It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Not Diving at E3 and the Anchor Farm

I didn't actually dive today, though I tried.  Twice.  Friday night I felt like I might be getting a cold, but since I was in denial, I got up to go diving on Saturday anyway.  We made it to E3, and the viz was excellent on top, it was blue and clear.  But I couldn't get past about 5 feet :(  It was just me and Rob, so I had to make a quick decision about whether to try to make it down, or to abort and hand Rob off to one of the other teams (before they descended).  As John and Clinton were descending past me, I grabbed Clinton signaled for him to surface with me, and then asked him to take Rob and go diving.  So, I got to do all of the fun parts of the dive... setting up gear, getting into my gear, doing gear checks, fighting the current to get to the downline, and then getting back on the boat.  And then it rained a bit while I was waiting on the boat :P

For the second dive, we went to the anchor farm.  I thought that with a bit more time to get down, I might be able to dive.  So I tried again, this time with John, Clinton, and Rob as a team, and still couldn't clear my ears.  So back to the boat, but at least the topside weather had improved a bit.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Mount Chamberlin Annex and Outer Pinnacles

We were on a tech boat on Saturday, and there were actually good conditions.  And even more exciting than good conditions, I had a new drysuit to test out!  Recently, after probably a year of musing about getting a new drysuit, and yet still sort of on a whim, ordered a new drysuit.  It took a couple of tries to get the suit right (but not for the usual reasons... I ordered a plastic zipper and the suit arrived with a metal one), but I finally had it and decided to try it out.  In addition to the plastic zipper, the one other change was that I was talked into getting zipseals on the wrist.  I really don't know why; I've had them before and didn't really care one way of the other, but somehow decided to give them another try.  The suit is otherwise based on the exact same measurements as my current suit, and it fit quite well.  The boots are a bit roomier than I like; I don't know if the boot sizing changed or if there is just a lack of consistency.  I suspect the sizing changed, since I got the boots replaced on my old (old) suit recently and they are a little roomier than I like too.

Anyhoo, we made it down to Mount Chamberlin, and dropped near the south wall.  The viz was insanely good!  We headed down the wall, and then across the sand to the south annex.  Once we hit that, we headed west, to the end, and around to the back.  While we were back there, the boys headed down a bit deeper, because, well, they are deep freaks.  While they were below me, a big mola swam by!  After a bit of spazzing around to get their attention, they saw the mola too.  I had my hero cam, and Rob was lighting for me.  The mola was never really close enough to get a good shot, but Rob did light it well enough for me to get a few seconds worth keeping.  Aside from the mola, we didn't see anything too unusual, but it was just an awesome dive because of the excellent viz.  Rob and I got a few video clips where we were both on the trigger with him lighting for me from above; he's gotten really good at that!

We headed back to the main plateau at the end, though we got a bit of course and ended up scootering way too far to the east.  So once we made it back to the wall, we had to correct a bit, but amazingly, we made it back to K2.  I was pretty doubtful there for a while, but we found it eventually.  On deco, I discovered that the new suit dives quite a bit differently than my old suit; in other words, I was a complete spazz on deco -- I've had some pretty ugly ascents on the rebreather, but this sort of took it to a new level.  That wasn't fun.  I was having a lot of trouble venting the suit (not sure if that's because of the location of the exhaust valve, or the extra material/gas in the suit, or what), plus the zipseals forced me to move my gauge further up my arm, to where it was quite hard to see (because my loop was in the way).  So I kept dropping my arm below me to see my gauge, which caused me to curl up into a ball out of trim, and spazziness ensued.  It was a stressful ascent.

After the dive, Clinton wanted to do a second dive.  I normally may have skipped a second dive, after a nice long, deep first dive, but I felt so demoralized about my performance on the last dive, that I wanted to get back in and see if I could get this new suit figured out.  So, we did a dive at the Outer Pinnacles.  It was Rob, Clinton, and me.  It was quite a bit more green than the first dive, though the viz was still decent.  There were some pockets of better and worse viz.  Also, I noticed that in one area, the bottom (and a little bit of the walls) were crawling with brittle stars.  Weird.  There were also more urchins than usual; overall it just wasn't as pretty as usual.  After getting some pictures, we called it and headed up the anchor line, and I managed to keep it together, though still wasn't loving the feel of the suit.  I think I'll just use it for a recreational dives until I get the hang of it.  I suppose that would have been the wise thing to do in the first place, but it just didn't occur to me.

Since Rob wasn't taking pictures, I put together a short video just to document the awesomeness of the dive.  Also, I'm borrowing one of Clinton's pictures from his first dive (which I wasn't on).