It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Que Paso

On Saturday, I was supposed to dive with Matt and Leah on Phil's boat. When they arrived at Lobos, Leah wasn't feeling well so she decided to stay at Lobos. So it was just me and Matt with 32%. Very strange going out with Phil like that. I had packed an O2 bottle, because I always figure it could be of use on the boat or in the car, but definitely won't be of use in my garage. Phil had an O2 bottle as well, so we decided to bring those along so that we had the option of doing something deeper/longer. While discussing site options, I randomly mentioned Que Paso and that is what we settled on.

Phil made me drive the boat which I am not really a fan of. But we managed to launch it and retrieve Phil without crashing into anything or running over any divers. This was the first time I experienced Phil's new engines. They are very quiet which makes it hard not to punch it, since you don't have the sound feedback. The forecast had looked pretty good, but it was actually a bit of a rough ride. It was also overcast which always makes it seem rougher than it is. We got to the site and it was a mysteriously calm patch just around there. We got geared up, in the oddly empty boar and flopped into the water. Phil reminded us that we would have to use our fins, not our trigger fingers, to get down the line today :). He also suggested that we come up the line instead of drifting if possible (i.e. there wasn't too much current). There actually was a little bit of current on the way down but nothing too bad.

The anchor was right next to a little crack that I recognized -- Rob has a picture of Susan from that spot. But it wasnt nearly as nice looking now because of the barnacle invasion. We headed down the pinnacle until we found one of the more vertical sides. There were white barnacles everywhere On the boat Phil had been talking about how there was a sister pinnacle that we could swim to. I got the impression that it was far enough away that we would only see it in really good viz. But we quickly spied this other pinnacle just across the sand from the wall that we were on. So we went to take a look. It was pretty neat; it was surprisingly barren of white barnacles (it was not as covered in general as the main pinnacle). In the center if the pinnacle there was a crater of sorts which I thought made it look like a volcano. Back on the boat Phil referred to this as an "amphitheater" which is an excellent description. There was a school of blues on this pinnacle, and there were some bug blues hanging out down in the amphitheater.

We headed back to the main pinnacle and circumnavigated it. I sort of felt like the whole dive, we were swimming around looking for a better spot -- one with something other than barnacles on it! I swam right over a couple of cabezons that I didn't even see until I spooked then and they took off. The last one that we came across bolted and then started acting really territorial toward us. So I figured there had to be a pile of eggs somewhere... Then I looked back at the spot that it had bolted from and sure enough there were eggs. So I guess he was guarding a best but not very well :). That spot was actually right on the edge of a crack with a bunch of hydrocoral -- so at least one scenic spot was left. I saw a couple of kelp greenlings acting territorial too but didn't find any nests.

We eventually ended up back on the wall where we started, and found one vertical stripe that was completely encrusted with corynactis and colorful sponges, and no white barnacles. It was odd because right next to it was a big swath of barnacles. So we hung out there until it was time to go shallower. Eventually we did head shallower and did a couple of loops around the top of the pinnacle. I expected to eventually wander past the anchor line but we never did. When we wanted to head up we actually started looking for it. I eventually found myself back at that recognizable crack which I was sure was where the anchor had been. But no anchor and no line. We gave up and shot a bag instead. We did a little deco at 20 feet. While we were there, Matt found a really cool critter. It was very similar to the "jelly bird" I saw once before but his one had some extra processes on it's back... making it look slug-like. When we surfaced, I told Phil that the anchor line eluded us. Turnout the anchor slipped, so he reset it, and then it slipped again, so he gave up. He claimed the weather picked up while we were in the water but then it calmed down again before we surfaced. Seems like that happens a lit in Phil's boat :). We told Phil about the jelly animal and he said it sounded like a sea angel. I finally got around to looking it up and that's definitely what my jelly bird was, and I suspect that the one we saw on this dive was some sort of sea angel too (but almost all of the pictures that I can find are of the one type with a smooth back).

The ride back was calmer than the ride down. When we got back to Lobos, Leah was feeling better so we headed to RG for lunch.

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