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Me diving

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Rec 3 Scooter Dive

Since our boat plans for Saturday were cancelled, we decided to do a rec 3 scooter dive at Lobos. It was me, Rob, Leah, and Matt. Despite the forecast calling for bigger seas, it was in fact calmer than it had been on Friday. Monastery looked quite nice in fact. It was cold and gray when we got there though. We decided to go to the Road to Twin Peaks for a bit and then the Sisters for a bit longer. Then we would optionally hang out in the 50 to 70 foot range around Lone Metridium/Hole in the Wall for a while (after switching to our 32% "ascent gas"). That's right, we were actually doing the 32% ascent gas thing... So a real rec 3 dive (actually our back gas was 18/45 but details details...). Leah proposed a deco plan which I knew would clear with 18/45 too. I'd been playing around on DecoPlanner with the 18/45, 32% combination earlier in the week, because who knows how to plan a dive with that gas combination :). Leah didn't want to lead since she'd never been to the road before. So I volunteered. Strange, I know.

The tide was a little low, but coming up. Getting in was not a problem as long as you timed it right. There was a small but very long period swell which occasionally churned things up. You know what that means for the surge :P. We scooted out on the surface over what looked like pretty clear water. We dropped just past the worm patch. It turned out that the clear water was a layer on top. On the bottom it was really murky. I did a quick flow check since I was using foreign tanks (Ted's Worthington 85s, gag) and then we headed out along the sand channel. The murk persisted until we got to about 45 or 50 feet and it abruptly opened up. Yay. It was not epic but it was nice viz. We headed around HitW and over to Lone Metridium, then over the sand. As is often the case, we ran into s column of rockfish in about 70 or so feet -- blues and a few olives. We stopped to appreciate them for a minute and then continued on to the first sister (which as usual I was relieved to actually find). We paused at the second sister so Rob could deal with some bottle shenanigans; for gas logistics reasons he was diving a stage of 18/45 (okay perhaps I can't really claim this was a Rec 3 dive :P). Then we headed down the road a couple of minutes to the first spot with big vertical structure. We all agreed to kick around there for a while. The barnacles are out on the road though many are dead. There were also a bunch of the barnacle-eating slugs around (pretty dense in spots on the sisters). I was looking for slugs, hoping to find a Kitty slug to show to Leah, since we were in the right area, but no one found any. I did see another Aldisa albomarginata... they must be "in bloom".

After about 10 minutes there, we headed back to the second and third sisters. In addition to the carpet of Onchidoris bilamellata, I saw a bunch of clown nudis and some Hiltons. Eventually we headed back toward the Lone Metridium area and switched to our 32 bottles. We spent a while there and then headed over to Hole in the Wall and looked around. Eventually I was starting to get kind of cold and bored so suggested we head in. We scootered in to the worm patch and Leah shot a bag and we did our deco and ascended there. When we surfaced, the sun had come out and it was still quite calm on the surface. The tide had come in during the dive, making the exit quite simple. After packing up our gear, we headed to RG for lunch.

Rob didn't bring his camera, because yesterday's stuck button problem drained the battery (and he didn't bring a charger :( ). So no pics today! I did bring my hero cam but since I am iPad blogging on the road, that will have to wait.

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