It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Playing with Balls at Kawika's

After Saturday's not-so-awesome viz all the way down at Yankee Point, we decided to do something a little different on Sunday.  We have plans to return to Cordell Bank this fall, and we've been discussing some documentation techniques with NOAA, which involve establishing transects that we will return to year after year.  We've discussed various ideas for how to mark such a transect (in a way that will allow us to return to the same spot in the future), and one of the proposals involves using those big lead fishing balls, which we use for our down line.  They weigh anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds, so obviously, this involves lift bags to move them around and place them.  We decided to get some practice with this today.  And where better to play with balls than Kawika's Garden, which is littered with lost fishing gear... so we wouldn't even have to bring our own lead balls!  The team consisted of Kevin, Rob, Matt, Clinton, and me (diving in one team).

We also practiced a new "fog protocol" which basically just involved towing a bag the whole dive.  When we got out to Kawika's, Mike was joking that this might not just be practice for fog-diving.  There was definitely some patchy fog hanging around in the bay.  But by the time we got everything together, it had mostly burned off.  Unsurprisingly, the plan was convoluted, probably more than it needed to be.  Step one, find some balls to play with.  We were both practicing with moving balls around and we also practiced raising some back to the surface, since we'd have to do that at Cordell if we couldn't find a good place to setup transects on a given dive.  That was, of course, a bit more complicated, we tried a couple different ways of doing that.  This was also all made more complicated because we only had one lift bag, so we had to practice moving the balls around in serial.

As it turned out, the viz was pretty bad, but not as bad as it had been the previous day down at Yankee Point.  We were able to find three balls, the first of which was right next to the down line.  We actually found way more than three balls, but a lot of them no longer had the little ring thing to clip on to, so not so useful to move around with a lift bag.  We had a very amusing dive, which was successful overall, with no one ended up with a ball getting dropped on them.  I shot some video, but the viz was bad enough that without a lighting assistant, it was hard to capture the... shenanigans :)

In addition to the fun with balls, I saw a little wolf eel and we found one or two calico rockfish.

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