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Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Lobos Grand Tour

There was a BAUE get-together at Lobos on Saturday, which we attended.  We didn't even manage to secure spots until the week of.  I was so absorbed with the previous weekend's project that I couldn't really think past it.  So we showed up with 32%, planning to dive with whoever.  We brought various accessories in case "whoever" didn't materialize and we ended up stuck diving together.  After a lot of waffling and I don't cares and switching things around, I ended up diving with Ian and Dionna.  Since we were all diving doubles, we agreed to do a nice long kick dive.  And kick we did!  I suggested a grand tour of the left side of Lobos, hitting Lone Metridium, the Three Sisters, and then swinging back to Beto's Reef for the swim in.  Since I proposed it, I had to lead the dive.  The water looked a bit sloshy on the surface with the occasional big set of slosh, so we were expecting some surge underneath.  The water was also looked to be an unenticing shade of brown in the cove.  The tide was pretty low, making the entry a bit annoying, but either we timed it well or it wasn't actually that rough, so that getting in was no problem.

The viz was in fact quite ugly in the cove, but we were planning to swim over that anyway.  We swam a bit beyond the worm patch, and dropped in the sand channel, in about 30 feet.  The viz there was not too stellar, but much better than it had been in the cove.  But it slowly improved, and then once we turned the corner at Hole in the Wall, it seemed to abruptly improve a lot.  In fact, it just seemed like once we turned the corner, looking out toward the deep, it was really bright and pretty blue.  We hugged the edge of the various ridges until we came to Lone Metridium, which was closed for business, just a little green stump of an anemone.  From there, we headed out over the sand, and we kicked and kicked.  It was a bit boring, I really just wanted to get to the Sisters, so I picked up the pace to the point where I nearly killed my teammates.  Oops.  We eventually made it to the first sister, and didn't spend much time there, just enough to catch our breaths, before heading on over to the second sister.

We spent probably about 10 minutes on each sister (the second and then the third), and the highlight of that part of the dive was that there was a little school of blue rockfish hanging around.  It was a nice-sized school for the area.  I also spied a couple of nice-sized lingcods.  It was nice to see that the barnacles really are gone, and the sisters look a bit more like what they used to look like.  Woohoo.  After a couple of loops around the third sister, I asked if everyone was ready to head over the sand to Beto's reef, and assured Dionna that I would go slower :)  We swam over the sand, probably about 20 feet above the sand, and before you know it, we hit Beto's.  We were fairly far in when we intersected it, so we swam out a little bit from there.  I checked for the sometimes-resident wolf eel, Bert, but he was nowhere to be round.  There was a fish in his usual hole, hmph!  I found a lingzilla hanging out in one of the horizontal ledges on the side of the reef.  He was scary big.  Ian found a little arch swimthrough thingy and swam through it tentatively, and I applauded when he made it through without having to be pulled out.  Dionna was very amused by my applause.  I noticed quite a few Berthellas on Beto's, which is somewhat typical I guess.

We headed in, because I thought it was about that time, deco-wise (or no-deco-wise, I supposed).  We got back to Hole in the Wall, where the viz got abruptly worse.  I couldn't believe how much worse it got, and was expecting an ugly swim in.  We stopped in the area briefly, but then Ian called it on gas, so we continued in.  Oddly, once we were past that little reef, the viz got better again.  No clue what was up with that.  We headed over to Middle Reef and swam in along the west side.  I stopped at transect 4, to look for the resident warbonnet, which I couldn't find.  I didn't try super hard, since it was a bit surgy on middle reef, so not very pleasant trying to line myself up and find his little head.  Then I looked for Itchy and Scratchy, and was quite pleasantly surprised to see a wolf eel in there.  It was a male with a huge head.  Recent reports have been that the wolf eels were no longer residing there, so this was a pleasant surprise!  It was seriously surgy when we were looking in their hole, making it pretty interesting to try to communicate to Ian where to look and get him to line himself up and see the giant eel head back in a crack.  But he did eventually find him.  From there, I headed straight back to the sand channel and back to the worm patch.  We decided to ascend there, since the viz would presumably be quite bad further in.  When we surfaced, it seemed like it had calmed down a bit on the surface, making for an easy swim back in.  And to make things even nicer, the tide had come in a bit, so that the ramp was easy to exit.

After a potluck lunch (with many tasty homemade treats), and a good bit of socializing, I collected my Bob and we headed home.  It is always nice to dive with new and old, but not recently dived-with, buddies.

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