It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Granite Point by Braille

There was a BAUE Lobos day on Saturday, which Rob and I attended.  Rob got home late Friday night, we got a slightly late start.  Lucky for him, his lovely wife setup his gear for him while pining for him on Friday afternoon.  We didn't have any very concrete plans for what we were going to do, but I think we somehow settled on Granite Point.  Turns out Clinton and John were going to Granite Point too, so we decided to all dive together.  As we were loading gear onto the float, I realized that this could be my opportunity for some Gavin lessons.  I recently acquired a Gavin scooter (but it lives in Florida), so I've been meaning to borrow one locally to learn to drive it.  Hehe.  So I proposed a swapperoo with John and he agreed.  He gave me some tips and then we all got geared up.  Rob and I managed to get into the water first, and were greeted to epic viz by the ramp.  I couldn't believe how good the viz was!  While we were waiting for John and Clinton, I did a little test drive on the surface with John's scooter.

Once we were all in the water, we scootered out on the surface and dropped down a bit before the worm patch.  I think we ended up in the little sand channel-lette just to the left of the real sand channel, so we made our way to the sand channel.  But I really can't be sure for two reasons: a) the viz was pretty bad, b) I was distracted dealing with the beast, err, the Gavin.  Yes, that's right, the viz at the ramp was epic, but at the start of the sand channel, it was not too good.  And it just got worse from there -- I couldn't believe it!  The trip out to Granite Point is all a bit of a blur.  I was a bit distracted dealing with the scooter, and trying to keep up with the team.  When we were still in the sand channel, at maybe 35 feet, I was scootering right on the edge of the kelp forest, and encountered a stalk of kelp that was laying out horizontally in front of me.  My scooter and arm went under it, but my body was about to go over it.  So I stopped, and attempted to pull the scooter back and over the kelp.

Lesson #1 on driving a Gavin: You do not move the scooter; the scooter moves you.

Yes, that's right.  I couldn't pull the freaking scooter back out from under the kelp just by the handle.  I had to grab the shroud with both hands.  In the meantime, the guys just kept on going.  Luckily John noticed that I had fallen behind and he waited for me.  The trip across the sand on the way to Granite Point proceeded likewise.  I had pitched the scooter down, because John said I would need to match the speed of the X's.  But apparently I pitched it down too far.  So on the way across the sand, I was falling behind.  But I knew if I stopped to pitch the scooter up, I would fall even further behind.  And with the crap viz, I wouldn't have to fall much further behind to lose the team.  Luckily John was hanging back keeping track of me.  I'm fairly certain if he hadn't been, I would have been left in the dust.  Rob denies that however :)  We stopped partway across the sand because I guess Rob saw a squid, but I didn't see it.  Just Rob signalling that he saw a squid.  Then we finished crossing the sand, and found the first wall.  We headed further north from there, stopping along the way every now and then.  I was actually rather surprised that we made it as far as we did, considering the viz.  My hand was killing me on the scoot out, and I eventually came to the conclusion that it was because the tow cord was a bit too long, so I was stretching my hand to reach the trigger.  But adjusting the tow cord fixed that.

There really isn't too much to report from the dive, in terms of interesting sightings or anything.  The viz was so bad that it took basically all of my concentration just to keep track of the team, or even one person from the team.  We would pretty much stop at a spot, swim around a bit, then Rob would suggest getting on the trigger and we'd go a bit further, and repeat.  It really wasn't a very fun dive.  Eventually we turned around and headed back south until we got to the main wall.  We actually had to stop and look around to be sure that that's where we were, before heading back over the sand.  When we finally made it back to the end of middle reef, I think there was a collective sigh of relief that we had made it back in that viz :P  We headed in along middle reef, and stopped to visit our friendly residents, the transect 4 warbonnet (who we couldn't find the last time we stopped there, so I was glad to see he's still there), and then the wolf eel -- there was one very big wolf eel in the usual spot.  By the time that we got back to the worm patch, the viz was clearing up, and then once we got into the cove, the viz was awesome!  We should have just dived in the cove!

On the way in, Clinton found a pipefish, which was really neat.  I got out my hero cam and took a little bit of footage (which is good, since Clinton and Rob collectively took 0 pictures on the dive!).  It's a bit small for the hero cam, but at least I got a little something to post.  When we got close to the ramp, we surfaced, and Rob suggested that we go check out "the rock" near the ramp.  You know, the one that sticks out of the water in the middle of the cove, near the beach with the seals.  What a great idea!  I've never gone over there before, but this was definitely the day to go... awesome viz and dead still water.  We went over there and spent maybe 15 minutes swimming around and looking at stuff.  There were zillions of Hilton's nudibranchs, a surprising number of fish, and Rob found a Triopha maculata!  After the dive, we all agreed it was not worth a second dive, so we adjourned to RG for snacks and then to Gary's house for a little BAUE get-together.

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