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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mile Buoy and Mile Buoy

We were on a tech charter on Sunday, for which the forecast was looking not that awesome.  However, it seemed from the forecast like we might be able to sneak out and get a quick dive in before things got too bad.  When we arrived at K-dock, the wind (in the bay) looked pretty non-existent.  So we were hopeful.  We managed to get past Point Pinos, but then somewhere between there and Cypress Point, the whitecaps went from "over there" to upon us.  It got super snotty quite abruptly, so we had to turn around.  I wasn't too bummed about this, though, because the color of the water looked really good in the bay, and there had been tails of good viz in the bay lately.  When we got back to the bay (where it was nice and flat!), there was some debate about Mile Buoy versus Kawika's, and somehow Mile Buoy won out.

Photo by Robert Lee
I was diving with Rob and Clinton, who were both shooting wide angle.  We left the scooters on the boat, and found amazing viz on the way down.  The water was really clear, but it was also unbelievably blue!  By the time we got to the bottom, the viz was still good, but not quite a clear, as it was clearly a bit churned up.  Still good viz for the bay, but not like the mid-water.  It was a pretty standard Mile Buoy dive... metridium patches, lingcod, a basket star here and there.  I also saw some brown rockfish, which are maybe pretty standard now, since I have seen them on the last several tech dives in the bay.  There were also some wily sea lions that kept zooming down to the bottom and swimming around before disappearing back above us.

Photo by Clinton Bauder
When we thumbed the dive, I was hoping there would be more sea lion action on deco, especially since the viz would be excellent for video.  I was not disappointed.  While we were still at 70 feet, the sea lion brigade showed up, ready to put on a show.  And the water was SUPER blue and clear.  It was probably the best viz I've ever had in the bay, and I have a few dives with awesome viz in the bay before!  The sea lions hung around for pretty much all of our deco, zooming around, pausing now and then to check us out, and just generally entertaining us.  Our deco was not exactly, umm, textbook, considering that Rob and Clinton were taking pictures while I was videoing.  There was all sorts of flopping around to get the shots, and every now and then one of us would notice it was past time to move to the next stop, and we would.  It was quite a fun deco!

Photo by Robert Lee
Eventually the fun came to an end, and we surfaced to find a nice flat day in the bay!  We had so much fun with the sea lions, that we decided to do a second dive at Mile Buoy proper, basically just drifting about midwater right next to the buoy.  Only three of us wanted to do the second dive -- Clinton, Nick, and me, so that was the team.  The sea lions were still being quite playful, though unfortunately it got a bit cloudy topside, so the light wasn't nearly as good on the second dive.  So not as awesome on the video front, but still lots of fun.  I also got a good look at the buoy chain, which was totally crawling with trilineatas.  It was insane; I felt like I saw more trilineatas on that chain than I did in my entire diving history combined!  I think Rob really should have joined us on the dive, he would have had fun!

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