It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Another Almost-Cancelled Boat

Yet again, on Friday I found staring at a really bad forecast for Saturday, and also found myself the "organizer" of a boat on Saturday.  There was a small craft advisory through Saturday afternoon, but the one good thing was that conditions were supposed to be improving throughout the day.  When we drove in on Saturday morning, the bay looked oddly glassy.  It was insanely windy (I thought the van was going to get knocked over on 156), but the wind was out of the south (or maybe southeast) so the bay was protected.  But a change in the wind direction was forecast.  When we got to K-dock, Jim was out driving around Point Pinos to check things out.  We all congregated in the parking lot for a while, and then we eventually decided that standing around in the parking lot at K-dock is for losers, and we should just load the boat, without hearing the verdict from Jim.  When Jim got back, I think he was a bit surprised to find everyone loading the boat :)  He basically told us that it was in the bay or nothing, and maybe nothing.  By the time the boat was loaded, the wind had definitely shifted, and now it was blowing like a @#$!  Jim was hopeful that this was just a short-lived squall (I guess that is the technical term for "blowing like  @#$!") so we took our time at K-dock and eventually left.  We motored out to Mile Buoy, which was super windy, and killed a little time there, then we motored out to Deep Ballbuster, which was windier still, and noted the difficulty of picking up divers in such conditions.  This was the first time in recent memory when I thought we might actually have to call it after going out.  Then we headed back in to Kawika's Garden, which was also pretty dang windy, but not as scary as Deep Ballbuster.  It seemed like conditions were improving, but it might just be because Kawika's is closer in.

Everyone decided to leave their scooters on the boat, given the site.  Rob and I also decided to leave our O2 bottles on the boat, so we were going in light :)  We were the first to splash, and the viz looked good on top.  We swam over to the downline, and started our descent.  The first thing I noticed was how silent it was.  We should leave the scooters on the boat more often :)  The viz got worse as we descended, and by the time we were on the bottom, it was pretty bad.  Maybe 15 feet.  Maybe 20, but very green.  Rob was shooting macro, so we began inching along the bottom.  It was reasonably surgy at times, though not so surgy to make photography impossible.  But we didn't see very much of interest.  I was surprised that we didn't see any basket stars, since it was reasonably dark.  We did find one Tochuina, which was on a very pathetic little stump of a gorgonian, which looked like it had been run over with a lawn mower.  While trying to get a picture of it, it ended up flying around in the water column, getting knocked too and fro by the surge.  Rob made a valiant attempt to get it to grab on to a gorgonian, but it just wasn't interested.  Then he tried to get it to hold on to the reef, or another gorgonian.  But it was curled up like a rolly polly bug, refusing to hang on to anything.  So he tried to sit it on the bottom, though I'm sure the next bit of surge had it flying again.

There were some fish.  Some interesting juveniles, the usual assortment of adults, and the school on top.  But we only encountered the school once briefly during the dive.  Eventually we thumbed the dive, and after moving a bit shallower, I pulled the bag out.  I looked down, and from there, we had an excellent view of the school.  It looked really cool from above, and we watched them through our deep stops.  Deco was pretty uneventful for the first few stops.  As we got shallower, the viz improved, and we started to see some interesting little deco critters.  At 20 feet, Rob decided to try to get some shots of the critters.  He gave me a small jellyfish (a baby sea nettle, I think) with a little crab on its back to hold, while he got his camera out :)  Then after a few frustrating shots, he tasked me with using my HID light as a focusing light.  So we contorted ourselves around each other, as the jellyfish swam around, and he got a bunch of shots.  Just after he had stowed his camera, we saw a Scrippsia pacifica just below us, so he got his camera out for more pictures.  We ended up "overstaying" at our 20 foot stop for 10 minutes to get pictures.  This was probably the most fun part of the dive.  Then we finally ascended, still the first team to surface :)  When we surfaced, it was still whitecapping around us.  The boat came to pick us up, and as we were drifting past the back of it, Rob grabbed the ladder and I got just beyond it and was kicking hard, and stuck less than one body length behind the swimstep.  I asked the crew for a line, and Rob turned back to me, holding onto the ladder, and not making any attempt to help me and just said "why do you need a line?".  Jackass.  By the time the line was about to be tossed out, I had made it back to the swimstep under my own power.

There was not even any talk of a second dive, so we headed to La Tortuga instead.  It was a dive.  Not all dives can be epic.

No comments: