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Me diving

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Things Fall Apart

We were on a tech charter on Saturday, and it looked like we'd actually have some decent weather, woohoo!  The previous weekend's dive plans had been cancelled due to bad weather, and with the good viz of late (which was fabled to still be around), we were looking forward to diving, preferably not at Mile Buoy :P  We managed to get down to Yankee Point for a dive at Mount Chamberlin.  We dropped the downline on the south wall, but we planned to head over to the annex, and then back to the wall and up to K2.  I was hoping for some GPO action, since they've been out and about lately, and over the years (but not this year, yet), I've seen several GPOs at Mount Chamberlin.

When we got into the water, we found that the nice viz had stuck around.  The viz was excellent pretty much from top to bottom, and it was quite bright and blue on the bottom.  When we got to the bottom of the line, we had landed right on the edge of the wall, so we immediately headed down and across toward the annex.  Just as we were approaching it, I saw that Kevin had peeled off to look at a little rock formation in the sand, and then I got an excited signal for him.  I was hoping for a GPO under there, but instead, found a crack with a nice big wolf eel head sticking out.  There also happened to be a gorgonian with a basket star on it on that rock.  I saw that Rob had come over to the rock, but he was screwing around with his camera.  So I decided to take a little video, with Kevin lighting the wolfy for me (he was using my light reflector on his primary light, since my video light was still in the shop).

After getting video, I went over to Rob to see what was going on.  He was still monkeying with his camera, and he pointed at it and said there was water in the housing.  Doh!  He flipped it over and I saw what I thought was a little bit of water in it, but then realized it was a little bit of air... the whole dome port was filled with water, with a bubble in the top 20% or so of it.  Super doh!  I asked Rob if he wanted to thumb it, but at this point, there was really no point in it, since the camera was going to be toast either way.  So he waved off my thumb, and then he had to wrestle the beast back to his butt, where he stowed it for the rest of the dive.

We headed to the main wall of the annex, and followed it out to the west (on the north side).  There was a pretty big school of juvenile rockfish off of the wall.  We came around to the south side, where there was a smattering of juvenile rockfish, but nothing like the school on the other side.  I did find a nice-looking lingcod perched on a little ledge on the edge of the wall, who was very tolerant of being video'd and was a sort of interesting color for a ling, very blue.  When we were finished up looking around on the south side, we came back over the top of the ridge to the north side, where there was now a big school of blue rockfish.  Not huge, but pretty big.  I got a little video of that, and then we headed across the sand.

Rob was leading (by default, I guess), but he was taking a really strange path way too far to the east.  Eventually we got his attention and told him we needed to head back to the west, and he seemed not at all aware that he'd been off course.  I guess lugging the flooded beast had him off his game a bit.  We found our way back to the channel that leads up to K2, and followed that.  About halfway to K2, we found another wolf eel poking his head out of the reef off to the left.  After watching him for a bit, we continued on to K2.  We did a quick GPO check in the crack at the pinnacle, and then Rob thumbed it, before we'd even made it up to the top of the peek.  He put up his bag, which he seemed sort of in a hurry to do.  I asked if he wanted to shoot his camera, and he waved me off.  Then, when we got to 70 feet, after we'd switched onto our bottles, he asked Kevin what size bag he had.  Kevin told him he had a big bag, so Rob asked for it, and they sent the camera up on the big bag, up the line on the small bag. It was a bit of a job to do it, so naturally I got out of the way and video'd instead of helping :P  Once the second bag went up, the boat motored over to check on it... we could see the boat all the way from 70 feet, because the viz was very good!

Deco was pretty uneventful.  The bag was a little more of a pain to manage than usual, because of the extra stuff on it, but otherwise not much happened during deco.  When we surfaced, Rob said something like "I might need some help" to the crew, which I think worried them a bit, until they realized it was just his camera that was injured :)

Conditions were still nice after the dive, so we had to figure out where to go for a second dive.  Since there was great viz and calm seas, we decided to head to Locals' Ledge.  We tried to find the nice hydrocoral patch, but got a bit turned around.  We sort of took a tour of the little pinnacles off of the main structures (which were easy to pick out, since the viz was great!).  We found a pair of wolf eels in a crack, so we watched/video'd them for a while.  Eventually we returned back to the main structures, looked around there briefly, and then thumbed it.  Overall I thought that the site seemed less nice than usual, I guess because of barnacle damage.  The little side pinnacles seemed quite a bit more barren than they used to be :(

We headed back to the dock, and then to lunch, and then Rob and I went to Lobos for a hike and then dinner.

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