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Me diving

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Three Days in the Bay

For Memorial Day weekend, we had a tech boat scheduled for Saturday, and tentative plans to go out on the boat on Sunday and/or Monday for some ascent practice in the JJs, depending on the weather.  As it turned out, the weather was not on our side AT ALL.  The forecast for both Saturday and Sunday was amusingly bad.  It was something like 4 to 7 foot wind waves on top of 8 to 10 foot swell at 8 seconds.  I didn't even notice the "at 8 seconds" part when I first looked at the forecast, and decided it was horrible.  Then Rob pointed it out, and I just had to giggle.  So, Saturday's tech boat was cancelled on Friday afternoon, but Rob, Matt, and I decided to go out for some practice ascents in the bay anyway.  It's not like you need very good conditions to go to 80 or 90' in the shale!

Conditions turned out to be just as bad as they were forecast to be.  Just coming out of the breakwater, it was super bumpy from the short swell.  I thought we were caught in someone else's wake at first, but it was just that crappy!  We waddled out to a random spot in the shale, around 80', and the plan was to do a couple of practice ascents (with simulated deco profiles), and then go back down for a little dive, with another simulated deco profile on the way up.  We decided to just stay in the water between "dives".  There was a really crappy viz layer down to about 40', but below that it opened up to what I would call pretty good viz for the bay, but it was dark as night.  The ascents went pretty well, getting progressively better.  On the "dive" portion of the dive, the critters of note included tons of little octopus, a HUGE fringehead, and a Spanish shawl missing almost all of its cerata... would have liked to be there to see that go down :P  By the end of the last ascent, I was feeling a little cold.  But when I got to the surface and attempted to climb back onto the boat, I realized my fingers were completely numb.  So numb that I needed a lot of help to climb the ladder; an embarrassing amount of help, really.  Rob had noticed this phenomenon with the RBs too, where you don't really notice that you are getting cold, until you basically lose the use of your hands and feet because they are numb with cold.  I guess I have experienced that with my feet on a few of our long Lobos practice dives (which makes walking up the ramp a little tricky).

Based on what we saw on Saturday, and the similar forecast on Sunday, Sunday's charter was cancelled, and we decided to grab the boat again for some more practice dives.  Kevin came along with us (so we were four).  We decided to do two practice ascents in a random bay spot again, but then to get back on the boat and re-locate to a real dive site for the real dive.  When we descended, we were happy to see that the viz wasn't quite as bad on top, but then the down side was that it wasn't quite as good on the bottom either.  After our ascent practice, we got back on the boat, and were discussing options for a real dive site.  Mike said that Ballbuster was too rough (seriously!?!), so someone had the interesting idea to do Kawika's Garden.  We decided to do a short bottom time there (what someone jokingly referred to as a "Rec 3 dive"), which seemed like a good mini-tech dive after all of the practice ascents!  We had a nice dive there, with sort of average viz for the site.  Before you know it, our short bottom time was over, and we did a longer-than-required ascent for some more practice.

On Monday, we finally managed to get a little group of divers together beyond just Team Kitty (expanded), who were willing to do a tech dive that would almost certainly be in the bay.  Clinton was one of the divers who joined us (on the boat, not on our dive team).  He grimaced when he saw that we'd be diving the RBs.  When I told him we had gone to Kawika's yesterday, he grimaced some more.  We managed to get to Mile Buoy, which as bizarre as it sounds, was I think the furthest we made it from the dock all weekend :)  We had surprisingly nice conditions there -- it was a lot brighter on the bottom than I expected, considering the conditions that we'd seen the rest of the weekend.  But it was sort of chunky in the bright water.  This was our first real, full-length blue water ascent deco on the breeevers, and it went quite well.  Rob told me after the dive that I looked better on the ascent than I usually do on open circuit.  I wasn't sure if I should take that as a compliment or an insult.

Even though we didn't make it out of the bay all weekend, it was a nice few days of diving.  And it was good to get a lot of ascent practice in a short period of time.  By the last dive, when I left the bottom to start the ascent, it all felt pretty normal.

Edit:  I accidentally posted a video from a different dive at Mile Buoy (I should really figure out how to set the date on my hero-cam...).  I've removed it and put it on the correct dive report!

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