It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Through the Tempest

Rob and I were diving on the tech boat on Sunday.  The forecast for the entire weekend was looking pretty terrible, so there was much checking the forecast and wondering whether the boat would go.  I guess by Saturday night, the weather appeared to be calming down, despite the still-dire forecast, so it was on.  Once we got going, the water was pretty calm in the bay, but we could that just beyond Point Pinos it looked like, well, sort of like Armageddon.  It was very gray and stormy looking over there.  Indeed, once we were out around there, it got really freakin' snotty.  There were whitecaps everywhere, and we were getting a bit tossed around, but once we made it past Cypress Point, it calmed down a bit.  Looking back toward Cypress Point, it looked pretty cool.  It was a nice sunny day where we were, but the sky was a deep blue beyond the point.  We made it down the Lobos area, and it was decided by someone from above (in the wheelhouse, that is) that we would go to Deep E3.  Down there, the conditions were quite placid.

I was the first into the water, and was greeted by incredible viz.  There was a bit of surface current, which made the entry into the water a bit of a cluster, but once that was all resolved, we headed down the line.  The water was so clear and blue; I would guess the (horizontal) viz was in the 80 foot range.  It's been a while since I've dived this site, and a long long while since I've dived it in really good viz.  So this was quite a treat.  We hit the pinnacle on the south side, I think, and headed around the western tip.  I spied a quillback rockfish, sitting out on a little ledge.  Sweet!  I showed it to Rob, and as he was looking at it, Beto and Sue were signalling us from below, because they had found the purple sea fan (not that it's hard to find in that kind of viz!).  Rob started to head there, but I suggested he get some shots of the fish, since it might swim away, whereas I was pretty sure the sea fan would not.  Rob tells me that the fish was in the same spot where he and Clinton saw a quillback rockfish on this site a while ago, so I guess he is a permanent fixture.  Eventually the rockfish retreated into a crack (which had some juvenile yelloweyes in it), so we headed to the sea fan.  This is the first time I've seen the sea fan here, but I've seen its cousin at Mount Chamberlain (I just noticed we saw a quillback rockfish on that dive too; maybe that's a trend).

Not far from there, Rob spied a crinoid -- yay!  And then a vase sponge or three.  We headed off of the main structure to look at some of the big boulders on the rubble patch and smaller structures across it.  We saw more crinoids and vase sponges over there.  Eventually we headed back to the main pinnacle, and then swung around to E3.  We spent just a few minutes there, before Rob pointed out into the blue and suggested we head there.  I wasn't precisely sure what he was attempting, but I had a feeling that he wanted to hop over to D3, and this was indeed his plan.  And he actually succeeded at it!  When we got over there, there was a nice school of blue rockfish on top of the pinnacle.  Rob took a few pictures of the reef there, and then I suggested we should head back to E3.  We were there for just a few more minutes before we started our ascent.  The deco was pretty uneventful, until we got to 20 feet and up, when a curious sea lion appeared, and kept dive bombing us.  I was so mad I didn't have my hero cam!  Bright blue water, in less than 20 feet with a dive bombing sea lion.  Hmph!

For some strange reason, we didn't do a second dive.  I think there may have been time constraints or something.  So we headed back to the dock and then to lunch.

All of the day's pictures (from Rob and Clinton) are here.

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