Dive Log, 2012 Previous logs: 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Running list of dives in 2012.
Dive totals to date:
Days diving: 9 Local dives: 14 Elsewhere: 0 YTD Total: 14
Dives are entered by dive day from the bottom upwards, so the latest dives (or rather, the latest entries; not sure I'll catch every dive) are at the top.
08-05: 2 dives: A random spot off Pt Joe with Carol (on my boat today), Fofo,
and Theresa; Ballbuster with the same group plus Jeff alone on Nitrox.
Got out of the house early, met Jeff in Gilroy, arrived at Breakwater at 7, and found the lower lot full and the upper lot mostly full. Opted for the street, as I have a problem getting trapped in the narrow spaces in the upper lot. Jeff parked behind me, and I opted to take a nap, as I hadn't slept well the night before.
Carol apparently arrived about 8, and a call from Jeff woke me; he told me to call Carol and tell her we were on the street. As we talked, Carol texted me to tell me there was no parking in any of the upper lot, lower lot, or the street. I texted back that we were on the street, then got up to take a look at the crowd. Jeff and I were the only vehicles on the street, and a half dozen double spots remained (briefly) in the upper lot. Not sure what that was all about, and forgot to ask. Fofo and Theresa arrived a bit later (Theresa, not knowing our schedule, arrived up fully geared up.)
Got ready to go, and Jeff opted to stay and watch Roxie, who apparently wasn't feeling well. He offered to watch Cali while we dove. Pam arrived shortly after, we splashed my boat, collected Theresa and Carol (both parked in the lower lot), and we headed off to take a look at conditions outside the bay. Flat run out to Point Pinos, with a bit of a delay to listen to a couple of whale watch boats chatting about a Humpback they spotted, but the contact wasn't solid enough to try and chase them down. Tried to find the big dropoff we dove New Years a couple of years ago, but apparently someone stole it. Ran further down looking for structure, largely not finding it (at least not at our target depth range.) Ended up near Gene's Bucket off Pt. Joe, and finally decided to drop the hook near the kelp and simply head into it. Turned out to be a good choice. Listened to a bit more chatter from the whale watchers, now chasing an Orca.
Got everyone in the water and they headed down, I geared up and hopped in. Surface wasn't too promising, but the water cleared a bit below 20 feet. Checked the anchor, and headed off towards a rock I could see in the distance. Turned out to be a 20 - 25' mini-pinnacle, with smaller spires scattered nearby. All the rocks were nicely encrusted with corynactis, sponges, and bryozoans. A loose school of blues hung off the west side of the rock, while perch, lings, greenlings, assorted rockfish, and cabs hung out on it. Carol pointed out a Dendronotus albus, in a poor position for pics, but I tried anyway. Carol, meanwhile, apparently turned to a rock behind her and found a bunch more (I missed them.) I did find a tiny Rostanga pulchra, and a monster ling hanging out in the sand (had to be close to 4 feet.) Vis was a hazy 40 to 50, and seemed to close down as the dive progressed (but that may have been somewhat localized, rather than a site wide thing.) I had started with a short fill, and burned a bit more doing some gear repair, so headed up a bit earlier than the others. 71 feet, 51 minutes, 55 degrees which seems way wrong. Carol or Fofo may have a better reading as there's no way it was 55. Fofo and Theresa hit the surface just after me, and waited while I pulled the boat out of some kelp that had surrounded it. Carol was up a minute or two later. Listened to one of the charter boats, who had a diver suffer an uncontrolled ascent, ask for O2, and they decided to run him back in to Breakwater. Dida was on board; she might be able to shed a little more light on that.
Headed in ourselves, and had lunch with Jeff and Pam. Pam had done a dive off the beach, and reported green water. The fishermen had started returning, but more arrived to take their spots in the lot. It took another hour before spots started opening up. Eventually, we managed to move to the lower lot with help from everyone else in the group (and a few cell phone service providers, I think.)
Pam offered to watch the dogs (Cali got out of boating for the day), and Jeff decided to dive, so we launched Nitrox, and headed out. Without a definite destination, I chose Ballbuster, and we anchored up on the Northwest side. A couple of Egg Yolk jellies were stuck on the surface as they drifted past. Surface water looked even worse than the last dive - maybe 5 feet. Descent was an easy Dodge the Nettles game. Bottom vis was decent, I'd guess 40 feet or so, but fairly dark. I checked the hook, then headed towards Carol, Theresa, and Fofo who were looking at stuff in the boulders. I thought it might be Fred and Ethyl (I have no idea where they live), so I swam over, arriving after they had left. I saw a smallish Wolf Eel, got a couple of shots, but wasn't impressed. Checked out some stuff on and under the rocks, then headed over to the pinnacle. Didn't find anything all that interesting. Saw the other three down at the bottom, and headed over. Carol showed me where Fred and Ethyl lived; the disappointment left, as they were as advertised. Couldn't really get a decent shot of them, though. Pointed them out to Jeff, then headed around the pinnacle Found an Egg Yolk near the bottom, and then noticed a small fish hiding amongst the tentacles. Didn't get a real good shot of it, certainly not good enough for an ID. Time about up, I headed up on a slow ascent, taking occasional Nettle shots. Came across a largish Egg Yolk which had ensnared a Nettle (or vice versa, but it sure looked like the nettle was losing.) 104 feet, 34 minutes, 52 degrees.
07-16: 1 dive: The pipe near the Salinas River with Gene, Ray (sort of) and
Arrived at 8:30 to find the entrance to the parking lot blocked by emergency vehicles (2 fire trucks, a couple of cops, and an ambulance.) One boat was in front of me waiting, and a peek into the parking lot showed that there were probably no spaces anyway, so as the ambulance loaded a woman on O2 (sitting, and conscious), I flipped a U-turn and parked on the street. Had my gear on the boat (still on the trailer) by the time Trevor arrived (he somehow found a spot along the wall and walked up to find me); Ray and Gene were about a half hour behind. The ambulance pulled out of the lot with lights and sirens, and the engines pulled out dark and silent, albeit briefly. One of the two got a block along Foam St., hit the lights and siren again, and pulled into the lot near the pump house. Another ambulance showed up a couple of minutes later. No idea what transpired in either case. About the time I was ready to splash the boat, Trevor called and said two trailer spots had opened up, so I hustled down and claimed one, while Gene managed to snag the single spot on the restroom end of Section A.
Shortly after we were ready to go, splashed the boat, filled the tubes, and, after dodging all the pile driving gear at the fuel dock, headed out for the pipe to see if any Halibut were around. Foot tall groundswell with just a touch of chop made the going pretty quick, and with only a slight delay to circle back to see a Mola I nearly ran over, we made it to the pipe. Dropped the hook and got Gene in the water first, Ray second, then Trevor and myself. Ray was back on the surface about the time we got in; complaining of difficulty breathing at depth, so he decided to bag the dive.
Trevor and I headed in, and found about 3 to 5 foot vis on the way down. I was waiting for it to get better, and figured out that it didn't about the time I saw some little kelp detritus just in time to keep from face planting. Trevor was dropping more vertically, and punched a knee hole in the sand before he saw the bottom. I decided to try and move the anchor closer to the rocks, which should have been about 20 or 30 feet forward and left, but weren't. Somewhere along the way, I lost Trevor, so decided to search for the rocks and never did find them. Turned and headed back towards the anchor, all the while realizing that the odds of finding it were pretty slim. Started up when I got tired of looking, and had a decent surface swim back. Everyone else was already on board. No Halibut.
We debated headed out to Moss Landing and searching for whales by following the canyon edge back towards Point Pinos, but Gene had somewhere to be that evening, so we headed straight back to Breakwater. About a mile along, I spotted a whale spout a quarter mile off, and headed towards it. It blew a couple more times before we got there, then showed its tail as we neared. It was gone for a few minutes, but reappeared nearby. We were maybe a hundred feet off when it did another tail roll and sounded, which I think Ray got on video. I figured anything else would be anticlimactic, so we headed in.
Ray and Gene took off, so I gave Trevor the option of deciding what to do next. He wanted to head out to the canyon to chase whales, so we decided to bag the second dive (meant I didn't have to schlep a tank down to the boat.) Headed out towards the center of the bay, pounding through a couple of feet of swell with a couple feet of chop, things were wet and rough, but we made pretty good speed (22mph or so) anyways. At one point I looked ahead, and saw a white vertical stripe in the low line of clouds. Shortly after another appeared, then several more. I realized we were seeing whale spouts from about a couple of miles off, apparently a good sized pod. We headed out there, but never saw the spouts again. We did intercept radio traffic from a whale watch boat talking to somebody, saying they had a blue and a couple of humpbacks at a set of coordinates 3 miles away, so we headed that way, stopping briefly to try and catch a Humpback (unsuccessfully.) The two whale watch boats took off to meet their next loads of people, so we were left alone at the site, and saw absolutely nothing. We were over about 380 feet, I think on the far side of the canyon. Another boat was motoring its way over; turned out to be Jim Capwell on Escapade, out for a cruise with 3 other people. I told him I'd seen a blow a half mile off; he said there was a line of blues in the opposite direction (apparently his flybridge has advantages.) We headed off to see, and boy, was he right. Trevor and I caught sight of several blues at a distance, then one fairly close. Looking around, there were spouts all over the place. We had a couple of Humpies that we got good views of, then a blue surfaced about a hundred feet off. As it sunk back down vertically, another came up. The two sat there, rising up for a breath and sinking vertically under, four of five times. Then with a more exaggerated arch of the back, they rolled into the water and were gone. All told, I'd guess we saw (animals proper) 4 or 5 Humpbacks (including the jaws of one that was apparently feeding, though I think Trevor missed that), and a couple of dozen blues. The spouts were uncountable, appearing in all directions. Eventually I figured we had to head back to beat the dark, and of course by that time teh wind had picked up again, and the going was a lot slower (about 15 mph was all I could do without pounding everyone to pieces. Cali had her head buried even so.) Got back to Breakwater about 7, with a brief stop to thank Jim for the steer to the whales.
06-30: 1 dive: Shale Island, with Ray
Arrived at about 9:15; though there was room in the upper lot, elected to park on the street. Carol and Larry were in the upper lot, waiting for their buddies du jour; Ray was (in theory) about a half hour behind me (turned out to be more like an hour and a half.)
Last day of crab season, so went to drop pots and do a quick search for the lost pot from a couple of weeks ago; no joy. Since Ray hadn't successfuly dove in over a year, decided to choose a simple dive and ended up at Shale Island with a foot of swell and a 15 mph breeze blowing. Thought we were going to catch a break and have fog cover, but coming back in, the fog cleared and boat sat under full sun. Rigged up a shade for the dog, geared up and got in.
Surface water was really nice; 15 foot horizontal vis; I had enough anchor line out to not be able to judge vertical vis from the boat. Dropping down, the decent surface vis went away at between 10 and 15 feet, deteriorating to a brown soup with maybe 3 to 5 foot. Descending further didn't help, just got darker. At about 45 feet deep, the layer cleared a bit and opened to 15 to 20 feet, with a serious fine particulate haze. Showed the fringehead on the point to Ray, then wandered around towards Anchor 5 looking for stuff to shoot. Not a lot unusual, and not a lot of usual stuff that was really photogenic. Ray tailed me for a while, then headed off to find his own stuff to look at. Found a couple of Swell Shark egg cases; one coated with white barnacles, one clean; neither had anything visible inside except yolk. Found a largish Cadlina flavomaculata, been a long time since I've seen one; ditto with Triopha catalinae (though I may have seen them recently and not paid attention. Dunno.) After about a half hour or so, I figured Ray had already headed up, so returned to my anchor line, where I ran across a softball sized red octopus trying to decide whether to hide or flee (and petulantly not doing either.) Drifted for a while over the rubble in the little cove, watching all the little critters come back out. Headed up to find Ray already on board, having bailed due to cold after about 15 minutes. 55 or so feet, 40 or so minutes, 52 degrees at the bottom, 60-someodd at the surface.
Gave Ray the task of deciding on the second dive, which he elected to pass on. Retrieved the traps, and called it a day.
06-17: 2 dives: Ballbuster and Trevor's Pinnacle, with Larry, Carol, and Dionna
all on XTSea, and me on Aurora (Dionna bailed on the second dive for Father's
Got out of the house later than I wanted, but a half hour earlier than usual. Arrived at Breakwater at 8:30, apparently a bit after the Cohns. Got gear ready, then, after a bit of waiting for some large cabin boat who couldn't seem to get his act together, splashed the boats and headed out to drop the crab traps. Once done, we headed back in to dive somewhere near the point, and Carol chose Ballbuster. A bit of apprehension when she realized that Double Down was on the site, but I could clearly see a bow wave, so I assumed they were leaving. I was right.
Anchored up; I think Carol dropped on the numbers, so I moved over about 50 feet and dropped as I crossed the far edge of the pinnacle. The wind and current didn't play nice, and it was tough to figure out where the boats were going to end up. I pulled my anchor line out in my best guess, while XTSea dumped line and let things go where they would. I was first down the line, dropping through a 5 foot really crappy brown layer, 15 more feet of less crappy brown layer, then a bunch of hazy green stuff. At the top of the pinnacle, it cleared up nicely, with somewhere between about 50 to 70 feet, depending on who you talked to, and what kind of mood they were in at the time. I'd call it 40 to 50, but I spent most of the time face down on the rocks. Carol's anchor line was in pile next to her anchor, but I left it alone as I figured she be down in a couple of minutes. Found a decent size Wolf Eel, a long section of Praya stem, and not a whole lot else special. Saw Carol straightening out her line, and the other two looking around nearby, and decided to head up. At about 30 feet, the anchor lines took a half twist around each other. At the surface, the wind had changed direction and picked up. Carol's boat was about 10 feet behind mine, so I shortened my line to get some space, and camup with a plan for getting the lines separated easily. While I waited for the others to surface, a small (really small, maybe 3 or 4 feet) harbor seal surfaced about 15 feet in front of the boat, and Cali and the seal spent about a minute checking each other out. When the other three were up, but before they had reboarded, I had Carol pass the end of my anchor line under hers and swim it back to me, then pulled it through to where it was cleated off at my bow. Once I released the line from the cleat, the lines were clear. 103 feet, 30 minutes, 48 degrees.
SI back at the truck (lunch at the Deli, delayed by 2 large groups that couldn't remember what they ordered, couldn't decide whether to get it to go or to stay, and couldn't find members of their parties; and they were upset that Valentina wasn't very nice to them.) Jim (from Glenn's shop) and some dumbass on a dirt bike got into it (the guy on the bike was racing back and forth through the lot, ostensibly to "warm it up", and took exception to being told he was in a parking lot and kids were around and he should behave like an adult.) Fun stuff.
Out for dive 2 at Trevor's; Beach hopper (I think) was a short distance away; I dropped a little further north than Carol, and the wind was strong enough to overcome the current, so there weren't any anchoring problems this time. Bottom vis was at least 40, and a little hazy. Found 2 Praya complete with swimming bells (don't remember seeing a complete one before); a monster Ling (well, 3.5 to 4 feet, anyway), a Sheep Crab snacking on a Spotted Rose Anemone, a really small Longfin Sculpin, and a handball sized octopus who was really trying to look like a rock. Had a Cormorant do a fly-by at about 68 feet, but I missed the shot. Headed up hoping for some jellies or salps or something to shoot on the way up, but only saw one small white pulsing jelly, and couldn't manage to get a shot of that either. 72 feet, 34 minutes, 50 degrees. While waiting for Larry and Carol to surface, watched Sanctuary, then Double Down, anchor up nearby. Seemed to be the hot area. Once Larry and Carol were up, I headed out to pick up the traps, first one loaded with about 15 keepers and one short; second one decided to go missing. Never found it despite about a half hour bashing through the chop. Either the current pushed some kelp onto the line which sank the floats, a whale watching boat ran the floats over, or someone decided they needed the trap more than I did. I'll take a look for it in couple of weeks when I make it back to Monterey.
Packing up to leave, saw Phil Sammet, and donated a couple of crabs to his dinner. Traffic heading home was pretty horrendous - stop and go from just before the Castroville overpass to the signal (and beyond, presumably), then 5 to 15 NFR mph traffic on 101 from San Miguel Canyon Rd to the Red Barn, where it opened up to 65 (NFR is No f*cking Reason.)
Snail chasing next weekend.
06-03: 2 dives: A random spot near Eric's Pinnacle, and Shale island, both with
Jeff on Nitrox, and myself on Aurora.
Was going to try and get out early, but that didn't happen. Arrived at B/W a bit after 9, just a bit before Larry and Carol headed out with their 2 guests (Dan and somebody.) Jeff and I got things together and headed out to drop the crab traps before figuring out where to dive. As I left the dock, DDD (Dave Doesn't Dive) showed up, so I delayed a bit talking to him, then caught up with Jeff just inside the harbor.
Swell was reasonably small, but the chop kind of screwed up the pattern, and it was fairly lumpy beyond the jetty, and got worse the further out we ran. 3 miles later, we dropped the traps amids 2 to 4 foot swell with caps all over. Cali wasn't too impressed. Headed back in to see what Ballbuster looked like, but decided it might be a little uncomfortable for Cali on the surface, so we headed back in to find calmer water. Was headed for Eric's, but it was occupied, so we dropped on the edge of the kelp to the northwest.
Headed down through a pretty crappy top layer (10 foot vis) that gradually cleared to about 20 to 25 at the bottom. Topography was really nice: Mostly boulders, with small sand channels interspersed, and small stands of kelp on each one. Not many fish; a few Blue Rocks, one Kelpie, a few smallish Lings and one big one, a single cab and a single kelp greenling. Almost no slugs, (and all common ones), no jellies. Lots of little planktonic juvenile crustacean swarms. Had a big sea lion buzz by, but it happened too fast to get a shot. So, spent a lot of time shooting kelp. Headed up at about the 30 minute mark when I noticed my hands aching. Turns out I lasted about 15 minutes longer than Jeff. 43 feet, 34 minutes, 48 degrees. Ran back in to get something to eat, and Cali decided to disembark before I even hit the dock, to Chuck's amusement.
Quick lunch at the Deli, followed by a long SI to let Jeff try and warm up (and for DDD and Pam to get back from their dive, which, having not been witnessed by me, provided no proof that Dave was actually in the water.) Watched Carol get a CG safety inspection, then watched Jeff get one; they deferred to check me (probably because they saw I had everything out ready for them to look at.) Once all teh CG stuff was done, we headed out for a quick dive at Shale Island and crab trap retrieval. Hit the numbers, and the first thing I noticed was that the MBYC buoy was gone. Didn't see it around anywhere. I did see a salp on the surface, which was hopeful, but I also didn't see any others, so I wasn't expecting all that much. Same crappy top layer, but about 15 to 20 or so at the bottom. I had dropped the hook right next to the little projection with the Yellowfin Fringehead, so I checked on him, mostly out trying to hit the little juvenile fish swarms. Noticed a few sculpins darting up into the water column to hit them as well, but they were too fast for me to get a shot of. Found a salp chain bouncing off the Island shelf, and while shooting that, had an octopus attack me (well, not attack, but try to get away by ramming me, I guess.) Shooed it in the direction of Jeff, and went back to the salp chain. After that, headed out towards Anchor 5, watching for other feeding fish. Didn't see much else other than Gobies hitting the fry, but ran across a softball-sized octopus with a baseball sized guy about a foot away. Both decided to camouflage themselves , then, a minute or two later, both disappeared into impossibly tiny cracks. Reached Anchor 5 and headed up top to look for Swell Shark egg cases, but didn't find any. Found an Acanthodoris hudsoni; first one I've seen in a long time. No other unusual slugs. Did see an odd gelatinous critter, but have no idea what it was: sort of like an overinflated box, ribbed, maybe 2" long. Hopefully the pic will show something (assuming I didn't miss it.) Headed up when I hit my anchor line again. 54 feet, 33 minutes, 48 degrees.
The run back out to the traps was pretty ugly beating almost directly into the swell, still small, but steep enough to launch the boat clear of the water. Traps were very productive, over a limit of keepers in each; took home a limit of crab that were all 6-3/4" or better (3 were bigger than the gauge, over 7".) The run back in was a lot of fun: running with the swell about 30 degrees off parallel, Jeff surfed his boat along the face of the swells, and I ran along the tops. Lots faster than beating into it, and a lot smoother, too.
05-05: 1 dive: Hopkins Deep, with: Carol, Larry and Deanna on XTSea, Jeff and
Rob on Nitrox, and Trevor and myself on Aurora.
Jeff's 50th birthday, so the plan was to meet for a couple of dives and a BBQ. Jeff hung a few minutes at a gas station in Gilroy, and we arrived at the Breakwater together. A little trepidation when rounding the last corner, the upper lot and street parking were both full, but the lower lot had only half the trailer spots filled (some sort of dog Wag and Walk or something. Cali had fun meeting all teh dogs around, though.) Rob and Deanna were already there, as were Larry and Carol, fresh from a gear theft (she'll have to explain that one), leaving Trevor as the last arrival. He arrived maybe ten or fifteen minutes later, offloaded gear, and as Jeff and Carol ran out to drop traps, left to find parking. He ended up somewhere across Lighthouse, on some street I've never heard of. We ended up running out quite a bit later (apparently it takes a long time to walk several blocks in dive boots.)
Dropped my traps, and headed back towards shore for the first dive. Somebody suggested Hopkins, so we headed there. Silver Prince was on or near my numbers for Hopkins, so we ended up dropping nearby on some random spot that Jeff chose based on depth and structure. Everyone started gearing up and heading in; Trevor, who had been out of the water for about a year for no particular reason, and prior to that a couple of years due to heart weirdness, was being very careful about gear prep. To teh point where, after checking his tank valve 4 or 5 times, had me check it again once we were in the water. Headed down through really crappy water, and I was worried we'd have a zero vis dive again like last week, but the brown layer cleared at about 25 feet, and it opened up to around 40 to 50 foot vis below. Trevor seemed to have no problems dropping down the line, despite his prediction of an anxiety attack, so we ended up near teh bottom reasonably quickly. I headed off the line to shoot a small but very active jelly of some sort, then headed to the bottom where I found another Pleurobranch (or as Larry later insisted, a California Sea Hare that wasn't.) Rejoined Trevor near the anchor, straightened out the chain, then headed over to a Metridium covered rock at the edge of visibility. By the time we reached it, my hands were aching from the cold. Worked around that rock and the next, seeing nothing else of interest, until I spotted a tiny Ling (first fish I saw), and a couple of rockfish (the only other fish I saw, discounting a couple of Gobies, and a ton of sanddabs.) I was getting uncomfortably cold, and figured Trev would be freezing, so we headed up the line, with a short pause to shoot a few pics of a small, rather dirty, Scrippsia. Surfaced to find everyone except Larry and Carol already up and out of the water, and deteriorating surface conditions (choppy, whitecaps, still crappy brown.) Larry and Carol surfaced a few minutes later, and Jeff and Rob headed in to help Pam set things up for the BBQ. Cali seemed pretty happy to get underway back toward the dock. Dive stats were about 30 minutes, about 85 feet, and I think Larry recorded 46 degrees (I didn't look, and the computer is still in the truck.)
BBQ: Several invitees were no-shows, but one notable non-diver present was Pam's father, who is always interesting to talk to. Old time diver, but I think he's given it up. Good stories, though. Jeff's kid and his girlfriend arrived and left to walk Cannery Row, returning after lunch. Way too much food again, but that's not really new.
Since just about everyone bailed on dive 2 due to varying degrees of coldness, we headed out to pick up the traps, which were again pretty productive. 2 limits, and a bunch over that went back. Swell was 5 feet or so 4 miles out.
04-28: 1 dive: Anchors 2 & 3, with Fofo
Left the house at a touch after 5, arrived at B/W at about 7:15, and found both the lower and upper lots full, but I was the first one parking on the street. The lower lot was filled half with trailers and RVs, and half with cars with disabled placards. The upper lot was filled as well, mostly cars, but also a few smaller boat trailers. Jeff arrived about an hour later, and got one of the last few close street spots (he was boatless today.) His students showed up a bit later and got the last spot, and Fofo arrived a minute later and missed out. Luckily a car parked between my trailer and the students left just in time for Fofo to grab it after searching for a spot further away.
Jeff and the students started in on their Stress and Rescue class, so Fofo, Cali and I headed out to drop the crab traps and take our first dive. A little lumpy leaving Breakwater, confused couple of foot swell with some wind chop, growing to 5 or 6 footers 3 miles north. Dropped the traps a little shallower than last week to cut a couple of miles off the round trip on recovery (which I suspected would be worse.) Water out there was nice and blue, and we could see a bunch of salps and a few Scrippsia floating around. Headed for Ballbuster, which was likely diveable, but I decided the big sets would be less than ideal with Cali on board. We headed for Hopkins deep, where the swell was smaller, but Sanctuary was on the numbers, and the water looked really green. Last stop was Anchors 2&3, where the surface conditions were OK, but the green remained pretty obvious. Geared up and hopped in, following Fofo down the line (could barely make him out ahead of me.) And nearly landed on him when he hit the bottom without seeing it. Did a quick twist and kick, and hit the bottom just to his left. And, landed just about on top of a Torpedo Ray, who seemed rather miffed. Pointed the Ray out to Fofo (took a couple of times, as he was further away, and couldn't see it), then headed a little further on to try and locate the Anchors. Vis at the bottom was 3 or 4 feet, and dark. I quickly decided that if I got more than 20 or so feet away, I'd never find the anchor again, so I stayed reasonably close, occasionally returning to make sure I was still oriented the way I thought I was (does that make sense?) Got buzzed by a couple of sea lions (the first one scared the crap out of me when it came past from my feet to beyond my head about 2 feet away.) After about 12 minutes, I got tired of shooting sea stars (about the only things I could find), so headed up to see if I could get some salp and gooseberry shots below the 30 foot brown layer. Had trouble getting the camera to focus below the layer, but had a little more success in the layer (more light, but a lot more crap too. Not that there wasn't below that, but the lower stuff was bigger.) Dropped off the line to shoot another salp chain, and lost the line. Headed up to find myself a hundred feet off the bow. Ducked back down to about 5 feet, but a lack of subjects and a lot of water movement made getting anything that shallow impossible. Got to the ladder at the same time Fofo did, but he was coming from behind the boat. We both agreed that a second dive probably wasn't in the cards.
The Veterans group was coming in when we hit the dock; they were on a variety of boats, some private, some charter. Saw Carol and her Dad briefly, but they disappeared before we could chat.
Once I found a spot to tie up, we sat around while Jeff finished up with his class, eventually moving down into the lower lot as the fishermen left (including all the veterans that were out.) The students said they wanted to tag along while we picked up the traps, but suddenly disappeared. Jeff, Fofo and I made the run while Pam dogsat. Swell and wind had picked up; larger swells were 7 foot or so, and just starting to break. Took one wave over the side of the boat; not too bad for how long we were drifting while pulling traps and sorting crab. 4 traps yielded about a dozen keepers (should have been a few more, but Jeff has a quick culling hand.)
04-22: 2 dives (sort of): Trevor's Pinnacle and The Barge, both with Pam and
myself on Aurora, and Jeff on Nitrox
Shaky weather, home responsibilities, a balky back, and the latest, a 5 week head cold, all conspired to keep me out of the water since Jan 1. Decided to try and dive despite the lingering congestion. Left the house really early (about 5:15) to beat the fishermen. Wasn't necessary, as there were 8 or 9 spots open on arrival at 7:45 or so, and a few left by the time we started our first dive (about 10 or so.) Foggy conditions, though, but I expected it would burn off eventually. Jeff had arrived even earlier, and egged me on to prep the boat and such. I dropped a couple of tanks by Glenn's for fills, and we headed out to drop the crab pots about 4 miles north of Breakwater. Glassy water with maybe a foot of disorganized swell. No problems other than a really nervous dog (she did OK for not having been out for 4 months), and we were back at Breakwater to await Pam's arrival fairly quickly. Fog did burn off, and the sun came out, though it never got really warm (at least I didn't think so.)
Once Pam was there and geared up, and my tanks had moved to the boat, Jeff discovered a dead battery on his Cobra3. Changed that out, and then, when I assembled my rig, found a low battery warning, but the unit went into dive mode, which is supposed to mean it's good for a days diving. We headed out towards Pt. Pinos, selecting Trevor's as we got closer. The Express seemed to be on a nearby site, but were done and just getting underway as we arrived. Dropped the hook, got gear in the water, made sure Cali wasn't going to try and follow me, and headed down.
At about 10 feet, did a quick pressure/depth check, and found my computer telling me I was on the surface. Hit the button to start it, and it went through the self-check, and petulantly refused to go into dive mode. And restarted itself, and failed, ad infinitum. I guess the cold water deteriorates the battery conddition compared to on the surface. Figured I had a decent amount of time at 75 feet (the bottom at that site), so I continued down past Pam (ear problems), and dropped directly on top of a 3 foot ling. Took a few shots, did a quick circumnavigation of the main rock, took a few more ling shots, then headed up. A little surface current was offset by an opposite sub-surface current, which blew a bunch of cross jellies, comb jellies, and little tiny Scrippsia by as I ascended. Surfaced but didn't see Cali initially; she was asleep on the front bench seat, startled when I called her. Maybe she wasn't as nervous as I thought. Probably 15 minutes at 75 feet. No idea on temp, but it didn't seem to bad, so I'd guess 52 or so. Vis at the bottom was 25 or so, and milky; surface was maybe 7 to 10 and heavily chunky, but the jellies made up for that. Just a few really small nettles (baseball size was the biggest I saw.) The head cold didn't seem to affect much other than slowing ear clearing a little, and maybe energy level.
Headed back in to spend the SI with Roxy (left in the back of Jeff's truck); was interrupted by the MFD coming down lights and siren, running out to the fire boat, then aborting. No idea what that was all about, but an ambulance showed up as well. As far as I know, nobody was treated.
After a really long SI (food, and a lot of sitting around in the sun), headed out for a quick dive close by so we could drop Pam and Cali off at the truck before collecting the traps. Decided on the Barge, partially because Shale Island was occupied by a sailboat race, andd partly because Pam said she'd never been there. Had a new computer battery, so I could actually see pressure and depth. Same crappy surface conditions, and maybe 15 feet at the bottom. One thermocline at around 30 feet, and another near the bottom that had my hands aching after about 5 minutes. Found a Dendronotus iris straight off, and another, followed by a Pleurobranch (1st I've seen while diving, I think. They show up in the crab traps every now and then.) Several more Rainbows were around, including a mating pair. The south end had the usual Kelp, Blue, and Copper rockfish, but also a couple of Grass (I think; might have been dark-colored Kelps, I suppose; don't think I got a shot of these guys), and 2 or 3 Browns. Dive was fairly short as I was burning the same cylinder as the first dive; 25 or so minutes at 63 feet, as I recall. Contemplated trying to get jelly shots on the safety stop, but my hands ached too much. Got a temp of 48 during the dive, but there may have been a lower temp recorded (computer isn't nearby.)
Dropped Pam off and retrieved the traps; surface was much rougher, 2.5 foot steep swell, with another foot or two of wind chop. Jeff had a bit of a problem finding his 2nd pot (too many old waypoints, I think.) Crab traps were pretty productive: my two traps had somewhere around 16 keepers, 24 total. We each went home with limits. Late getting to bed due to a late crab boiling session. Cali is wiped out.
01-01: 2 dives: A spot near the Drop (which is a bit SE of Aumentos) with
Jeff solo on Nitrox, and Pam and myself on Aurora (Roxie and Cali were along,
rather unwillingly, for the ride); Outer Outer Chase (or thereabouts) with Larry
and Carol on XTSea, Jeff solo on Nitrox, and myself solo an Aurora.
Out of the house early, and into the Breakwater lot at about 8:30 or so. Apparently no need to have rushed, as Chuck, Carol, and Jeff had three of the five or so occupied trailer spaces.
Put a couple of cylinders in for fills, got a cup of coffee, and Dida showed up to join Larry and Carol. They took off a bit before the rest of us were ready to go. After loading up gear and prepping the boat, splashed and headed out to drop the crab traps.
About a mile into the 4 mile trip (long slow swell, but enough chop to have Cali cowering on the seat behind me), Jeff radioed that he was having overheating problems. Looking back, saw that he was well back, but heading towards us. Lightened up on the throttle, and cruised just on plane until he caught up (theory was that he picked up some kelp. Problem didn't recur.) Reached the area, and each put two traps down. Headed back towards Cannery Row, trying to decide on a site. We had done the Drop the last couple of times the group had been out (which Jeff is calling Pam's Pinnacle, though there isn't one), so I decided to try and find the actual drop that cued me into the spot in the first place. Headed over the numbers, and out towards where the slope should have been, but started encroaching on Beach Hopper, anchored upwind a couple of hundred yards. Hung a left, and decided to look for some other slope. Turned to see where Jeff was, and saw him letting out scope (premature anchoring?), but continued on, finding a bit of a drop a couple of hundred feet up. Dropped the hook and scoped back a bit, spent a bit trying to calm Cali down (or warm her up; not sure which was causing it, but she was shivering), then geared up and headed down. Surface water was bright, green and hazy; maybe 15 foot vis. Bottom water was dark green and hazy. Vis 20 to 25, a decent amount of surge, and some snotty stuff in the water column. Repositioned the hook, and started looking around. Big granite boulders, forming some little mini pinnacles, and a long straight low ridge connecting two of them. Spotted a decent sized cabezon hanging vertically in a crack, and took some shots. Quite a few Black Rockfish parked on structure. Lots of perch (Striped, I think, with a few Pile mixed in.) Hopped over a small sand channel, and found myself in the middle of a huge school of Blue Rockfish. hung there with them for a bit, then headed back towards the anchor and found Pam. Took her back and showed her the school of Blues, then tried some slug hunting, except the slugs weren't cooperating. Took a few more shots of the Cab, then missed shots on a couple of lings (or one ling that resettled along my path.) Decided to try some more sessile subjects, as being blown around and shooting stuff that moves wasn't working too well. Ended up shooting bits of anemone until I gave that up as well (that wasn't exactly working out, either.) Headed up a bit after Pam, spent the safety stop watching the line flutter and whip in the current, then had to stop Cali from climbing out onto the swim platform as I reboarded. 71 feet, 39 minutes, 50 degrees. Just after I got up, Carol radioed that they were on a whale just off Pt. Pinos, but we decided to skip chasing after it. Jeff (first up) motored over, and we transferred Roxie over to my boat (didn't exactly work, as the two dogs largely ignored each other.) Larry and Carol showed up about ten minutes later, and we all made the run back in for lunch.
Dida decided to do some developing work (I think; she mentioned a darkroom. I suppose it's also possible that Jeff triggered a migraine.) The rest of us (less Pam, who decided to stay on shore with the dogs) headed out for Hopkins Deep (Jeff's choice), but then went buzzing past it (also Jeff's choice.) We ended up at Outer Outer Chase. Carol dropped pretty much on the numbers, Jeff dropped a hundred feet away a bit inshore, and I formed the acute angle of the triangle, back a hundred and offset by about 50. Headed down through similar conditions to dive 1, with maybe a touch more vis (or a touch less, as it seemed to sort of come and go.) Checked the hook and decided it was fine where it was, scaring up a largish China Rockfish in the process. Bigtime surge. Large Gopher rocks all over the place. A few Yellowtail, some Blacks and Blues. Lots of juvie Blues (I think.) A few Kelp Greenling, a few perch, another cab, a couple of small Lings, and what I think was a Grass Rockfish (by the time I realized it wasn't a Kelpie, it was on its way away. No unusual slugs or other inverts. Several small stands of Hydrocoral, mostly tucked back in sheltered areas. Heard what sounded like a large diesel engine maneuvering around our boats, then thought I heard chain rattling. Headed up a bit before I ran out of bottom time, as I was getting pretty thoroughly chilled. 92 feet, 31 minutes, 50 degrees. Larry and Carol were still down, their boat hanging inshore of Jeff and me. Just off their bow, the big homemade aluminum boat was disgorging divers, maybe 40 feet off XTSea's bow, certainly between their boat and anchor. Why they had to anchor up in a spot where three other boats were anchored up, with divers in the water, is beyond me.
Jeff and I headed out to collect the traps; the water had calmed down allowing a full throttle run with almost no hull slamming. Another boat was sitting between my floats as we approached, but moved off before we got there. My total take was 2 (tossed one legal that was close) and Jeff's was 5 (tossed a couple of close ones.) I suspect that someone is pulling traps and culling larger crabs, then returning the traps (Jeff had zero last week after an overnight soak.) On the run back in, we ran across a loosely spaced pod of small dark dolphins with short triangular dorsal fins. No idea what they were; have to see if I can ID them from the brief glimpses we got when I get a chance. (Side note: back at the truck I started to tell Pam about them; she cut me off saying she didn't want to hear about any dolphins, so I had to tell her about the black swimming armadillos with small dorsal fins.)