It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Night Dive at the Breakwater

Our boat plans for the weekend were cancelled due to weather (that seems to be happening a lot recently!), so we decided to go for a night dive at the Breakwater.  It was me, Rob, Kevin, and Matt.  Due to some convoluted logistics, Rob needed to come down to Monterey earlier in the day, so I ended up riding down with Matt.  It was still light out when we got there, but Rob and Kevin were both running late, so by the time everyone was there, it was getting dark.  It was super crowded at the Breakwater, probably the most crowded I've ever seen it for a night dive before.  For one thing, there were several classes doing a night dive (including an AWS class, so we ran into Frank).  Before Rob and Kevin showed up, I pointed out to Matt that there was no way that the four of us could pull off a simple Breakwater dive without any shenanigans.  He didn't really understand what I meant.

Rob finally appeared, and Kevin appeared just a moment later.  Enter the shenanigans.  Kevin asked us if we were scootering.  I asked why we would be scootering for a night dive at the Breakwater.  Then he said he was bringing his scooter, because he just replaced the shaft seal and wanted to test it out :)  Anyhoo, once we got dressed and geared up, it was dark, and the surface of the water looked like a discotheque, with all of the flashing lights from divers.  As we entered the water, I somehow fell behind (as always), and noticed that only one of my buddies both noticed that I was behind and stopped to wait for me.  My mask was a bit foggy, so I couldn't clearly discern who the figure in the red drysuit was (Rob or Matt), but once I caught up to him, I saw that it was Matt.  Of course.  We swam out to the usual drop area, and descended into decent viz.

It was a pretty lively night from the critter-peeping perspective.  It was really unfortunate that no one had a camera (Rob had just picked his housing up from Backscatter before the dive, but didn't bring it along).  I brought my hero-cam, of course, but I decided it wasn't worth the effort to bring along the video reflector for my light.  So I ended up doing a bit of defocused-can-light lighting (actually Rob did most of the lighting for me), which worked out alright.  We saw a couple of squid, which weren't terribly active, though perhaps that was because they were traumatized by my light.  There were also a variety of interesting slugs, including Pleurobranchaea californica (the side-gilled one), Onchidoris bilamellata (the barnacle-eater), Aeolidia papillosa (the shaggy mouse), and Matt even found a Cuthona divae!  And of course there were tons of little red octopus scooting and slithering around on the sand.

We spent most of the dive over the sand, but then we eventually headed over to the wall to follow that in.  We kind of ended up running parallel to the wall for a bit, so we didn't run into it until we were quite shallow.  When we did, we found quite a few rockfish, including a bocaccio.  A good find, but still not the highlight of the dive... soon we were being tailed by a frisky harbor seal, who was apparently using our lights to hunt.  He was VERY friendly, and some of us may have even given him a belly rub (at his insistence of course).  We played with him for a while, and then eventually headed in.

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