, near a drop off into "Crinoid Canyon" aka "Phil's Crack". The plan was to do a segment on that wall, then come up the wall and head to Deep E3 or so for a 210-ish segment, and then head to E3 or so for a 150-ish segment (on our first deco bottle). So after a long descent (though not as long as it could have been), we hit the bottom, in the most literal sense. Hey, this scootering down thing is new to me. We headed toward the drop-off and before we quite got there, we found a rock that had like a dozen crinoids on it. It was at like 240'. I felt like I had been tricked into doing a deeper dive, when there was a perfectly good rock covered in crinoids at 240'. Oh well. This viz was not very good and it was quite dark. We headed down the slope, and yowza were there crinoids. They were everywhere! It was really neat. We also saw a really big basket star; it was all closed up, but its body was huge. There were also a lot of lingcods hanging around, mostly pretty small (and one really small). But definitely the crinoids are what there is to see. The slope down is actually pretty cool itself -- it is like nearly vertical sand, which seems to violate some laws of physics, with boulders protruding out here and there (covered in crinoids, did I mention that?).

After 15 minutes on the slope, we headed up and over toward Deep E3. Or that was the goal anyway. In the dark, poor viz, it wasn't exactly to be. I guess we headed a bit too far east, so eventually we found structure, but it came to maybe 190'. Still, not a bad spot to hang out for our 210' segment. So we meandered around that. I found a Tochuina tetraquetra almost right away, and there was another basket star. Yay, two of my favorite deep water critters (after crinoids, of course). Sitting on Phil's boat with 200+ pounds of gear tugging at my body was so worth it. Rob got some pictures of them, and then we continued on the trigger. We found another spot that was sort of like a structure with a little side structure that came up to about 200 or 210'. So we were hanging out on the little side structure, since it was the right depth. After a couple of minutes there, Kevin signaled to get back on the trigger. Rob had his camera out, so I got his attention and told him. Somehow with one flick of his hand (holding the space station of a camera), Rob managed to entangle like every piece of his gear on every other piece of his gear. I think it all started with his camera and scooter tow cord, but while trying to resolve it, his O2 bottle popped out and got tangled on his arm, while his scooter tow cord got further entangled on one of his bottles. Can't imagine it? Well the point is, it was a mess, so I darted over to him, told him to hold, and got it all sorted out. When I told him he could move, he signaled to head off the pinnacle and I gave him the okay. Then as I went to grab my scooter, I realized MY tow cord was now entangled in one of my bottles. Grumble. I let the guys take off without signaling them, thinking I would have it sorted out in no time. No time became some time after I got my scooter tow cord wrapped around the trigger assembly and had to sort that out. By the time I was ready to go, they were gone. No sign of them. But I knew which way we were headed, so off I went, sure I would catch up with them in a moment.

By the time I made it to the next pinnacle, and found absolutely no sign of them, it started to sink in that they were just GONE. I stopped on this pinnacle, because it seemed like a reasonable place for them to stop, or you know, at least notice they were down a teammate. They were nowhere to be found. I briefly sunk into a moment of near terror, realizing I was all alone at 200+ feet, with 60 minutes of deco between me and the surface. Not complete terror, but I definitely had that horrible feeling in my stomach that I have right before I have to present a paper at a conference or something. I had to pause for a few seconds and give myself a pep-talk to recover from it: nothing was actually wrong, all of my gear was working, and I was certainly capable of finishing the dive on my own; the only way I would get hurt was if I mentally imploded. After my pep talk, I considered whether to head back to where we last saw each other, but decided that this pinnacle I was on made a great waypoint, and I would search from there. It was unlikely they could double back to where they last saw me without passing within light range of this spot. Somewhere during all of this calculating, it occurred to me that while I knew why we had separated, and that the two of them had each other, Rob would potentially have to spend 60 minutes of deco wondering if I was dead.

I decided to do one last long, slow sweep of my light around the entire pinnacle when I saw a beam of light in the distance, heading straight back toward me Phew. I gave Kevin a big okay and then saw Rob's dinky little beam of light (he was on a backup light at this point) coming at me from the side too. I guess the light sweep I did caught both of their eyes. Rob thinks it was between one and two minutes that we were separated. It seemed like an eternity to me. After our reunion I got quite a few inquisitive okays (because how on earth did I fall behind if everything was okay!?!) After we got back together, I was practically touching Kevin's left elbow for the duration of the dive. We continued on our shallow-ward trajectory and eventually found a pinnacle at like 180' at the bottom, coming up to a bit shallower than 150'. I was starting to think we would never find our 150' segment and just have to drift it, so this was nice to find. We switched onto our 190 bottles and meandered a bit before continuing on the trigger. We finally found another pinnacle just in time to look around for a few minutes before it was time to move onto our deep stops. We eventually gave up on finding a shallow enough structure to do our deep stops on reef, and we headed up, but kept scootering in the direction of shallower structure. We finally found something to spend the last few deep stops on and left it just in time to switch to our 70' bottles.

Just after I finished up my switch, Kevin pointed out that there was a mola checking us out! He stuck around for a bit of our 70' stop, but that was the last that we saw of him. After I got onto my bottle, I realized I was still feeling pretty frazzled about the whole team separation thing. That's probably why my report for the rest of the dive is quite hazy :) Plus it just seemed like we were on the trigger for so much of the dive. Rob did his bottle rotation, and I decided it would be best to just chill out for a few minutes before attempting mine (since I think my bottle rotations are borderline in the best of conditions :P). After we left the mola, deco was pretty uneventful for the next few stops, though as we got shallower, we ended up in the jellyfish stew. There were lots of nettles, but not an uncomfortable number of them. There were some nice little chains of salps too. At 20', we agreed to extend the deco since we all felt like we had ended up a little deeper on some of the segments than we planned. We started finding a bunch of neat looking little jellyfish on this stop. Eventually (after our backgas break), Rob decided to start taking some pictures of the little critters. This was an excellent idea, because having something to do (look for jellies for Rob) totally distracted me and kept me warm on the deco. Plus Rob gave me the bag, and when he did, I have to admit that I was totally relieved to have something to lean on (totally un-DIR, I know!). I have been known to have shitty buoyancy on the 20' stop and use the bag as a crutch. So I really try hard not to have the bag on the 20' stop, just to stop this bad habit. But by the time Rob handed it to me, my back was sore, my feet were numb, my calves were on the verge of cramping, and I felt like I was curling up like an upside-down bug. At some point after he handed off the bag, I suddenly found myself having buoyancy issues. I realized someone/thing was tugging on my bag. I heard a boat so I flipped over to see Phil tugging on my line. Kevin had just shot a bottle on a bag and Phil had accidentally grabbed my bag, which also had a bottle (of Rob's) on it. I'm always telling the guys, if they can't handle the gear, they shouldn't be doing the dives ;) Just as I was about to drop the bag, Phil dropped it. Phew, I really didn't feel like shooting another bag! The rest of the deco went by pretty quickly thanks to the jelly shoot. When I called the 6 minute ascent, we headed up to 17' and on the way, I got totally owned by a jellyfish. I was squealing through my reg. At 14', Rob said his shoulder hurt so we went back down to 20' for a few minutes and then did it all over again.

We got to the surface and it was like we had surfaced into Armageddon. Conditions had gotten really big. Phil said we were in an area of protection for almost all of our deco but right near the end we got swept out by a current into the bigness. By the time we got to the surface, I was nearly out of energy, and also nearly out of O2. I retardedly brought my 30 cuft bottle for the dive, which was nominally enough, but once we added to the 20 foot stop, and did our little 6 minute ascent do-over, and I breathed on it for a couple of minutes on the surface, there were just a couple hundred psi left. I asked Kevin to help me get out of my gear (I always find this easiest with a buddy, especially when there is hypoxic mix involved). He instantly snapped into his DM-demeanor, and basically did all of the work, then took my rig for me and let me just bob around in the water holding my O2 bottle. Ahhh. Waves kept breaking over our heads and Kevin suggested I breathe my O2 bottle (see what I mean about the DM demeanor?). We made our way over to the boat and Kevin and Phil got my gear back in the boat, and then I made my lamest ever attempt at pretending to try to get back in the boat, while Phil pretty much pulled me into the boat. I was spent -- too spent to remember to take my weight belt off first, which didn't help the situation :P After we got everyone back on the boat (and I got to work devouring the half of a protein bar I'd left on the boat), we headed back in.

There was a bit of a mishap returning the boat to the trailer. To make a long story short, the prop made contact with the ramp and by the end of it all, the boat was under the power of only one engine, and Phil had to land the boat. This is why I always try to avoid driving the boat. Phil was obviously not too pleased, though he seemed (a bit strangely) relieved that we all made it back alive, and super horrified by the bag tugging incident (though I assured him that if I hadn't let go of the bag, and ended up at the surface, that would be my fault).

A few post-dive comments:
- I told Rob that the separation experience was "revelatory". He denied that this is an actual word, and I assured him it was (I read a lot; Rob doesn't). I mentioned that it was the most stressed I have ever been on a dive. He asked what about the time my wing failed at 230'? I told him that while I was a bit stressed by that (at first), I never actually felt scared, which I definitely did on this dive. I can make two conclusions from this: 1) my mind is my most fragile piece of dive gear, and 2) I am definitely not cut out for solo diving. I guess this is really the same conclusion, since to me, the "backup brain" is the most compelling reason to dive with a team.
- This whole thing happened because I was cavalier about my ability to quickly deal with a problem (albeit minor) without alerting my team. That was dumb. I think this was a very minor error in judgment, but it quickly led to a bad situation (and me being extremely uncomfortable). Rob had told me about something almost identical happening to him on a recent dive (in 30 feet of water), but the lesson didn't stick.
- Bringing a 30 cuft bottle on this dive was silly. I love my 30 cuft O2 bottle, because it's just so small and cute, it's like it's not even there. And I like being able to climb the Escapade ladder with my O2 bottle still on. Once you have 2 80's clipped to you, the difference between a 30 and 40 is nothing (it's leashed for the active part of the dive anyway). I have a 40 cuft O2 bottle as well, and afterward I realized, if I'm not going to use it on a dive like this, when would I use it!?!
- Being able to descend that fast is so far outside of the realm of the usual that we had to discuss it afterward. Either Rob or Kevin suggested that the extended stop at 20' (we usually pause for a bubble check, but that's it) might have given my ears some time to adjust, so I wasn't trying to play catch-up the whole way down. I'm definitely going to experiment with this!
- This dive was basically at the limit of what I think I can physically withstand. By the end, I was so hungry, thirsty, exhausted and cold. I am sure that the in-water antics did not help with this, but it was also just a long dive. I love these deep multi-level dives because you can see the cool deep critters while still getting a good ratio between bottom time and deco, but at some point those extra levels/bottom time just extends the length of the dive and make it harder. This dive was 126 minutes; I would make a terrible bunny. I told this to Rob; his response was "I'm booking the Escapade for MLK day so we can go to Italian Ledge" :)